Zero Day Blues

May 4 – Rest Day in Sarria

Let me just say, it’s REALLY difficult to stop walking for an entire day when that has been your job for a month!

Having said that, sleeping 10 hours when we’ve been up at 6:15am everyday was DELICIOUS! But…what to do with the rest of the day???

I think we made some good decisions! Along with eating breakfast, lunch, and dinner, we went for massages which were fabulous and particularly helpful for Leslie, although I will say this was the first night my arm didn’t fall asleep when I slept on my left side.

After lunch was when it got tougher. We hung the laundry out on the line which had been washed this morning then Leslie needed rest, while I was itchy to get moving.

So Leslie took a nap while I wandered the city without getting lost. 😁 The streets are very San Francisco steep and I found myself wishing I’d taken my hiking poles!

As I walked, I took some random photos to show Leslie, so I will show you a few, too:

Below: After lunch, Leslie getting money from the Pastor! 😃

Above: Amazing walls!

Above: Shells of the Camino to keep up Leslie’s posts!

Above: A modern build house across the street with quite a view!

Above: Think we need to rescue this bench before the grass consumes it!

Above: No children were lost under this swing set.

Below are three pictures. Name that tree, please!

Below: Spring has finally come to this tree we’ve been seeing across Spain!

Below: You, too, can have a shell shaped garbage can attached to your house. This one is attached to the church. Good idea? Or not?

One of our big joys of the day was sitting at dinner outside the restaurant and seeing our friend, Regina, walk by, (we hadn’t seen her in weeks but had stayed in touch). Our rest day allowed her to catch up! Lots of hugs all around!

We made our calls ahead to set out in the morning. Leslie is ready to get back on the trail!

Blessings on the journey, PK

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Questions. Sarria. Answers.

I can’t describe to you the emotions I have been feeling about what it might mean for me and us if i can’t finish the Camino.

After a fitful night of sleep (for both of us), even though we had the best room on the camino, we got ready for me to catch the bus to Sarria.

A hurried breakfast and a slow walk to the highway to flag down the bus, then standing on the side of the highway in the foggy mist. I admit that I was crying, full of worry for myself and for Kristina. And then we were flagging down the bus. Kristina told the driver to drop me off at the hospital in Sarria, I paid the fare, and then we left.

It took 35 minutes to drive what was going to take Kristina 7 hours to walk. When I was dropped off, two other pilgrims helped me off the bus and pointed to the hospital, a block away.

I walked right in, stood in line at reception and when it was my turn tried to explain what was wrong. Finally we understood each other and I was off to consultation room 32 where the foot doctor would examine me.

The doctor and I used Google translate to understand each other and after a very thorough exam with some wincing on my part, was diagnosed with tendinitis. A much better diagnosis than I was expecting .

Take 3 days of no walking, elevate and ice the ankle and ibuprofen and you can finish the camino.

Yahoo! !!

Stay tuned for more exciting adventures from Spain.

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Brown’s Descent or the Willy nilly slide

May 3

The title of this post is one of my favorite Robert Frost poems, and although there were still plenty of ups today the downs were, indeed at times, willy nilly slides aka quite steep and loooong!

The cloud we were standing in waiting for Leslie’s bus was THICK! The way you get on such a bus is by hailing it before it passes you. Thank God for my bright yellow and orange! The driver would have mistaken Leslie for a tree!

Waiting for the bus:

I gave the driver directions and gave Leslie a cheat sheet to use at the hospital. Thankfully, Leslie discovered Google translate and the doctor and she took turns using it. Diagnosis: tendonitis! Phew!!!

We were already 1.5 days into the 2-3 day rest period and with the addition of Alleve, will get the swelling and pain down.

Decision: we will both take May 4 off in Sarria. The albergue has graciously allowed us to stay without packing out in the morning and coming back in in the afternoon.

I walked alone for about 1.5 hours this morning then Maria caught up with me and we walked out the day together. We parted ways at 4 o’clock- me to the albergue and she to the hotel where she will meet up with her parents who have flown in to walk the final 119 kilometers into Santiago with her.

Highlights of the day:

It’s fog when a cloud touched the earth. It’s a cloud when you walk up to the sky. Walking in the clouds is one of my favorite things to do.

Jesus said, I am the gate. A gate opens into a pasture where you are safe.

Daffodils challenged by cold and rain, but lovely nonetheless.

Beginning to descend and fog from the valley ascends.

Tiny waterfall.

Love them cows! 😁

I think this pilgrim is smiling, too!

I never tire of walking through villages.

Not much of a talker, this pilgrim. 🙄

A shell water fountain.

The bearded fellow on the couch sets up this food offering for donation for pilgrims. I think he is from the British Isle and has settled here in … let’s call it a “fixer upper”.

His composting toilet was out back in a makeshift outhouse with not much house around it, and he told us to “#1 anywhere out back”. Okay! 😁

We had just dipped into pack supplies of apples and nuts and chocolate when we found this gem. The weather lifted while we were there and we took off the rain gear.

Our pace quickened to get to Sarria – Maria to see her parents and me to gratefully find Leslie safe and sound at the albergue.

We ate dinner with Karen and Barbara from California whose paths criss cross ours every few days, and a new acquaintance, Mary, who wandered into the same place across from our albergue.

Then Leslie and I both slept for about 10 hours. Now the laundry is hanging on the line to dry, Leslie is resting, and I am going out to explore. But that’s all May 4 news and that will have to wait until another post.

Blessings on the journey, PK

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There is a first time for everything!

During the exhilarating climb out of Villafranca del Bierzo, my left ankle began to have pain. No big deal as there are aches and pains everyday when one is walking 20+ kilometers everyday.

When we finally stopped inVega de Valcarce the pain was worse. When I took my socks off, I could tell that the ankle had swollen. I put tiger balm on it and went to sleep.

In the morning we headed out, stopping for breakfast in Las Herrerias. During the 3.5 km walk, the pain got worse. I decided that we should push on. So up the mountain we went. When we reached O Cebeiro, I knew I couldn’t keep walking.

After much discussion, the decision was made that I would take a taxi to the albergue where we would be staying in Fonfria. We called the taxi, I didn’t even have a chance to put my coat on, when suddenly the taxi was there with the driver impatiently waiting. I hobbled up the steps tumbled into the taxi and away we went. I didn’t feel like I had a chance to say good bye to Kristina and wish here Buen Camino, this being the first time we went separate ways. I was a mess.

Down the mountain we sped, into the fog and mist, following too closely the delivery van in front of us on the winding road. All along the way I am watching other pilgrims walking along the path next to the highway, wondering if my walking the Camino would end. Worried about Kristina walking by herself (read without me by her side.)

Suddenly we stop on the side of the highway, the driver opens my door, drops the backpack on the road and waits impatiently to be paid. Then points up a long steep driveway towards the albergue, jumps in the taxi and disappears into the cloud.

I am left standing on the foggy highway cold and wet (remember that I hadn’t had time to put my coat on). I take a few minutes to collect myself and then make the painful journey up the driveway and into the albergue. I ask for a couple of beds in the dorm when I am asked if I would prefer a private room with private bath…Yes! I would. The room is just what I needed. I fitfully rest, worried about Kristina, worried about my ankle wondering what the future holds for our Camino.

And suddenly Kristina is at the albergue, and we are together again. We each settle into our end of walking routine, then another first of telling each other about our afternoon. Then off to pilgrim dinner, community style.

Before sleep, we discuss the next day, it is obvious to both of us that I won’t be able to walk down the mountain.

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Sights & Sounds on May 3

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When “We” became “Me”

May 2

As fun as our unexpected ascent on May 1 was, Leslie had developed some ankle pain that was bearable but had increased over the day.

When we began our ascent to El Cebreiro on May 2, her pain was about a 1. We were optimistic! But by the time we summited, it was a 6 and climbing.

The other 12 kilometers of the day were out of the question for her. I put her in a taxi to our destination for the day – Fonfria – and, for the first time on one of our adventures, walked alone – (well not quite alone; it was good prayer time).

Once I got myself turned around and in the right direction 🙄, I was off at a pace anxious to get to Ponfria myself, and knowing it would take me close to 3 hours.

I took pictures and texted them to Leslie – especially town signs – both to share the afternoon with her and to reassure her that I was, indeed, walking in the right direction!

For 1.5 hours, I didn’t see a soul. It was quiet and very different. But also very special when I could stay present to my surroundings and not get lost in worry.

Below is inside a church in Linares where I went in to pray and to light a candle.

The altar was covered in plastic and the flowers were plastic, but it was a living church clearly used for worship, and I was deeply grateful that it was open – the only one open for a number of days.

My attempt at a selfie! That statue and I are both holding on to our hats! The layers are necessary due to the weather and the temp in the 40s.

Leslie booked a private room and our dinners for an extravagance of 60 euros. Towels! Private shower! Soap! Shampoo! Heat!

It was exactly the right thing to help us regroup and plan next steps, not knowing if her foot was broken.

This next picture is of the communal dinner with other pilgrims at the albergue. It was delicious and the company sweet. But you might be able to tell by the clothing, not much heat!

The decision: Leslie will take a bus to hospital in Sarria in the morning and I will walk the 28 kilometers there.

Blessings on the journey, PK

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Sights and Sounds

May 1 and 2 part II

It is harder to share with you senses other than sight. Hopefully you can listen to these short videis to hear a little bit of what we hear…

Birds…(you can’t see them, but I tried to find them!)

Almost all the cows and goats and sheep wear bells. You hear them before you see them…

Sometimes when you are listening to cow bells, you hear pilgrims talking about what they have seen…

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