Day 3 – Sin Dolor no hay Gloria (no pain, no glory)

Since walking the Camino, sightseeing and shopping in London and Paris and coming home again I have been diagnosed with a stress crack in one of the bones in my foot – I actually did this a couple of weeks before leaving to go to Europe so I guess it’s no coincidence that my Camino was filled with both pain and glory.
On another note, I haven’t mentioned names as I have not asked permission to do so and will refer (by Camino tradition) to the people I meet by the country they come from – or region if that gets too difficult!

Day 3 – Hospital alta de Cruz – Palas de Rei (not actually sure how far this one was)

I hat my guide book, it’s completely useless; the distances are all wrong, the map is crap and it doesn’t tell you where things are in the villages you go through.  At least it tells you what’s coming next and gives a rough altitude map even if it neglects to mention that the trail actually goes up and down with a general uphill trend (or up and down with a downhill trend depending on where you are) not actually all uphill…
They say it is very hard to tell exactly how far the Camino actually is because of all the alternative routes and sightseeing points that are included in some books but not others – my thinking is that the convenient stone wayside markers are a pretty good indication and if they can say how far it is it surely can’t be that hard to put it in a book – just putting it out there…

After a rather poor sleep due to an excess of red wine and the rather cold temperature I got my stuff together and vacated the Albergue at 8 as per their regulations.  3pm lady had left at 5am again successfully waking everyone up, I still don’t quite understand that one!  Denmark and I then headed over to the restaurant/bar from last night to have breakfast – encountering Zie German’s again with the usual cheerful morning singing and cries of ‘Guten Tag!’

After bidding goodbye to Zie Germans and restaurant staff from the previous night we headed off at around 8:30 – Denmark was quite glad at having a rest in and the prospect of  an easy day’s walk with her new slow-moving Australian friend.  Most of the mornings trek was downhill which can be as much of a curse as a blessing.  My lower back muscles had started hurting from carrying the pack so I changed the straps to put more of the load on my shoulders which had been doing fine.  My foot and ankle (sprained 4 weeks before-hand) were killing me as was the blister under my toes I acquired in Paris which had now tripled in size despite my best efforts.  Time to source some sock liners I think!

We chatted about the differences and similarities between the countryside we were walking through, the Australian countryside and the Danish countryside, what ‘the bush’ was and the definition of ‘bushwalking’.  Then we discussed the differences between the Danish and Australian education system, people we had met along the way, our reasons for walking, our reasons for choosing to be there alone and how she had fallen head over heels for America when they met 2 days ago.  I guess the Camino might just be the way of Venus after all!

She got sick of my slow pace and we parted ways at the 75km marker when I stopped for some blister treatment.  I think I had been slowing down, every step was agony and even talking wasn’t providing too much distraction.  I decided to aim for Palas de Rei, put my head down and kept going.  The music helped me stick out a pace but it was tough going.  By the time I hit 68km I was hobbling like an old lady and being passed by most people.

I passed Zie German’s having lunch at a cafe in the middle of nowhere, they waved cheerfully and I waved back but knew that if I stopped for Lunch I would have an incredible amount of difficulty starting up again so I hobbled on using my walking sticks like my life depended on them.  I had to reach Palas de Rei as it would be my best chance of finding proper medical supplies and food I could eat in my room early before I crashed completely as it had a pharmacy or two, a supermarket and hopefully internet access somewhere!

By the time I got to the Albergue on the outskirts of Palas de Rei I was walking at maybe 1km/hr and my feet felt like they were on fire and I had decided I needed to find a hotel or something where I could sleep well in my own room and hopefully have a bath.  Oh boy did I want a bath, I wanted a bath more than I wanted food, water and a bed put together – I could almost have killed for a bath, well maybe not quite that but I really did want one!  Unfortunately there were no rooms left at the hotel with baths so I settled for my own room with a shower where I sat on the floor and let the warm water run across my abused feet for about half an hour – in Australia you get in a lot of trouble for something like that but I don’t think Spain have ever heard of water restrictions 😉

I was over-tired and possibly in a little bit of shock from all the pain and I couldn’t get warm.  I had acquired 4 new blisters and the original one was threatening to take over my foot.  By the time I get back to Paris I may not be able to walk, do any sightseeing or (more importantly) any shopping!  The problem is that anything I put on them gets pushed up my foot while I walk and ends up scrunched around the base of my toes so the compeede actually gave me a blister instead of helping it heal – go figure!  I think the problem may be that the insoles I bought in Leon were too thick so there isn’t enough room in my boots for my toes to be comfortable – well it was that or walk on the hard inside of my shoes with no insoles at all which would cause other problems so a loose-loose situation really.

I haven’t seen Zie German’s again, I guess they kept going for real this time.
An early night for me now – oh, I forgot to take any photos today, ah well, there are plenty of other days

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