Day 2 along the Trail
16-17 April – (Camino de Santiago Zubiri). Traveling on the highways with my wife is always a harrowing experience. Neither of us believes the other has any driving skills and we live in terror every time the other takes control at the wheel. I think she follows too closely and pays insufficient attention to everything around her. She thinks I follow too closely, pay insufficient attention, drive too fast, can’t stand to be in the right lane, etc.
She’s actually a pretty good driver but my issue is that I have a hard time following behind another or having others pass me – I feel as though I’m losing the race….even there is no race. I can’t sit idle behind another car, regardless of their speed, and I have to always be in the act of passing, regardless of the speed. The only time I slow down is when her furious eyes burn lasar-like holes in my forehead. I suspect I have something of a physiological competitive issue.
When I’m on the hiking trail, the same urges propel me to breakneck speeds (at least for my age group and physical skills!). I absolutely can’t stand to follow behind another like ‘Ducks in a Row’. I’ve no tolerance for walking in a group and if another sneaks up behind me with the mindset to overcome, I’m urged on to pick up the pace to the point of self exhaustion. Stopping is a non-starter, it’s not happening. I’ll stop when I get to my destination or there’s a real compelling reason to do so.
When walking along and I see something I want to photograph, I’ll ready my camera (iPhone) and continue walking with a long, deep step and try to catch the shutter in mid-stride for a steadier, unblurred shot. No stopping.
When I have to relive myself on the trail, I do stop, but not for long and not until I’ve ‘readied’ myself with zipper down and prepared to perform. As soon as the stream stops, I’m off walking again as I close up for business.
At this point your thinking this Boy has got issues. I think you’d be right!
Perhaps a lifetime of never wanting to fall behind, always wanting to lead from the front and showing no weakness has taken a strange toll on my driving and hiking. I think this is, perhaps, why I’m on the Camino. To learn to slowdown, experience my surroundings and ‘smell the roses’. I’m not there yet, but I still have 31 days of walking ahead of me.
Bed & Food
I’m learning that the biggest concern on the Camino is finding a place to sleep/eat after a long exhausting day on the trail. I’d normally plan ahead for every single possible consideration (reservations, etc) but this time I said I was going with the flow and would let the ‘Camino Provide’ for my education and experience. But secretly I also don’t want to call ahead and reserve only to find I selected the dump next to the really nice accommodation.
So, wandering around the village like a Camino zombie, limping along with drool seeping down the side of my face and glazed over eyes while trying to find the ‘right’ place, I guess, will be the new norm.
I was in such a state of desolation in Zubiri where I came across another Pilgrim in the same condition. That night neither of us wanted to share a room and bathroom with 20 others so we were looking for a ‘habitacion solo’ (single room) for a reasonable (cheap) price.
The very nice hostel owner explained to us that he had none as I tried in my very broken Spanish to explain our dilemma (which he is undoubtedly familiar with). He did have a double room with two beds and a private bathroom that would go along with it.
My fellow zombie was a strikingly attractive Danish woman and in spite of the fear of rejection I asked her the only thing I could. “Do you snore?” She said “no, what about you?” I replied “Sometimes, Would you like to split a room?” I think she was relived and only hesitated momentarily because of a previous experience with an elderly American man the night before seriously proposed to her after only a few hours of meeting – this is the Camino. But she said yes.
In many areas of the States this would be scandalous, on the Camino trail, this was quick thinking to solve our daily problem before somebody else got the room and we were relegated to wandering the streets looking for another. All of our burdens were relieved and we unlimbered ourselves of our packs, got a few beers and walked to the river to join others in soaking our feet.
Danish Oil Soldier Woman
The ‘Danish Oil Soldier Woman’ is what we agreed she would be referred to in the blog. Her backpack weighed about the same as mine but she had little clothing and a lot of toiletries. Most of that was made up of various types of oils and lotions. Lavender to ward off the smell from the day (boots and body), an olive oil for the skin, another for the face and more for every conceivable purpose.
I thought this was cool until she showed me her Duck Tape. Then I began to think this may have been a bad spontaneous move.
It wasn’t till dinner where we ate with another Danish women and when she found out the Oil Soldier Woman brought Duct Tape, her eyes light up and she exclaimed she did too! I guess duct tape is the thing in Denmark. Needless to say, the afternoon was really engaging.
Pilgrims always manage to find the local pub and hang out and tell each other outrageous lies and intimate secrets they’d never, ever tell their friends. It must be because they feel unburdened knowing this is an artificial and liberating environment as we’re all also ‘discoverers’ and most likely never to be seen again.
She told the truth, she didn’t snore. I hope I didn’t, but was not around long enough in the morning to really find out. I was up and out early (after finishing my slice of bread), frantically trying to get ahead of the group of very fast Korean walkers, so I’d have enough time to ‘stop’ and pee. Zubiri was fun.
PS To my little Danish Oil Soldier Woman, I hope you find your answers, the right questions and enjoy your Camino, and stay away from elderly American men! Also, if I got anything wrong here please comment. (Camino de Santiago Zubiri)
Interesting Links (Camino de Santiago Zubiri)
- Photos along the Camino and throughout the Iberian Peninsula
- Return to the beginning of this Journal Blog
- Enjoy our Journal Blog about our travels throughout Italy