(This blog post is later than usual as uploading photos became traumatic! – I also needed a rest but unfortunately became bedridden for a few days in finisterre with a cold and fever but don’t worry im ok now and will try and catch you all up)
I had bid farewell to most people from the Portuguese camino last night and this morning. My feet had had enough (well my left foot had anyway) so I decided to save the walk to finisterre for another time- maybe my beloved could be enticed back now that I had proven my ability to succeed without serious injury!
Instead I opted to wander aimlessly around santiago and see what i could see. As it turned out I actually didnt feel like visiting the normal touristy spots, instead I opted to take a little stroll out on the Frances.
I passed a nice little coffee shop that I thought I’d visit later as it had a lovely name and as I walked passed cafe flor I saw someone familiar from the corner of my eye – and he was scratching his arm. I took a few steps back and sure enough it was a young man who had very kindly walked with me out of Tui in the dark. During that walk we exchanged camino stories and he informed me of a terrible bed bug infestation he had encountered at a private albergue. Fortunately for him he had not reacted badly and was continuing on without concern when I met him in Tui. Not so today however. He looked miserable.
I poked my head into the cafe and said hello and told him (Chincha man) I was on a bit of a pilgrimage of sorts. I had decided to walk to the scene of my demise last year and see if repairs had been made. To the footpath that is – I didnt need any repairs this time as far as I know at least.
Chincha man told me then of the absolute despair he had felt after the chincha bites had progressed since we last met. He felt so bad that he was actually going home rather than continuing to finisterre. He showed me a couple of bites on his arms and then showed me one on his thigh – I was horrified. It was so infected I thought he might get a blood infection. I suggested he probably needs antibiotics. (By the look of him I was confident but I’m no medical professional so I didn’t want to be too pushy.) He said he’d survive until tomorrow and then he’d be home. Hope he made it home! I’d hate to hear of death by chinchas! It’s certainly possible. People get hospitalised when their reaction is bad or if they get a blood infection.
Anyway I continued on my way and wondered all the while if he’d be there when I got back, I had antibiotics and ointment. But I’m not the doctor but I was worried- he really needed to see one!
As I walked I passed pilgrims coming in and asked which way they had come from. It’s surprising how difficult it is walking backwards without yellow arrows. I did note the shells set in stone but it also seemed as if vandals had been travelling along and lifting them up leaving poc marks in the footpath.
On and on I went noticing how many other opportunities there were to trip and fall. I guess the one that got me was at the beginning and after a fairly smooth run so for me it was unexpected. Nothing was unexpected anymore. Except when a stray dog ran in front of me and almost tripped me up.
I finally reached the scene of the crime after passing the santiago de compostela sign and the statue of the Templars that are supposed to protect pilgrims. The missing paver was still missing. As were numerous others. If it hadn’t been one it would have been the other maybe.
I don’t know why I felt so drawn to revisit the site. Facing my fear or something. Maybe it had affected my year more than I had imagined. I had dealt with headaches for a few months – according to professionals this was “expected” for a concussion. Thank heavens they left the building and I could continue to partake in my hiking endeavours!
Then I headed back to the Old City wondering if Chincha man would still be sitting in the Cafe window. He wasn’t. I assume he survived the night and made it home to London safely. I didn’t hear any reports if death by Chinchas this week.
I ended the evening catching up with Speedy Gonzales and her beloved again as they continued to celebrate their arrival and imminent departure to finisterre and Iceland on the morrow. I too was departing to Finisterre on the morrow but by bus again. This camino to the end of the earth would have to wait for my beloved!