Leaving Los Arcos I realised that I need to do something more for the blister that had started on the big toe of my left foot (the one that wasnt operated on).
Funnily enough, this blister had only occurred since I put new inserts in my boots. I had then put a bandaid and padding on it and another blister started forming on the next toe because the bandaid was rubbing on it. Then, low and behold, another blister a couple of toes up. I had heard of people growing blisters instead of toes on the Camino and my only hope was that I was not to be one of them.
Thankfully today wasnt meant to be too hard although there were going to be couple of hills but nothing like the Pyrenees. Anyway we started out quite early for us at 7.30am. Thank heavens for that because it started getting hot quite early. We stopped at Sansol and found a very nice pharmacist. Another couple of girls who spoke Spanish quite well came in whilst I was in the “farmaci”. One was Canadian and the other Brazilian living in London. Anyway I settled on some bandaids and a toe separator and was debating whether to buy this 20 euro padding thing when the Brazilian girl suggested sometimes the expense is worth it if it is the difference between finishing the Camino or going home early. I paid the 20 euro and can say now it was well worth it.
We headed to the cafe at the albergue next door so I could commence another surgery on my foot and saw the magnificent foot soak pool which I now couldnt use because one blister had been burst in order to permit me to walk. Whilst trying to order some breakfast the Mexican guy who had been passing us on and off appeared again at the side of the bar and offered to translate. For a day or two now he seemed to be the man who was anywhere anytime. I first met him when I was walking up a hill (slowly) and he kept pace with me and shared some wise words about resting every one hour one hour twenty in order to ensure dry feet and this enabled him to walk 30km plus per day. He encouraged me to speak spanish and practice all the lessons I had learned from my wonderful Spanish teacher Katya in Brisbane (who also happened to be from Mexico).
Anyway on the way to Los Arcos he was in the cafe, then he was under a tree somewhere up a hill, then we stopped at a bar in the middle of nowhere for about 15 minutes (following his advice) and as we were about to leave I noticed he had miraculously appeared in the corner of the annex shoes off, socks on drying, relaxed as if he had been there all day.
He passed us again a while after we left the bar when we caught up with Gareth the Kiwi who had missed the wine tap. Gareth was sitting under a tree with a bunch of Camino Friends comparing blisters and other injuries. Husband decided it was a good time to pull out the harmonica and the melody carried across the valley calling other pilgrims to sit for a while. The Mexican walked past slowly but surely.
I thought that would be the last time we would see of him. But then at the top of the worst hill imaginable in unbelievable heat, he sat under a tree with his shoes off and socks drying – he was almost in Yoga pose and I thought he was like Yoda awaiting the Jedi. The lady at the bar had told him that last hill was known as the donkey killer and now the worst was over! Thank heavens we werent donkeys! Dont know what happened to the Frenchman with the nice ass either – I couldnt see any dead donkeys down the hill.
Again on the way into Viana he passed me going down hill and suggested I try loosening the straps of my pack for the downhill and tightening them back up when I reach the bottom.
I think the Mexican continued on for many hours as his wisdom and care for his feet meant he had more stamina than us.
Finally we arrived in Viana and there was Janice again looking fresh and relaxed outside a bar smiling as we crawled up the street. We took her advice and headed on to find our beds and were torn between the hotel on the right and the albergue on the left. It was a tight competition and a difficult decision but we chose the hotel. (obviously!).
Janice was heading for a massage so I organised a foot massage and chatted with Christina the Canadian who had stayed in the C town a couple of nights before. I was telling her about my Mexican Yoda when she suggested that he may not be real! “There are Camino angels you know, he probably isnt real and just shows up when you need a hand.” Love the sense of humour that goes with a couple of vinos! We had a nice meal with Christina in the bar, visited the magnificent cathedral and had a good nights sleep as well.
Well Pepe if you are out there Buen Camino!
Getting near the bar
No sign of Pepe when we arrive
Viana way off in the distance
Viana still way off in the distance
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