Fighting Our Way to Utegra

Damn near killed Pony on our first day out. 🙁

I insisted – wisely – that we get the phone set-up (and Pony’s iPad – has cellular service in it and she wanted to be able to consult with Google Maps and the Camino blogs if she needed to know something)(I wanted my iPhone set-up with Spanish service in the event that we needed to call someone – I thought it would be me – an ambulance).

While my iPhone 5 and Pony’s iPad Retina don’t get 4G service (that was a known condition with my iPhone 5 – later versions support the European LTE), MoviStar was more highly-rated than VodaFone, so we went over to MoviStar. They did not speak English, but I spoke enough Spanish and they understood enough iPhone to tell me they didn’t have the nano-SIM for iPhone (perhaps it was just that store – MoviStar does sell the iPhone).

So off to VodaFone – who had English-speaking customer service – and we were set-up with pre-paid nanoSIMs good for 90-days for 30€ each. (Lesson Learned: If you you have one of those bullet-proof cases for your iPad, make sure you understand HOW to take it off BEFORE you get to the store.)

This had us getting out of town later than Pony wanted. Still, we got to our first stop point – Cizur Menor – at noon – she had planned a slow day – so we continued on. Next stop point – Zariquiegui – was up a hill – and two hostels only had one room a piece. Next place was another eight or so kilometers away – on what turned-out to be a rather steep climb and equally-steep descent through a seasonal (or maybe ancient – could read enough Spanish to see what marker was saying – riverbed with requisite rounded stones (loose, rolling stones are NOT your friend on the downhill side). Pony doesn’t do altitudes really well – first the climb got to her, then exhaustion.

Of course, I’m too stupid to feel pain (no brains, no pains), but happy enough to go at her speed (although sheer exhaustion – jet lag caught up to her as well – made the downhill portion all the slower with tricky negotiations, not to mention she kept falling sleep at rest stops).

Got the two of the last third beds in the only place for pilgrims in Utegra (dorm-style hostel beds at 12€ a piece – private room for 50€ and she didn’t want to do THAT again (44€ last night in Pamplona, so that IS a pricey room). 18-20 people in bunks. Only adjoining beds were upper-bunks and she wasn’t having any of THAT I guess – plopped into first available bed (a single inside the door, kicked shoes off and was off to la-la land for the next few hours.

I went to dinner stag 🙁 But more wine to go around for the rest of us. 🙂