A day full of struggle and dejavus from our first Camino in 2014. While walking I wondered how did I manage all this on my own last time. And I got another chance to prove it. Wallet lost, pinched tire, alone with a sleepy child….tears and frustration.
The albergue in Roncavalles is huge with many people even now in the low season. The light goes on around 6am and even before that you can hear the rustling sound of plastic bags.
We wait in our little cubicle of four until the early birds are gone and we have more space to pack our bags. At 7:30am a Dutch hospitalero comes and explains we have only till 8am, they want to close the doors. We know that, because it is written all over the place. At 7:50am his wife comes and with a very worried face she explains that we have only 10min left. Yes, we know. It’s still plenty of time. At 7:57am the two Dutch hospitaleros are so happy that we leave in time.
Together with Ron from the US, which is still our companion and a few other pilgrims we have a relaxed breakfast. We get invited to Canada to teach the meaning of Polynesian Tattoo and enjoy the stories of our fellowpilgrims. We start walking at 9am. Only Astrid, who started walking two month ago from Paris is behind us.
The way is much easier today, but we all still feel our sore feet, legs and lower backs. I am sending lots of love and gratitude towards my aching body for being so strong and I promise my feet to give them a nice massage in the evening.
All four of us started the Camino with low energy. Malia and I arrived from Holland, Sani from Tonga and the few days we had in Germany were very busy with Camino and Birthday preparation. I was actually really tired after four days of sleep deprivation. Ron arrived from Florida a day before he started his Camino. So he’s still jetlag.
The first two days were extremely hard. At one point the Camino was so steep and narrow that we had to take the trailer apart. Sani used our entire blister tape to hold the folded trailer together and carried the whole thing like a sherpa on his shoulders. I walked with a very exhausted Malia up the hill and would carry her on my shoulders when she got to tired.
We planned on taking it easy on our third walking day. But it was still very tiring and I really wondered how I did 200km on the Camino on my own with Malia in 2014.
After 10km of walking we wanted to stop but couldn’t find an albergue for under 20€ a night, so we decided to walk on. A big lunch break would give us back some energy. No place to eat, so we looked for the supermarket. I looked for my money but couldn’t find my wallet. Nowhere. Oh my. First Dejavu. I remember the same thing happened on our first camino day last time. It was a huge struggle and it would be a huge struggle this time. But I still remained calm. Either I lost the wallet at the albergue or at the breakfast place and I would find a way to get it or it was lost and I would find another solution. Yes cash, all cards including credit cards, identification card and driver’s license would be lost but that wouldn’t bring my world down. I was sure we could survive until I transfer money to a friend who would sent us cash via western union. Yes, it would be a hassle, but what can you do?
Sani got upset that I lost the wallet. I couldn’t call the albergue from night before, there was no connection and the supermarket was closed. So we walked on without a big lunch break. The men and Malia were eating our last bread and apples. I was happy to spare my part, nothing worse than hungry man or child in a stressful situation.
We kept on walking in silence. Ron offered financial helpful until I found a solution. He was happy to hear that I had him counted in already. Sani calmed down as well and listened to my solution ideas.
Again he kept pushing the trailer by himself through all the hard parts. Then we had a very very steep hill ahead of us. Malia was too tired to walk. Half way another superGAU….a flat tire. Second Dejavu. Ahhh, just like last time it happened far away from the main road. Sani continued to push the trailer. I stopped him, we were going to ruin the complete tire this way. Malia was in deep sleep. Sure, like last time.
We carried her. Ron had to take out his belongings, which we had in the trailer the last few days. We took the tire of and walked back down the steep hill towards the last village. We had to find a car to bring us to the next bigger town. Sani wanted to help Ron, he was worried to let him walk on by himself. So he instructed him to wait with the bags. I wanted us to stay together but he also wanted the real deal by walking the whole way and not taking the easy path with a taxi.
Easy path? Are you kidding me? What followed was a nightmare, tears and big frustration.
We knocked on the first door. No answer. Second door, a frustrated looking lady which we had past before looked out of the upper floor window. She only spoke Spanish, I asked for help. She didn’t want to call a taxi for us. We should keep on walking. She reminded me of the guys with the car who denied me help back in 2014. So we kept on walking with a sleepy child and a trailer with only one wheel.
Second door, an older lady answered the door and was much more helpful. Only spanish speaking, she called around until she found a taxi. Sani was in a rush to start walking. I still believed we better stay together. He rushed back to Ron without us talking where to meet in town.
I was left behind with child, bags and trailer. I took everything apart and waited for the taxi. He wanted 20€ and I was not in the position to negotiate. I was exhausted and frustrated. He dropped us off at the public albergue, which was not nice at all. I called the albergue in Roncavalles and asked if they found my wallet. Yes, they did. I had time till 7pm to tell them where to send it. It could be in Zubiri at 11am the next day. Which would mean we had to wait. They could also send it to Pamplona but I was not sure if we could fix the tire in time and walk the 20km to Pamplona the next day. So I left all bags at the office in the public albergue and started walking with the flat tire in one hand and our child on the other hand to find a place to fix it or to buy a patch. Yes, I had planned take a repair kit with me but had no time to buy it.
I found a gas station and asked the man working there if he sells puncture repair kit. He took me outside to put in air first. He was not very nice more kind of really rude. It didn’t work immediately, he got mad and bended the ventil very hard. The tube came out on one side and got bigger and bigger it looked scary like it is filled with gas and would explode any minute. I asked him what he is doing, he got mad, threw the tire at me and walked off. I was done, tired and frustrated. I walked back to the gas station and knocked on the door, which he had looked so I couldn’t come back in. He comes out and started talking, I didn’t give him a chance. I gave him a big speech in spanish, that this was so rude. If he didn’t want to help it’s fine, but how dares he to make it worse and then just throws the things at me and looks the door. I am mad. Mad at him, mad at Sani for not being there, mad at me for not getting the repair kit before, mad at me for getting mad, after staying calm for so long. I am tired, exhausted and mad. So I sit down and cry. Malia comforts me by giving me a big hug and saying don’t worry mum we just buy a new one.
Yes, it’s OK when our kids see us weak. I do not believe in pretending to be a super mum without showing any feelings. I believe in the opposite, by seeing me weak and witnessing how I find my way back into power she will gain much more.
So after crying a bit we kept on walking. There was group of cyclist. Two women made some unnecessary comments which I ignored while three man where fixing the tire. They couldn’t find a whole, but the air still wouldn’t fill up all the way.
We walked back and stopped at a playground. Still didn’t know where to meet the guys. So we couldn’t check in somewhere but had to wait on the street. When I got cold we walked around looking for a place to stay. The public albergue didn’t feel at all like a place to relax after a tough day.
On the way through town Sani and Ron were walking towards us cheering and expecting applause that they were though guys walking instead of taking the taxi. I was not able to pay this respect, instead I let them know that I am upset. So neither their nor mine expectations were met and we had an hour of really bad mood. Poor Ron walked on tiptoes while I was upset and Sani wanted to go back.
We ended up finding an amazing albergue for a few Euros more. We had the very sweet hospitalera Sarah cooking a great meal for us. And we decided to stay another day at this place to rest, gain some energy, fix the trailer and get my wallet back.
Sarah called the albergue in Roncavalles for me and they had arranged that someone would bring my wallet the next day to us in Zubiri. The man who would bring it, remembered my name, we had met him in Valcarlos and he didn’t want any money for his service. So I had tears in my eyes for the second time on that day, this time out of gratitude.
We were all so exhausetedand fell into bed after a super delicious meal and some wine. But on this day we did not follow on of my biggest rules for the Camino with child (and life in general):
At the end of the day you need to have at least 20% of your strength left for your child.
I guess we have a few more weeks to learn ahead of us
!!!! Pictures will follow. The Internet is not strong enough to upload them.!!!!!!!