A very peculiar thing is happening up and down the Camino – folks who don’t know each other are sharing the most intimate stories- AND I mean intimate.
Deb from Maine tells me she starts everyday with a cup of coffee so that she can have a successful bowel movement. We’re 13 days into this march to Santiago de Compostella and luckily for her, she’s as regular as a Rolex watch.
Not so for Stefan! Poor guy hasn’t had a salad in two weeks and he’s more backed up than the Garden State Parkway on a summer weekend. Lucky for him, the local pharmacies are great here – they’ve heard it all and seen it all.
I went to a local one yesterday to get new shoe insoles – this place was like a room at Versailles.
There were beautiful bottles lining the wooden shelves – each an antique and each for a specific medicine or herbs.
The ceiling had a hand-painted fresco that was awe-inspiring and soothing.
Looking up to the pharmaceutical heavens, I knew I was in good hands.
My new insoles have given me blisters the size of half dollars on both of my fucking feet.
I hobbled for 19 miles today, terrified to look at my feet or to stop.
And these new war wounds are just the latest direct hits my feet are taking.
The Way is waylaid with the walking wounded.
I passed Ana from Argentina and she was in terrible shape – even worse than me and she’s only 32! She has a major case of shin splints. I gave her some ibuprofen and some electrolytes, and loaned her my walking poles so she could roll them up and down on her shins.
Road side health care is part of the Camino community- everyone has an ache, pain and complaint – AND everyone has a cure.
And that’s the way it’s always been here on the Camino. The path is lined with ruins of former hospitals, convents, and monasteries that have treated the sick and dying since the Middle Ages.
I find some comfort in my discomfort knowing that thousands have come before me feeling my pain and worse.
Tonight, I managed to walk down to the cellar of my hotel before dinner to have a glass of wine with some new Peregrinos. We had never met but they saw the agony I was in, and they shared their best wishes and experiences that have worked for them. Which of course immediately began led to “The Great Debate: Pop Um or Don’t Pop Um.”
Now I’m having this conversation with six very posh Blokes – all from England. When it comes to DaFeet – seems no pilgrim will be defeated!
Blister liquid, gas pains, bowel movements are not the sort of topics I can see Wills and Kate having over drinks.
But here on the Camino – we have no secrets, we’re in this together. If one of us is plugged up and in need of the magic bullet, or another one needs some amateur podiatrist advice and care – well, as they say, The Camino Provides.
Here are my stats
19 Miles Marched Today
(Tardajos to Castrojeriz)
204.43 Miles Traveled So Far
301.37 Miles Left To Go
505.8 Total Miles to walk from St Jean Pied de Port, France to Santiago, Spain
Tomorrow: Still on the “Meseta” – Destination: Boadilla del Camino