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Camino, two weeks in

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Rest day in Burgos, because it is also my birthday and some sort of festival here, which has involved teams of marching bands roaming through the town and people parading in giant costumes and huge explosions of confetti in the main square. My friends have dubbed it Jesstival and it is therefore the best.

As of yesterday’s arrival in Burgos, I had walked 286km, with 492.5km to go, and I am officially 36.74% of the way through. (Yes, I have a spreadsheet, because I am a colossal nerd.) I hadn’t planned to take a rest day here but checked into a reasonably decent hotel  as a pre-birthday treat and promptly washed all my clothes in the bathtub before realising that they weren’t going to be dry in time for a 6am departure. And then I went for a little wander around Burgos and it turned out to be absolutely lovely; I had been inwardly bracing myself for an unpleasant re-entry into urban life after a week or so of village to village walking post Logroño, but it’s been much more pleasant than I had expected. Had to do a bit of work to repress my internal sergeant major, which was bellowing at me the REST IS FOR THE WEAK, YOU MUST MARCH 31K INTO THE MESETA AT DAWN, but I managed to wrestle it into submission and thus here I am. And I will march 31k into the Meseta at dawn tomorrow, instead.

I am – obviously – not quite halfway through; I’m estimating another three weeks to go, and will obviously need to pick up the pace somewhat, but I’m feeling stronger by the day and more able to go longer and longer distances. I’ve also had a couple of mishaps in the past couple of weeks that have required me to do shorter days – one possibly-infected blister in Logroño that caused my foot to swell up so much I could barely put my shoe on; and one twisted ankle (and skinned knee) after literally falling out of a bar in Grañon. As long as I avoid such mishaps in future, I should still be on track to arrive in Santiago somewhere around the 13th or 14th of July.

Camino thoughts, two weeks in:

  • Here is a piece of advice I have not seen anywhere else: be careful in choosing what shoes you bring to change into once you’re done walking for the day. I chose to bring a trusty (OR SO I THOUGHT) pair of Ipanema flipflops which I’ve had for years, and which promptly gave me blisters between my toes, which were then exacerbated by the walking and caused me to be hobbled in Logroño. I’d never had any trouble with them before but assume that the skin on my feet is more sensitive after I’ve walked 25km than it would normally be.
  • I may have said this before, but oh my god silicone earplugs are an absolute GODSEND and I couldn’t do without them. They block out street noise as effectively as they block snoring, and helped me to sleep until the grand old hour of 9am this morning.
  • Choosing the right listening material is an art. I find myself a little too emotionally raw while walking for all but the most austere music, and as such have been listening to a lot of Tallis and Palestrina and their ilk. I’ve also finally – FINALLY  – been getting into podcasts – mostly The Moth, and various Guardian podcasts, including the books podcast, which caused me to squat down under a tree in the middle of an industrial area yesterday afternoon and immediately purchase about £30-worth of ebooks. So there is danger here, too.
  • I am finding the social aspect of the Camino, frankly, a little hard to handle. This walk is an essentially solitary experience for me, as for many others; for some, however, it seems to be very social, and I have seen a number of tight groups springing up along the way as people band together to walk. I would, honestly, be quite happy with my own decision to walk alone, socialise in albergues, form fleeting connections with people I spend a couple of hours with and never see again, and so on, if I didn’t have the creeping sensation that I am Doing It Wrong and should be fully bonded into a Camino Family by now. ‘Twas ever thus.

Written by Jess

June 24, 2017 at 1:23 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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