458 Miles to Santiago

Hi all! Sorry about the crummy post yesterday, but I find it hard to concentrate enough to write anything worth anything with 10 people waiting to use the computer. I have been keeping a little journal though, and I´ll do my best to post those thoughts on here when I get the chance, which I do right now! So here we go:

9-24-11

St Jean Pied de Port

490 miles to Santiago

I feel sick. My head is light and my stomach is upset. I´m hoping I´m just exhausted and dehydrated from my trip. I´m hoping it´s something that can be solved by a good night´s sleep. Time will tell.

I was the first to arrive at the municiple albuerge this afternoon. The room is almost full now. From what I can tell, everyone is French – or at least speak french well enough so I can´t tell the difference. It also seems that at this point I am the only one here traveling alone. I´m surprised that the old seem to outnumber the young. There is a girl that looks to be around my age travelling with two older women and a group of young guys, but everyone else seems to be 40s-60s.

I´m so exhausted. I´m partly only writing to keep myself awake until it is socially acceptable to close my eyes. Don´t know how much longer I can hold out…

I look forward to being back in Spain tomorrow, where I was just getting ahold of the language. I am cold. But also happy. And excited.

9-25-11

Roncevalles

474.7 miles to Santiago

I am in SO MUCH PAIN! Mostly my feet (2 large blisters forming along arches) but also some very sore shoulders.

Still happy I did it, the worst is over. Also have weird burning sensation on upper lip that´s been happening all day. Not too red… yet. Not sure if it is sunburn or something else. Did get really awkward sunburn on chest. Also had gastr0-intenstinal, nausea, and weirdly plugged ear issues on hike today.

Hike was beautiful. It seems I´m one of the slower ones, in my age group anyway. Oh well. I´m sure I can keep up with them on level ground… but all the inclines today! Everyone AND my guidebook says this was the worst day. I am happy for it to be over.

A lot of people in the hostel are just arriving and starting tomorrow. I guess Roncevalles is another popular starting point – wish I would have known! Whatever, better for me. Anyway, one of the ´newbies´is my bunkmate (PS Worst bunk bed ladders ever! Impossible to climb with grace and always painful). He is from Japan – older guy. He told me his American name is George. I like him. He gave me a pikachu key ring for switching the bottom bunk to him (hence my ladder antics)! So worth it.

Wish I hadn´t brought my pillow. Takes up so much room and is heavy and so far both hostels have had pillows. Austin was right. I wish he was here.

Made some friends today on the walk. Couldn´t find any of them tonight.

Other than the awkward ladders the hostel is awesome. Yesterday was nice too but this one is HUGE and has awesome amenities.

Can´t believe how many middle-aged people are here! They far outnumber the young. I think I´m the youngest I´ve seen so far. Maybe it´s just that time of year.

Once again I am in bed too early. Don´t know what time it is but other than people moving in there´s noone here. Even George dissappered. But I´m still getting over jet lag and am tired and sore and excited for tomorrow. It will be interesting to see how I fare on more typical terrain. Someone today told me it takes 100 miles for the body to adjust. We´ll see.

AH PAIN! Brought too much yet everyone seems to have more than me. Gorgeous walk though. Got very close to beautiful horses and sheep. In the afternoon when the sheep were sleeping I wanted so badly to curl up in the sun with them. Also saw really neat bird. Maybe hawk? Not sure. Lovely, very sing-song call. Flew right about me for awhile after Pic DÓrisson.

Can barely keep eyes open. Will sleep well tonight!

9-26-11

Zubiri

459 miles to Santiago

Today was much easier than yesterday, but I´m in even more pain as my muscles are still angry for yesterday and have been protesting violently all day.

Only walked alone for a quarter of the day. Can´t tell if I like walking with someone else or not. In the morning when I had more energy and was less sore I walked with Francois (from France, duh) and on and off with some other people. I think we were all going faster than we would have alone and although I was fine I knew I wouldn´t be if I kept the pace up so I made an excuse to fall back. I go much slower on my own and enjoy it that way. I like Francois though. He doesn´t speak a lot of english but tries very hard and is sweet.

Nicolas (from Belgium) met me at lunch and insisted on walking the rest of the day with me. I didn´t enjoy that as much I think because by that time I had no plans to speed up for anyone so Nicolas was always waiting for me which made me a bit uncomfortable. But he refused to leave me so what can I do?

Near the end of the walk this afternoon my feet were blistering so badly I had to stop and take off my shoes. A french couple walking by then took it upon themselves to heal me. It was quite a hilarious situation as I speak no french and they no english and Nicolas acting as translator (it should be said, Nicolas´s english is horrible). One moment they were motioning to me in words I couldn´t understand and the next they were taking off my socks! They were carrying with them a small pharmacy – I think I understood they were doctors – and patched me up with some Compeed (like moleskin but better). Nicolas had met them before and told me after they left that they had done the Camino 3 times.

There were lots of cats along the way today, especially around the towns. They were so cute (most were kittens) and stretched out leisurely right on the trail as if to say ´hello tired pilgrim, would you like to rub my belly?´ I seriously considered scooping one up and putting it in my pack to cuddle with tonight but then reconsidered when I thought about the extra weight.

Well, I´m off to find a pharmacy. I´m in serious need of some painkillers and some of that compeed stuff. My shoulders, back, calves, ankles and feet are KILLING me. My thighs are doing great though!

…Pharmacy is closed until 4:30 and boy do I need it! Whoever came up with the idea of bunkbeds in albuerges is CRAZY! Yes, they save space. But have you ever tried getting into the top bunk of a bunkbed when you can barely walk? It´s not easy… I am super thirsty right now but its too painful to move. Water will have to wait!

Didn´t go to Larrasoana as was suggested by my guidebook. Sleeping in Zubiri instead. Excited to spend tomorrow night in Pamplona! Thought it would be better to do the longer trek on the other side.

This hostel isn´t as nice as last night´s. But it´s comfortable and the hospitalera is really friendly. And there is free internet!

I´ve walked over 30 miles already. That number seems huges until I realize I´ve still got 458 to go.

2 thoughts on “458 Miles to Santiago

  1. My Lord Nana!!!! I really hope that your body adjust soon! So much pain! Also I am hopefull that you start having more fun from now, with the españoles and that you get to practice the lenguage. I am so thankfull to the french couple who heal your feet! I follow every one of your steps! Keep the courage!

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