Now our pilgrim/peregrinos family consists of Mats, Thomas, Rob, Linda and I.
As we left Hontanos, we caught up to and passed Mat. I keep thinking we will never see him again but the energizer bunny just keeps going and going and going. He only stops to eat dinner and sleep. He told me that was his secret, not stopping, but to keep on going. ‘If I stop, I won’t want to get up, and I will never get anywhere.’ He survived on bananas and cans of coke. ‘I drink more coke here than at home.’
The day started out fine until ‘THE HILL’. In the guidebook, they downplayed THE HILL: ‘a steep but short hill’. HA! It was a 12% grade for just over a kilometre. Up and up and up. Every time you thought you could see the top, you turned a corner and there was another top and another corner.
Finally, I reached the top to see Thomas (not even breathing hard) and Rob sitting on a stone wall enjoying the respite and view. I couldn’t see Linda on the trail below. Thomas asked me ‘Do you think if I go down and meet her, she will let me carry her pack?’ I nodded. I certainly would. Maybe if I cried at the bottom of every hill, he would carry my pack. But, it was for nought. Linda had been just around the corner and arrived at the top minutes later carrying her own pack. We sat at the top and cheered on a couple of bicyclists. And then we hit the downhill. It was shorter but steeper.
With 2 km to go, my feet were getting hot. However, I would rather walk with hot feet and get to our destination than stop and change socks. Not only were my feet hot, I was hot. Hot and sweaty. I was in the rear after a mild blood sugar low. I spotted Linda and Thomas chatting with an older Danish man sitting on the side of the road under some shade. His shirt was open, and his skin looked pale and sweaty. He looked like he had very low blood sugar. Linda was peeling an orange, and I got out a glucose tablet for him which he was very grateful for. I sat down to change my socks and an excuse to sit with him to see if he recovered. He seemed to and encouraged us to continue on our way. His luggage was at a hotel 8 km away, but he said he could do without it and would find a hotel in the town up ahead. We walked slowly turning every now and then to see if he followed. He did, albeit slowly.
We found the albergue, and there was Stacey and the Swiss Viking. They had arrived there an hour before. It was a long, hot day for all!
While registering in the wide hallway, someone exclaimed in Spanish, and I turned to see what the commotion was. A man was standing in a puddle of water that led to my pack. My pack had peed again.
At dinner, Linda read us the latest message from Steffen. The hospital wanted to keep him a few more days and would discuss an exit strategy with him tomorrow. The Danish man arrived just as we ordered, refreshed after his journey. He was staying in the hotel next door and the hotel had sent him over to the albergue for a pilgrim’s dinner so he joined us. It was interesting that the Mats from Sweden, Thomas from Norway and the Dane could converse in a mixture of their languages. On the trail Mats would often say something to me in Swedish, not even aware that he had spoken Swedish. I would jabber back ‘Ja, uni on uber gibber.’
Time on trail: 10hrs
Distance travelled: 30k
Distance to go: 444k
Food: café con leche, croissant, I forget lunch, but I remember a fantastic beef stew.
Lesson learned: Wear breathable clothes. The zip off shorts were not very breathable.
Aches and pains: Inner thighs are chaffed and sore.