From the end of May through mid June, Paul, Finn and I walked the Camino de Santiago in Spain. This is part of the recap of that trip. Find more here.
After breakfast in Puente, we headed out with a group of pilgrims toward Estella. After the long day before with a big climb, 21.9km seemed very reasonable. We’d begun to sort of figure out Finn’s disposition and when to stop to help him get through the days. The past couple of days had been immensely easier than the days before as far as Finn’s attitude. We felt like we were learning so much about the little man’s personality. He’d hit a stage where he like to be talked through things. Telling him that I was going to change his diaper and asking him not to scream about it, usually resulted in much less resistance. Why a child ever throws a fit about someone trying to help them out of their own filth will always be beyond me. : )
We also figured out that our previous “if Finn is happy, we’re walking” attitude wasn’t working. Since we’d been finishing our days with many of the other pilgrims and hitting our daily distance goals, we could afford to stop a little more often. So we’d begun stopping when Finn was happy and ready to play. He got some energy out and would happily get back in the backpack. Sometimes it took just a little coaxing and we’d play games like counting “1-2-3-WHEE!” when we swung the backpack up on Paul’s back. It became a huge production, but Finn loved it so we obliged.
The Spanish were also incredibly kind and giving. We stopped buying cartons of milk because we’d never use them all and every coffee shop refilled his milk for free. We’d attempted to buy small milk cartons so the milk wouldn’t go bad, and Spanish milk is shelf-stable, so we didn’t need to keep it cold until it was opened. BUT, it was nice to just not have to worry about that. Every time we stopped, Finn was given a sucker or a banana or some other snack. It became a running joke that we’d need to get off the Camino before he got too spoiled!
Leaving Puente, it became really clear that we were in wine country: La Rioja. There were beautiful vineyards all along the walk and the terrain began to flatten out. As we approached Cirauqui, however, we realized that the medieval need to build a city on a hill was a bit of a nuisance and a cruel trick on tired pilgrim. Every time we thought we’d have a flat walk, we realized it would be a steep climb through the next town! Despite the climb, Cirauqui was a great ancient Spanish town. The Camino went right through the middle of it and through an old courtyard where we stamped our credencials.
We went on to Lorca where we stopped for lunch with other pilgrims. Finn had a blast here. He had a couple of sweet German fans who entertained him for a while and then he went about high-fiving pilgrims. He practiced walking with his walking stick and tried to take off without us! Fortunately, he’s pretty slow.
We crossed into the Navarre region before entering Estella, where we would stop for the night. We asked around in the albergues and were directed to a pension. The lady running it was so sweet and put us in the “honeymoon suite” because we were traveling with Finn. Basically, that just meant we would have a full-sized bed, a luxury on the Camino since Finn and I had been sharing one twin bed while Paul got the other twin on most nights. Our room had a balcony overlooking the square where we snacked and rested while Finn took a nap. We heard some women speaking english in the room next to us and then out of the balcony. I can’t remember exactly how it happened, but we found out they were a mother daughter combo from Texas! The daughter was actually in college at my alma mater. Whoop!
We showered and cleaned up and I started to notice Finn was pretty lethargic and slightly feverish. There is nothing worse than a sick kid while you’re in a foreign country!! He’d had a little cough for awhile so I thought his symptoms may be related to that, but when I peeked in his mouth, there were a couple of molars beginning to cut through. We went to a pharmacy and asked the pharmacist if we could just take his temperature. She was so kind and happily obliged. Unfortunately, I was in super-worried-mom mode and when she told me the temperature in celsius, I looked at Paul like “OMGSH! HOW BAD IS THAT?!?! WHAT DOES IT MEAN!?!” hahaha. She suggested we go to the hospital, which didn’t help calm me down. Paul did some quick math and assured me it wasn’t that bad, but he’d like to give him some tylenol. We gave Finn some medicine and he began acting better pretty quickly. So, we went to walk around the town a bit. We stopped in a second square and got him some ice cream since he hadn’t eaten much (pretty typical when he’s cutting a tooth). He happily high-fived some of our Camino friends and seemed a quite a bit better so we walked on.
There was lots to see in Estella because the Kings of Navarre had lived there. We stopped at the coolest pottery/wood-working shop where I *almost* bought some beautiful holy water founts before Paul convinced me that they were not the most practical thing to add to our backpacks and we’d probably see more in Santiago. We didn’t. : ( I’m still trying to find a way to get my hands on one of those holy water founts! The shopkeeper was the sweetest old man and he just loved Finn. He told us that he didn’t have toys, but he did have a hand carved wooden spoon that he gave to Finn. Its my very favorite keepsake for from the Camino. We saw the man on the street later and he stopped to tell his wife about Finn as well : ) All the more reason I want to by the holy water fount from him! (Can you tell I’m still not over this?!)
We got dinner at a pizza restaurant across the street where everything was fine and dandy. Until….we were happily chatting when Finn, out of nowhere, threw up all over himself and in Paul’s hands. Oops. Maybe ice cream wasn’t the best idea. Parenting lesson #74623895.
However, after cleaning up, Finn pretty much face planted into some pizza. Sooo….he was ok? Kids are so confusing. He ran around the restaurant and visited some fellow pilgrims and was highly entertained by the pizza making.
Since he was acting so much better, we decided to make mass. The church was up a huge flight of stairs (or alternatively an elevator). It was beautiful and Finn did great at mass. The Spanish people, especially in Estella, LOVED Finn. He had a little fan club after mass. We walked around the cloisters before heading back to our room and got Finn to bed.
We hadn’t had internet in a few days, but our pension had wifi in the main lobby so I went down to use it. When I signed on, I had about 50 text messages from people asking if our house was flooded. WHAT?!!?!? Why would our house be FLOODED!?!?!
Turns out, there was a huge storm in Houston and flooding all around the city, but especially in our neighborhood. I rushed upstairs to wake up Paul and we took turns getting on the internet to find someone to PLEASE go check on our house! Gosh…talk about a heart attack. A friend of mine’s husband finally got online to check flooding maps and assured us that our house was probably fine and a few neighbors said the same. So we finally calmed down enough to try to get some sleep and prepare for the next day.
And somehow, despite all the drama of flooding and sick kids, Estella was on of my favorite stops.