Hanging out in Santo Domingo de la Calzada

We´ve had an absolutely wonderful past few days in Santo Domingo. It´s a lovely little town with lots of history to it. I have to be honest though, we´ve spent most of the time sleeping haha. We did take some time today to look around. We went to have a peak in the Cathedral, possibly the only one to have a rooster in it 😛  We also climbed up to the top of a tower (where the photo was taken) , and in general have had a well deserved, relaxing two days 😀

All set for our walking again. Even, dare I say it, a little excited 😀

Dazed and Confused

The past few days have been rather a rollercoaster for both of us 😛 I think the pace of the walking finally started to get to us… it´s easy to forget sometimes that our bodies aren´t used to this level of excercise. We have walked over 100km in one week; rather a step up from the 100m to Le Gros Franck and back 🙂

Mark got a bit of a fever, much to my concern 🙁 I was all a tither and didn´t quite know what to do with myself. Mark was bright red and sweat was literally pouring off him. I couldn´t stop crying fearing that we might have to cut ourselves short and come home. Luckily we´ve met quite a few good fellow pilgrims along the way, so we were never completely alone; just left feeling a little dispirited and, on both our parts, a little dazed and confused. I´m sure the 12(!!) mosquito bites on Mark´s head were´nt helping either. Haha, both of us also got mega paranoid after hearing tales from fellow pilgrims about waking up covered in 100s of bed bugs :S Which, when added to the levels of snoring in some of the dorms, has resulted in neither of us getting much sleep.

Upon much advice we have taken the bus two days ahead to Santo Domingo de Calza, along with new friends Caroline and Emily from Canada. We´re staying a few nights in a private room, with an actual bathtub. The decorating looks like it hasn´t been changed since the 70´s, but we´re just happy to get some sleep. Not too expensive either at €70 for two nights. I think we´re both starting to perk up a bit, and will certainly be more aware in the future of not pushing ourselves too far. Having a set date to finish by has made us both a little bit stressed 🙁

We are both missing our friends, family and home alot 😛 But not to worry, we´ll be just fine; we´re both looking after each other. I´m sure after two days real rest we shall be fit as fiddles and enjoying ourselves fully once more 😀

Update, 2nd Oct

Larrasoana- Pamplona 19.5 km

We woke up around 6.30, both incredibly hungry and desperate for a wee (the toilets were in a portacabin outside and neither of us could be bothered to go in the dark :P). Being hungry was rather more of a surprise given our enormous three course meal the night before. The morning was not very enjoyable, as I lost my digital camera; came to the conclusion it had been stolen, and proceeded to be very tearful for the rest of the morning. After having breakfast with Kevin and Joe, and rather embarassingly crying through most of it, Kevin suggested giving my bag a thorough search. So after they´d gone I took out the top bag of my rucksack, opened it, and there it was! I´d looked in that bag four times, and it was the top one of my rucksack which I´d had out during breakfast. Another trick, magical fairies, or me being a blind idiot… who will ever know; all that mattered was I had my camera back, and I could get back to being snap-happy. A now much wiser “Macro-Maverick”, one who doesn´t ever leave her camera lying on a bed under her trousers.

Today´s walking was a bit less enjoyable as my feet were rather sore from yesterday. Luckily though the route was much shorter and we were in Pamplona before we knew it. Which was lucky as we ran out of food and were both absolutely starving. The views were still incredible and many a picture was taken 😀

Tonight is another lovely alberuge in the centre of Pamplona, Mark and I are saving some money and having another picnic instead of eating out. We´re both relaxed, happy and enjoying ourselves. (More than I ever thought would be possible when my legs ache this much, haha).

Next update and piccies coming soon when we get to another internet cafe.

(Apologies for the abrupt finish, my time is running out haha)

Update 1st Oct

First Days Walking:

Roncevalles- Larrasoana 26.9km

Written by Emily (as I think most of these posts will be, Mark is so enthralled by everything he finds summarising the day too constraining 😛 Having written a diary since the age of 11 it´s something which comes easier to me. So i guess this is my job; but he´s sitting next to me… you know, desperate to correct my grammar, and bursting with energy… as usual 😀 )

OK, so first days walking.

We woke up rather like rabbits trapped in headlights when the lights were switched on at 6:30. Rather a shock to the system. Got dressed and packed then tried to find some breakfast. Which in the end came from a vending machine. Which gave us 3 cookies instead of one 😛 Kept us going for the day anyway. Then after bickering about which way to go we finally settled on just following the other pilgrims 😛 Which lead us to our first of many amazing forests… where we took a wrong turn, basically ending up back in Roncevalles 😛 Undeterred we carried on and made it to our first village, Burguete. Which, like every other stop at a village along the way, involved the eating of cakes and chocolate hehe.

The views from everywhere were absolutely breathtaking; rolling mountains, forests, clouds, flowers, sheep; everything. I went snap-happy with the camera, especially loving my Super Macro setting. (Mark has given me the nickname “Macro-Maverick”, and after Mark bought a wooden staff in Viscarret he is now known as “Mustaffa”) Mark and I were like excited little children the whole way. We barely even noticed we were walking until we reached Zubiri, 22km in. At which point we pushed ourselves, further than was probably necessary, to make it to Larrasoana. Dad said Zubiri was a dump and we wanted our first night after walking to be a good one. We eventually made it, very tired, to Larrasoana which was worth it, the village was lovely!

There we met Kevin and Joe, a father-son duo from Newquay, a very characterful pair.  Who we ate dinner with; Kevin proceeded to play many a prank on me… much to everyone´s amusement, including mine haha. It was a lovely, relaxed evening in perfect Camino spirit. Followed by a desperately needed sleep in the albergue 🙂

Update 30th Sept

Looking around Bilbao

Written by Emily (Mark can´t remember what we did hahaha)

We woke up early, around about 8am. Took advantage of what may well be our last ever consistently hot shower, then headed off. We followed the river around the city, with me constantly pestering Mark to pose for photos (not at all to his amusement), after a little encouragement to lighten up, and a little advice from Mark to try and take photos ‘au naturel’ everything was fine 😀 We then passed the modern art bridge which Mark thought was “a complete waste of money and resources… I mean, it´s all bent!”; next up was the Guggenheim which Mark thought was “hmm(frown)… (excited smile) actually, it´s not that bad… like a big rock” After a nice breakfast in a cafe we both cheered up a bit (although Mark´s apprecition of the bent bridge never surfaced).

A stroll along the river to the bus station followed. Then a rather boring bus journey to Pamplona (not that I would know as I slept the whole way). From there it was on to Roncevalles, the start of our walking. I´ve never seen so many Pilgrims in a bus station before 😛 I started to feel a bit intimidated and just a mediocre person in walking gear… not quite a true Pilgrim.

Roncevalles and the Albergue were absolutely beautiful! The atmosphere was so lovely. After settling in we headed up to the restaurant for our first pilgrims meal… trout, complete with head and eyes! Which i never would have touched at home but tucked into quite happily. Then a good-ish nights sleep with 50 or so other pilgrims 😀

Update 29th Sept

Flying out date.

Written by Emily.

First off, thank you very much to Ronnie and Ashley for waking up at 4am to give us a lift to Stansted 🙂 Even though I was a bit too nervous to appreciate it at the time, rather just sat in the back looking a bit pale.

Everything went very smoothly at the airport, I calmed down and settled into things a bit more; dare I say even got a little excited. That is until we boarded the plane 😛 There was a rather dodgy sounding noise and a vibration, then everything went quiet. Cue: me thinking we’re all going to die. Some guys came to check out the plane; half an hour later everybody was taken off the plane due to a “serious techinical fault”. Worked out for the best in the end though, a five hour delay and 6 pounds each to spend on food 😀 (which, in case you’re wondering, buys 4 millies cookies and a milkshake; as you can tell we take our walking diet very seriously) . OH, and I nearly forgot braintrainer! (Emily´s effortlessly cool puzzle book) <- Mark is just jealous because i was faster than him. We flew with Titan Airways in the end, who were amazing! The flight was so fast and they gave us free sweets 😛

After successfuly getting the bus into Bilbao, we found our way to Tourist Info. Then went to Pension Bilbao where we spent the night in lovely room with some really nice views 🙂 It was right in the heart of the old city, so we took a look around until we got tired. Had a nice little picnic in the room and then fell fast asleep by 9pm, not after I’d had a little ‘what on earth am I doing walking 800km panic’.

(May I just add that i was very proud of myself for ordering the hotel room in Spanish and speaking not a word of English for the whole process 😛 Mark said it was “like watching somebody do magic… but real!” hahaha.)

So that was the end of our first, very successful day 😀

Ready or not, 8 hours to go!

The Camino starts tomorrow!

This is what Mark and I will be living out of for the next 37 days! We’ve both got one outfit to walk in, and one outfit for the evening. Except I was a bit sneaky and am taking a dress, shorts, t-shirt, and cardigan. My rucksack was unbearably heavy first time trying it on, I had to take it off within 10 minutes! Not a good start, but then realised the heaviest part was all my walking gear, which I won’t be carrying anyway 😀 Mark and I have both snuck a few luxuries in there; I’ve got some make-up and my razor, Mark his book 😛 (Mark isn’t taking his razor so watch out for the beard growth in piccies haha.)

We’re going to be living on around €30 a day, each. Not too bad really, easily manageable. Might even manage to squeeze in a few nights in a hotel; with an actual pillow 😛

Let the adventure begin… 5am tomorrow morning!

We’ll keep you posted.