A significantly long day and my very first for a 30 km day. I feel good though my lower back started to give me problems late in the afternoon. My right foot was happy. But not my left. The blister on the under sole is still giving problems and I think I will have to dial my mileage. I’m also planning to stay extra days in Leon ahead of meeting friends from the US in Astorga. I was hoping to meet them in Sarria but these blisters are slowing me down. So I’ll use the time in Leon to really heal up and slowly make my way to astorga.
I’m still not the fastest walker. It still took me close to 9 hours to do that mileage but I’m pretty proud I managed to do it. I’ll give myself a muscle massage tonight as a treat.
The walk today was hot. Very hot. It was a slog. I knew as much in the morning when I did not need my hard shell jacket. I walk at a good pace though soon I am the last in a long line of pilgrims crossing the long 17 stretch with no services.
Partway through, I reach the halfway point to Santiago. So as I write this post, I am officially less than half way to Santiago.
As is normal with me, I eat very lightly through the day with just a coffee, Coca cola or orange for sustenance. I met Sheila in the first town Calzadilla at the Albergue Real Camino. I also met a Scottish couple I had met from La Casa Magica. I couldn’t remember their names. As is usual now at every rest stop, I unashamedly remove my boots and socks to air my feet. I am slightly apologetic though this is what you must do to minimise blisters.
I march on, and increasingly, I feel unhappy feet beneath me. I saw a taxi drive by. I wanted to hail it, to get it to drive me to Moratinos. But I am too slow. I don’t see a taxi again.
It’s a struggle to get to Ledigos. I stop in the bar for a drink, I attempted friendly conversation with a peregrina but she is isn’t interested. I drink my drink whilst massaging my feet. Occasionally, I roll the glass across my calves and feet. They were so hot and the glass cold to the touch.
As I stepped out of the bar, the sun is beating down. It is relentless. I pull my buff over my face, my hat hat and my sunnies. I wear my long sleeve shirt. I am boiling but at least I’m minimising the impact of the sun. I continue to hobble along. The blister on my left foot making itself increasingly known. The ache in my back feels increasingly present. It’s probably because I’m walking lopsidedly.
I am very lucky. In the haze of the heat, I had turned off and followed a path that looked like the path but had no arrows. I would have walked off into the depths of farmland but for a bunch of French pilgrims who call out to me. They chide me for not looking at the arrows, tell me I could have gone off course for a kilometre before realising, Dow me what the arrows look like. I follow them. Relieved to have some company when others have taken shelter for the day.
These “companions” leave at Terradillos. And I am in my own again. For a short stretch of 3 km, I had to stop twice to rest my feet and relieve the weight on my blister. No, I can’t do these long days until everything heals. I won’t make it to sarria to meet my friends. It will have to be Astorga. I am about 5 days too early to meet them, so you can slow down. I tell these to myself.
I reach Albergue San Bruno run by the confraternity of Italians. I had heard it had good Italian food. I am disappointed. A vegan is staying. The food is very boring. They were friendly. It looked a bit run down but it’s not. It’s quite clean. I get a room to myself because the hotel receptionist mucked the reservation up. Or maybe you can’t reserve a bed only s room. Anyway there is hardly anyone here. I get a room to myself. Still I relish the privacy. I can take off all my clothes and spread my things. What freedom.
As if I haven’t had enough sun, I’m in the sun sunning my feet, I’ve removed the compeed and my skin is raw to the touch. I’m hoping the blister will dry out for the short walk to Sahagun. 10 km.
I never thought I would ever say 10 km was short. Progress.