Wednesday, December 04, 2013

Camino 2013 - Day 13: Torres Del Rio To Navarrete

Woke up after a good nights sleep to find the blister on my heal deflated.  This was a good thing and it put me in a good mood.  Sadly I didn't do anything to protect the blister before I set out today.

We left right at dawn.  It was a cloudy morning but would clear out later in the day.  Our first stop was Viana.  Along the the way I noticed the Texan's business card on top of a Camino marker.  Apparently it was meant for the Irishman he was racing.

We arrived in Viana in time to see them dismantling the fencing that kept the bulls in order - we'd missed another running of the bulls it appears.  We stopped and I bought some Voltaren (some wonderful anti inflammatory gel) and pilgrim's candy - i.e. Ibuprofen.  I took "vitamin I" every day while I walked but I did take less than I did last time (1,200 mg vs 1,600 mg last time).  I took it mostly before I went to bed and before I started walking in the morning.  I'm sure it helped in speeding my recovery each day.  The amount went down later on when I would forget to take it and I didn't miss it.
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The church in Viana.
We stopped at a cafe and bought some breakfast.  As we were leaving we ran into the Irishman.  He was a retired flight attendant who now lived in California.  We started walking together and swapped stories.  I asked him if he was really racing the Texan.  He looked at me and, with a little despair in his voice, said "I'm not racing him.  I'm trying to get away from him!"  We all got a laugh out of that.

In Viana I was feeling pretty good and, wanting to catch back up to our original itinerary, I suggested to Gv that we walk past Logroño where we were going to stop and walk the extra distance to Navarrete instead.  We'd also heard the Texan say that he was going to stop in Logroño so bypassing that city might be a good idea.  Hearing this the Irishman said that he would also walk on to Navarrete to get away from him.
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Cool graffiti along the Camino.
We reached Logroño and we separated from the Irishman so we could find some food and he could see the city.  We stopped in a bar and I had a sandwich and soda.  I still felt good at this time so we headed out of town figuring the Irishman would be waiting for us somewhere along the Camino.

We passed a grocery store and Gv went in to buy some supplies.  I kept on going looking for an ATM as I was running out of cash.  By the time I found the ATM and gotten out some cash, I realized I didn't know where the grocery store was.  I walked around a little bit but didn't see the store or Gv (She wandered around looking for me as well).

Not wanting to wander around anymore I decided to continue on figuring she knew where I were going.  I wound my way through the outskirts of the city passing by school campuses along the way and then, as the Camino entered a park I hit "the wall".  The energy drained out of me and my foot started to ache.  My heels had been getting really sore at the end of the day and both of my heels were pounding.  I stopped and smeared some voltaren on the heels.  I also saw that my blister had reinflated and was getting bigger.  Crap.

I continued on but I wasn't going anywhere fast.  I was stopping often.  The wall that I'd hit continued to wail on me for the next ten kilometers.  Gcaught up with me and we walked together ... slowly ... along the trail up to Navarrete.  The Irishman caught up with us as well during one of my many rest stops this day.
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The bull, the symbol of Spain.
Gwalked ahead with the Irishman while I dragged my sorry ass along the trail.  Every step was an effort.  I'm sure I was weaving a little as I walked.  I felt terrible ... like I was an extra for the Walking Dead.  We reached Navarrete and headed for the municipal albergue.  We'd thought about going to another albergue for a change since Navarrete was another repeat town but I was in no mood to wander around the town so we went straight for the albergue.

We entered the albergue and who was sitting at the reception table?  The Texan.  I think I heard the Irishman gasp audibly.  All I could manage was an eye roll.  The hospitaleras took the Texan to his bed.  When they got back I sat down at the table.  The two hospitaleras were French.  As I sat there Gv talked with them checking us in.  The hospitaleras, though, had another idea.  They were so happy to meet a francophone that they just wanted to talk, talk, and talk some more.  Gknew I wasn't doing very well and was trying to move the ladies along.  She was worried about me as I was pale and didn't look very healthy.  I crossed my arms on the table and put my head down.  The hospitaleras were talking about family names and genealogies with Gv.  All I was doing was thinking, very loudly in my head: "Shut the F up and give me an F-ing bed!!!"

Gfinally got the ladies to give us bed assignments (She had also convinced them to give the Irishman a bed in a room away from the Texan's bed) and they led us up to the third floor.  I managed to climb the stairs with my pack.  I dropped my pack, hard, and fell over into the bottom bunk (Thank you Gv for letting me take the bottom bunk).  Oh yeah, the Texan was in the next bunk over - yippee.

I could hardly move.  Everything below the waist ached.  The thought of getting up to take a shower was too hard to contemplate.  I was semi-delirious I think.  I couldn't get comfortable as I laid on the bunk.  My thought were all over the map.  Strangely I never thought of quitting the Camino but not doing the Appalachian Trail ... that I thought about.  I figured I was not up to it, that I was having so much more trouble this time than last Camino (not sure if that was really true or I'd just forgotten how tough my first Camino had been).

Gshoved cookies she'd bought in a bakery in my face (The cookies were good - this was a big sacrifice for Gv).  I ate them and drank some water.  It took a while but I started to feel better.  The cookies raised my energy level enough  that I got up and took a lukewarm cold shower (the only cold shower of my Camino - I probably needed it to revive me).

After showering Gv looked at my heal blister.  It was purple which meant there was blood in the fluid.  Gv threaded the blister and bandaged it up.  She would be a wonderful blister nurse on this Camino.  I know I could have treated my blisters myself but it was much easier for someone else to bandage it up.  I owe Gv big time.

After showering and blister treating we talked with the Texan.  I have to admit he sounded like a changed man.  He acknowledge that the Camino was harder than he'd expected.  He liked the people and the food.  He said all this in a relatively calm, friendly voice with no show at all.  He even pronounced place names correctly.  It seems seeing people avoid him may have humbled him a bit and calmed him down.  He mentioned being Republican again and I told him that I prefer to leave all the politics and crap at home.  Surprisingly he said no problem and didn't mention it again.  We wouldn't see the Texan again but we did meet someone who did.  Apparently he had returned to his loud ways later on.  I think it may just be a facade he puts up for strangers.  It might be fine in Texas but it wasn't very appropriate anywhere else.

Sometime that afternoon I was getting something out of my pack and saw that, when I dropped my bag on the floor earlier, the shell J-M had given me had smacked against the metal bed frame and had broken in half.  What was it with me and shells this Camino?!? The third shell casualty on the Camino.  J-M was there (the last time we would see him) but I couldn't tell him about his shell - I felt so bad.

That night Gv cooked.  As I waited for the pasta to be done a French mother-daughter couple, having seen me struggle before (I think), offered me the leftovers from their omelette.  It was very tasty as was the pasta Gv made.  I was feeling much better.  I felt even better when Gv pulled out a tube of Principe cookies out of her shopping bag.  This was my first tube of Principes this trip (not including the four cookies I ate at the Madrid airport).  They tasted just like my first Camino.

I went to bed and crashed hard that night.  Today was too long for me but tomorrow would be shorter and I would feel much better.  The Principe cookies would guarantee that.

Pictures can be found in my Camino de Santiago 2013 Flickr set.

Total Distance on Day 13: 32 km ( 19.88 Miles)
Total Distance Walked: 294 km (182.68 Miles)

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Approximate Track of the day's hike.
[Click on map for a larger version]

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