Monday, September 12, 2011

Camino De Santiago - Boadillo Del Camino To Frómista

The small size of the Boudillo del Camino municipal albergue had its advantages.  For one there were very few snorers so I actually got a good nights sleep here.  I did have a weird dream though.  In the dream I'd reached Santiago de Compostela and I was celebrating and then ... I woke up and saw that I was still in the albergue and was overwhelmed with a sense of disappointment and a sense of just how long I had to go to get to my goal.  I was one of the last to leave the albergue that morning.

I left the albergue and the town limping.  My blister was being a major pain this morning and my mood was dark.  My mood was a victim of the pain and the realization that my catch-up plan was history.  The Camino follows a canal most of the way from Boadillo del Camino and Frómista - really pretty.  A pilgrim asked me to take his picture and I blew him off.  I then proceeded to kick myself the rest of the way to Frómista.  Yeah, my mood sucked but that was no excuse for being rude and taking it out on a fellow pilgrim.

I reached Frómista early.  I'd been exchanging emails with GV.  She was giving me advice as to where to stay.  When other pilgrims asked me which Camino guide I was using I would say I didn't have one because GV was my guide.  I skipped the municipal albergue because GV had heard that they had a bedbug infestation - something that was heard a lot along the Camino.  I stayed at a private albergue instead.

I was in Frómista so early that I had almost five hours to kill before the albergue would be open.  I walked around looking for places to get out of the wind.  It was cold and windy but there was sun.  The thing is there were very few benches that were out of the wind.  I stopped at the pharmacy and stocked up on blister care stuff - gauze and tape mostly.  I talked with some University of Michigan students who were resting there and stocking up on first aid stuff.

At 9:00 AM I went back to the albergue (still four hours til it was open) and noticed some pilgrims I'd seen earlier coming out of a building across the street.  It was a public health center.  I crossed the street and noticed that the clinic had a pilgrim's hour from 9:00 AM to 10:00 AM.  I knew I should go in but I was worried it would be the end of my Camino.  Fighting the urge to walk away, I went in.

The doctor looked at my foot.  She looked at the blister.  She looked at the potentially infected big toe.  She shrugged like she was thinking "Meh, crazy pilgrim, I've seen worse."  I think she knew that, whatever she said, I would continue walking.  She cleaned the blister and noted that the blister was already popped and there was some blood mixed with the fluid.  She cleaned the big toe as well.  She told me to keep it uncovered while I was not walking so it could air out and she gave me some gauze pads and tape to wrap it in when I was walking.  She gave me a prescription for an oral antibiotic to fight off any potential infections.  The doctor's assistant asked about insurance and I just shrugged and told her I was an American.  The doctor told her to forget about it and sent me on my way.  I went back to the pharmacy and bought my antibiotics - $4.80.  I can't even take a breath in a U.S. doctor's office for that little.

When I left the health center I had an extra spring in my step.  My foot wasn't that bad and it definitely wasn't a Camino killer.  I went to a bar and ate some lunch and checked email.  I visited a church (the only one of four that was open) and killed time with a couple of Canadians originally from Mauritius.  I found that if I heard someone speaking English, it was safer to guess they were Canadian than American.  I ran into a lot of Canadians along the Camino.

The albergue opened and we checked in.  The place was nice.  It was run by a family (Mother, Father, young son, and possibly a daughter).  I did my chores and pretty much chilled the rest of my day to give my blister some time to heal.  I bought supplies at a grocery store less than a block from the albergue.

That evening I ate a real pilgrim's meal at the albergue.  I sat at a table with the Canadian couple (AL and JT) and another Canadian couple (PR and LS).  PR and LS lived in Kentucky.  We had some good conversation but sitting at a table with two couples just made me feel like a third (fifth?) wheel and I missed the Wife.  AL reminded me of the Asian father in the father-daughter Amazing Race: Unfinished Business team.  He came off a little know-it-all-ish to me but he was nice never the less.

Having people to talk to felt good.  It helped to have a great ice-breaking story (I lost count how many times I repeated that story along the Camino).  We had good conversation over an OK dinner.

That night in my bunk I froze.  There were no blankets at the albergue and the sleeping bag liner I was using just didn't hack it.  I wrapped my jacket around my legs which wasn't enough so I put on my pants.  It was a less than restful night for me.

Day eighteen was a lot of killing time ending with a positive diagnosis and a cold restless sleep.  Not my best day along the Camino but I did meet new people so I was not alone.


Total Distance: 4.29 Miles (6.90 km)
Total Time: 1 hours 41 minutes
Total Elevation Up: 605 ft (184.40 m)
Total Elevation Down: 627 ft (191.11 m)

[Click on map for a larger version]

2 comments:

  1. I was looking for a proverb adapted to your case and this is probably the best I can come up with : "Slow and steady wins the race" or "Qui veut voyager loin ménage sa monture". In trying to catch up with your friends you almost jeopardized the whole trip. And it sounds really "nuts" in a way.

    You were feeling lonely or afraid not to find such great friends afterwards?

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  2. Gany: In a way the longer you were on the Camino the harder it was to make friends. By the time I got separated from the gang, everyone I met had been with their version of the gang for a long time and it was hard to break in. Also I seemed to run into a lot of couple on the Meseta and I always felt I was a third wheel - I felt I was intruding.

    In a way I was a little nuts to try to catch up.

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