It is definitely a different life on the Camino. I am up before the sun, and my internal clock is magically set to five am every day for the very first time in my life after the deepest sleep despite the snorers and roller-overs and late night loud talkers and, as it was last night, the constant farters (worst). Yesterday we woke up to roosters, today to church bells, and always with the birds singing away. I am learning about the pro's and con's of silicone earplugs, which work very well to block out the noise but also (insider's tip) melt with the warmth of your ear, resulting in a very messy hair/ wax situation in the morning. One should also divide one of the balls of wax into two, resulting in 12 ear plugs in a pack instead of the 6 I thought I was equipped with. I am contemplating buying foam even though I have a full pack of the waxy ones.
Pamplona through Puenta de la Reina to Cirauqui, which probably isn't on a map.
Eating is different and I am loving the ritual of eating simply, picking up a baguette and seeing bread poke out of every other pilgrim's pack as well, stopping at the top of a hill to eat some grapes or an apple, sharing nuts or a granola bar or a block of cheese between four of us. Yesterday, a particularly difficult day including a 32k walk in hot sun, bad knee pain and saying goodbye to a group that had quickly become my family, I got to my hostel with two other pilgrims I've been traveling with in a town that only has houses and a church, and we were told there was no dinner for us. We pooled together our bread and nuts and cheese and some chorizo, and ate slowly and richly.
Daily, we all talk and compare our aches and pains: "how is your blister?" "Do your knees hurt too?" "How are your hips today?" Is your pack light enough?" all between discussing our families and comparing habits and traditions from our countries. Brigit, the sweetest German you'll ever meet with the most contagious laugh, is a pharmacy in her own right, with a different cream or remedy or different bandage for each different kind of blister. I am well taken care of by so many strangers on this trip.
Lucky, I have only a hint of a blister which I covered right away before leaving this morning, so hopefully it won't turn into anything. One woman got blisters so bad on the first and second day that she walked the third in flip flops. I saw her feet and couldn't believe how terrible they were. She was resting an extra day to let her feet heal; if my feet were in her condition it would be enough to book a ticket home!
I have a decent start on a horrific sock tan after yesterday, which I assume is only going to get more and more prominent, as is the way of the world. I have a slight sunburn on my left side (sorry , mom), as the sun was to our left for the 10.5 hours of walking we did yesterday. Today we're feeling it and going to take an easy day and make sure we're not out after 1:30 and take advantage of a nice long siesta.
Yesterday was challenging in the evening, over tired and burned and hungry, missing home, but I am loving the Road and all that it is unravelling already. It is difficult to conceptualize a whole month of this when I am only in the middle of day five, so I try not to think about it and only on the next hill, the next time I can fill my water bottle, the next time I can get my hands on a croissant or a piece of bread.