Starting with bummers because today was a tough one.
Today was a rollercoaster for me. I don't know what was in the water but I was irritable AF all day. It started out when I was woken up by chainsaw-status snoring in the bed next to my mom. We both woke up, shoved ear plugs in our ears and slept restlessly the remainder of the night. My mom and I woke up with bed bug bites. Yep. That's all I'm gonna say about that. After quickly eating breakfast, I packed my pack, then packed my Mom's pack. I was extremely frustrated that she didn't become an experienced backpacker over night. After what felt like ages of helping my mom get ready for the day, we started hiking. Minutes in, she asked me to braid her hair. I took off my pack and did. Then started tearing up as we started hiking again. Oh god, tears on day 3 is definitely not ideal. I hit her where it hurts with the "you're the mom, not me!". The backpacker routine is so easy and natural to me, but I had to realize that this is new and scary for her.
It's Sunday, so nothing is open anywhere and we had a bathroom emergency. I lived in the woods a while so it was never a concern using natural facilities. However, the Camino is not the Appalachian trail. There are hikers around every corner and villages in between. You can pee quick but otherwise need to find a toilet. My mom and I ran around for at least two miles to every store in a village just off the Camino trying to find a toilet. We were about to start knocking on doors when one municipal albergue was open. Don't take your toilets for granted, people!
This 13 mile day felt like 18 by the time we were approaching the city. Our feet ached from pounding on pavement and our skin ached from being pounded with sun. We stopped just outside the city to crush a tube of Pringles and help us through the last few miles. The closer we got to Pamplona, the more people we saw in red and white for the enormous San Fermín festival. We entered the city around 3pm and encountered countless young people at their peak day-drunkness heading off to siesta, some of which attempted to charge us pretending to be bulls. I obviously loved it and charged back at them, threatening to stab them with my trekking pole if they got any closer to my mom. I was like "this is gonna be an epic night" and my poor mother was like "I'm scared".
After an insanely difficult day of hiking, we made it to the beautiful city of Pamplona. We were starving, but nowhere was serving food, so we wandered through crowds of red and white people. All of a sudden, people parted to the side of the road, music in the distance got louder and an enormous parade of hundreds of people came down the street. Our moods were instantly lifted and we got beers instead of worrying about food.
To make matters even better, within three minutes of sipping a refreshing cerveza con limon, two older men sitting next to us paid a mariachi band to serenade us with love songs. They bought us beers and tried to convince my mom to marry me off. Grace played along until she started worrying he was serious and told him straight up I have a boyfriend.
After walking around the city we enjoyed an amazing Italian dinner. We were back at our hostel by the time people started really partying. No sleep would be had that night.
A Trace of Grace
Notes from a trekking mama
Don't be afraid of the masses of drunk people that roam the city 24/7 during San Fermín festival. You may even get a free beer or two and do some some dancing in the city plaza. Wake up early, even if you don't feel like it, otherwise you might miss the running of the bulls.