Today we set out from Pamplona. As we left the city walls (yes, the city is surrounded by stone walls – complete with watchtowers and a drawbridge – so epic!) we could see big windmills dotting the horizon.
Walking towards these and seeing them get closer and closer and closer until you pass right underneath is just amazing. And then to get to our albergue after nearly nine hours pf walking, look back over the land we have just covered and see the same windmills once again dot the horizon – but this time, from behind us, is a feeling like no other.
If I hadn’t walked every step myself, I wouldn’t be able to even comprehend the accomplishment. (But I have, so I can 😉 ) Hopefully you can live a little vicariously through my posts and experience some of the wonder as well from wherever you are in the world.
Today held new surprises, laughs, and frustrations.
When we woke up, most cafes in the city weren’t open until late morning. So, we wandered until we found a tucked away bakery, to have coffee and some of the best pastries I’ve had in a long time.
The temperature reached over 30’C, and many shoulders, knees and noses turned beetroot pink throughout the day. Being pretty cocky and always carrying a sweet tan myself, I didn’t think I’d need sunscreen.. I did. Here’s hoping I don’t peel! Regardless, by the end of this I expect to come back to Australia with a magnificent short/singlet tan (magnificent? horrendous? I’m yet to decide..).
However, it’s safe to say my biggest memory of today is shared with Jess (a Perth girl who was the first other Aussie I met here!) and Frank, the Canadian I’ve mentioned previously.
Jess and I were taking it fairly easy in the afternoon for our last seven kilometers of the day: she had already legged it that morning to catch us all and her feet were pretty tender, and I was just plain old worn out. But being the true-blue, help-a-brother-out Aussie gals that we are, when the 6’4″ Frank missed a very obvious right hand turn and started striding out up a steep rocky hillside maybe 20m ahead of us, we both started calling out to him to stop. And then yelling. And then yelling! Turns out he has noise cancellation headphones that work reeeally well.
So we started chasing him. At this point, I definitely did have second thoughts.. But I took off my pack with the skill of a true Camino pilgrim and ran up that mountain after him anyway – Jess had just concentrated on needing to get to him asap and didn’t stop to take off her pack.
As I ran past her, in between my gasps for air I choked out that this was a true Camino moment to remember! Afterwards, she said she hasn’t belly-laughed so hard in a long, long time.
And comical it was! He walked with his ridiculously long strides, I sprinted and gulped breaths and whisteled and screamed and threw rocks at him and sprinted some more.
We reckon it was a good kilometre – UPHILL – before I caught him. It felt like eight though, I swear.
As we all backtracked to the turn off (him sheepishly, Jess still laughing and me trying not to faint from lack of oxygen), Massimo a beautiful Italian man was standing there filming us. Turns out, he was on the previous hill and watched/heard it all unfold.
Moments where my belly hurts from laughing with new friends, I push myself beyond imagination to help another, and we create memories of escapades that will go down in our history books.
How lucky I am to be living this life.