Today was another cold day. Maybe we were just straight out lucky because the places that were meant to be the hottest and therefore hardest were actually a couple of the coldest days. The wind blowing across that Meseta is both spine chilling and refreshing when you are walking 20 k’s or so.
We bid farewell to the Albergue manager at around 8am and we were the only ones left – everyone had headed off at the crack of dawn as if they had some urgent place to be that day. Marten was still in the pool area as Antony must have ducked out for a bite to eat, so we headed out the back way and said good bye to Marten as we went.
Down at the restaurant (where we had dinner last night) Jacob from Bilbao sat sipping beer (as only the Spanish can do for breakfast) while Antony had a coffee. I was limping quite severely as the panadeine forte I had ingested last night must have worn off. Not sure if I mentioned it but after arriving yesterday I started to feel significant heel pain as if the fat pad was breaking down. I strapped the heel the way I had been told when the other heel had a break down of fat pad after surgery some years ago. We sent our packs on again as there was little chance of getting very far with this pain and the weight of the bags.
The wind blew us along toward Sahugun but it was a slow hike. We averaged about 2.9km an hour and kept passing the nice German ladies who we had first overtaken days ago as we bar hopped in each town we passed. It was 1km out of Calzadilla de la Cueza that we apparently passed the 1/2 way mark to Santiago. Well that’s a thrill to know – I’ll have to consult the books and see if there’s a consensus on how far we have actually travelled.
I think i is fair to say that on this day, although I was not in excruciating pain, I was somewhat debilitated and limped the whole way – hoping at each town to find a farmaci that stocked good old fashioned strapping tape to hold my heel together properly. Alas this dream was never to be fulfilled! I limped on.
Due to the fact that I was limping, to protect my heel, my calf muscle on that leg now started to hurt. Fortunately we stopped at a place that had an electric lower leg massager. I had tried these before and found them a little painful. But today, it was magnificent. You can just put them on vibrate and that shake the billyo out of your feet which is a welcome reprieve when you have been in this sort of pain. Why dont they have them everywhere you may ask – frankly so might I ask!
I have not mentioned much about the toileting habits of pilgrims for good reason … some things are better left unsaid!! There are however times when more than a gogirl or a small bush are necessary. Today I noticed a sign that indicated pilgrims had found a particular hobbit mound rather attractive – and clearly the locals did not agree.
We eventually reached the outskirts of Sahagun to be met with a Camino arrow that pointed away from the said town. Well I dont want you all to think less of me (again) but I lost my vocabulary. Yes I know there are plenty of words I could have used, but when you can see a big hotel sign that you thought might be yours, and the track leads off to some long forgotten hermitage, and you have limped for damn near 20 k’s – you might lose your vocabulary too! Crying “Oh my word that’s a bit of a nuisance isnt it!” doesn’t quite cut it. Anyway we followed the arrows and eventually headed back to that big hotel sign.
I had called ahead and booked a hotel room for 50 euro because they had air conditioning and a swimming pool and it wasn’t much more than a double in an albergue.
We finally arrived and saw the sign advertising “piscina” (swimming pool) and also gym and sauna also would you believe. But, guess what? No piscina ’til July (even though the sign says June). Actually there was not even wifi – let alone gym and sauna. Pain forbid us telling them to shove it and walking on (like the two bike riders did in front of us). So, after showering and resting briefly, we headed in to town to eat dinner (so we didnt contribute more to the lies at the hotel) and we wanted to find a farmacia and restock the ibuprofen, the voltaren rub and the compeeds and a couple of other things – still with the dream of seeing strapping tape. We eventually managed a restock after three different farmacias (which was unusual) but I could not for the life of me find any decent strapping tape. I was still using the ktape equivalent that doesnt quite cut it for heel strapping but, whilst walking into town, after having had a bath, a panadeine forte, and rubbed some voltaren in my heel the pain magically disappeared! At least for the evening.
We found an Irish Bar (we seem quite adept at tracking these down no matter which country we are in – perhaps this is akin to donkey hunting). We had a beer and then we plodded around this ghost town looking for somewhere decent to eat (there were only 3 choices). We ended up settling on a pizza and pasta joint which wasnt overly thrilling but the food filled the gap.
During our little jaunt around town we noticed everyone advertising wifi but not having internet, and, everyone advertising that they accept credit cards but only one farmaci accepting them. All in all I felt like this city might be run by the Spanish equivalent of the Stepford wives. Apart from a few nice young people it was like we were being served by robots! We headed back to the hotel which, thankfully, provided a very comfortable bed and a great nights sleep – there was not much to endear us to Sahagun so we were both happy to send our packs on again and get out of there next day – pain or no pain!
Who knows maybe down the track a little farmacia somewhere somehow stocks strapping tape in their back cupboard.
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