27.05.2011 - 27.05.2011
Day two was a lot harder than day one! My legs are sore and tired, but still, this is so much fun! I'm enjoying this so much and I haven't been lost. I have walked 57.9km in two days without getting lost, which is something of a record for me. Statistically I should have been lost at least 14 times by now, asked for directions 72 times and endangered my life at least twice. But the Camino is so well marked with yellow arrows and little blue and yellow shells. If you do start to head in the wrong direction there will always be a local or another pellegrino around to whistle several times, yell “hola!” to you, and then point you in the right direction.
Walking through Pamplona was beautiful, it's a huge city but beautiful with lots of old buildings. The green men at the traffic lights here walk with you when you cross the road, they are frighteningly limber like yoga obsessed Gumbis. Actually something really cool happened today. A tour guide with a group of tourists had stopped next to a statue in a park. As I walked past the tour guide introduced me to the group; “behind me you can see a pellegrino, or pilgrim, walking the route of Saint Jacques on the Camino de Santiago.” Wow! I was so happy! I'm a part of Spanish Culture this is so cool! I don't think I stopped smiling all afternoon.
There are so many different nationalities on the Camino. So far I have met Spaniards, Germans, French, Danes, Hungarians, Slovenians, Polish, Americans, Italians and Norwegians, and it's only day two! Today I walked with a French gardener who showed me how to find wild strawberries hiding along the path. He has walked all the way from Paris (which is insane, two months of walking!). I learn all about the plants we pass, what you can eat and what you can't. And I never knew lavender is good for keeping silverfish away.
Hey, Dana! People here really say hopa, epa, opa! It's such a multifunctional utterance, they use it when they run into you, as a greeting, when they answer their phones or find something surprising. And if you go into a bar or a café you will be greeted by the hospitable “di me.” Which literally means tell me, as in tell me what you want, without even a hello or how are you. I stop for lunch in the 5th cute little town of the day. They are all too picturesque to take pictures so you will have to imagine. The town I'm in has red roofs and red walls that are over 800 years old. They are constructed with stone slabs and second-hand tiles, it's an eclectic mix! There are big villas adorned with the skulls of cows, sheep, goats and rams like the set of a Lorca play. I head back out onto the path after lunch and a flock of cyclists speed past me singing “VOLARE-O-O-O-O.” I love the Camino.
Here are some walking tips. Change your socks at least twice a day so that your feet stay dry. If you get a blister stay put until a German or a Danish person rescue you with Compeed (thanks Gertz and Rickarda). When you get to the next big town buy your own Compeed. “What's Compeed?” Only the most amazing hi-tech blister protection in the world. You also need to have a sewing kit with you and if you do get a blister sew a needle through it and leave the thread hanging out at both ends – this will allow the fluid to drain and your blister will heal faster.
My legs hurt. Everything aches, aaaches. It's unbelievable. My muscles, knees, the bottoms of my feet are sore. This is so much fun, you have to do it. I feel great. I'm in so much pain I don't even think I can sleep. I'm sitting in the albergue bar in Uterga listening to groovy jazz music and having a warm Cola-Cao (a Spanish chocolate drink). The municipal albergues are great. They typically cost between 4 and 6 Euros a night with a washing machine and a kitchen. There are always lots of hungry pellegrinos that you can make dinner with and mess up the kitchen. Sometimes, if you arrive at an albergue late, (after 4pm), they will be “completos” or full and you might have to pay for a hotel or walk to the next town. There are also private albergues which cost about 9 or 10 Euros, they will be smaller, nicer, cleaner and give you towels. If you're really hungry most towns with a bar will serve a pilgrim menu, 10 Euros for a ridiculously large meal with wine, an entrée, main and dessert.