October 23, 36km
My shin is sore today and not improving. I’m on a low dose of Ibuprofin and don’t know if it’s muscular or tendon. Left shin, outer side, low down. Slightly but not much swollen, sore to touch and sore on the inside. Sidonia saw me taking a pill this morning and warned me against the danger of pain relief when it means ignoring a signal of the body and keeping on doing the thing that is hurting. Yep, I got it. So today I am going despacio (slowly). I have a saying for me, a refrain for the day: Andando despacio, tienes más espacio. Walking slowly, you have more space.
There are big fields, a big sky. I’m a bit flat, but happy to be tottling along behind my friends. I’ve been wanting some more solitude and thought would come from me flying ahead. Actually it is coming from me bringing up the rear. I like this. It’s nice to be at the back! And I’m being looked after by my friends in a lovely way. Now L and I are walking with Sidonia from Austria, Michael the red pheasant from Dublin, Renato again from Italy and Nicole will join us in the albergue. Good motley crew.
Today was long. L and I arrived at about 4:30 after thinking we were at the pueblo, but really it was still three km away. At this stage I was …well, limping. The thought of a good half an hour, forty minutes still to go was not inspiring, but there it was. It’s not like waiting for a bus. It won’t come just by waiting. You have to bloody walk it. So I sang the whole way and it turned out to be excellent medicine. My leg actually felt better and the time passed unnoticeably! Philippe would be happy for us.
Here in Riego is a nice albergue because Dorita the hospitalera up the road is a sweetie who kissed us and said, ah, the miracle of youth. And it is in an old house with beautiful tiled floors. My shower at the end of the queue was tepid, but it didn’t matter. Renato has now put me on Voltarin tablets and cream. He is qualified because he is a pilgrim and it helped his sore ankle. I am going with what I can get.
In the bar for dinner, Mrs hair curlers behind the counter though she recognised me and kissed me like a long-lost niece. I said I hadn’t been here before. Then she became short with us though I was still expecting the warm welcome. It was very funny. In the dining room was the harvest of red peppers on a side table and we got apples from her tree for dessert and extras for tomorrow. The bar is wonderful pilgrim kitsch with bits and bobs collected over many years. Indeed hair curlers told me she’d taken over her grandparents business which was started in 1953. Others pooh-poohed it a bit but I liked the vibe.
After dinner Nicole and I went for a long rambling, spiral walk around the small pueblo. Excellent Camino conversation. And we still managed to get lost and lost again as we tried to find the albergue, before Dorita’s old hubby and a couple of his ‘soltero’ friends found us and set us straight, with plenty of guapa this and guapita that.
Onwards for another longish day tomorrow. I will keep going gently.