Things are breaking down today, or have been over the last few days but accumulating:
- First the blog is 5 or 6 days behind. I will blog out of order. Live with it.
- I hub a cold.
- It is raining!
- My umbrella has two ribs broken. If I adjust those ribs just so, I can prop them open as long as the wind doesn’t blow too hard.
- My headphones don’t work on my cell phone so I can’t hear books or podcasts. They work on the IPad but that is safely packed in the backpack (safe unless my water bladder breaks). It could be a symptom of….
- My cell phone is ‘spidered’ as Yanna, the German told me when I dropped it on the cement and a spider web formed in the glass. Shards have not fallen out yet. But I think today’s dampness is getting in. The screen is being either possessed by a demon or the water is making it dance.
- I spent 10k in the rain going uphill like a salmon in the current. Water, a torrent, is pouring downhill against me. My shoes are soaked, my socks are soaked and even worse, my feet are soaked. This has given me a dreaded hotspot, a precursor to a blister and needs to be dealt with ASAP!
I stop at one of the few cafes order a café con leche and a sticky bun with chocolate and almond filling and settle into a corner where I take my soaking wet socks off. Wet feet is bad news! The cause of my blisters last year. I have been carrying six pairs of socks (@23grams ea), a spare set of insoles (42grams), a giant bar of body glide (I don’t care how much it weighs. It is worth it). And a foot care kit (bandaids, blister pads, tape, etc.). I am two days from Santiago de Compestella and am glad I have these things with me. I use napkins to soak up excess moisture from inside the shoes, take the wet insoles out, and wipe my feet dry with another napkin. Remembering the advice from Paul, the dermatologist from Minneapolis from last year, I tape up the hotspot. That was his answer. Tape a hotspot. If it develops into a blister add more tape. If it bursts, more tape. And don’t take the tape off. I then put body glide all over my feet and on top of the tape, then put a clean dry sock liner on, then smartwool socks. I put dry insoles in and slide my feet in, then remembering a shoe lace trick that helps cinch the heel tight. The trick to avoid blisters is to not let your wet feet rub against anything. You want your feet to slip. Slip inside the sock, hence Bodyglide. Slide inside the shoe, hence sock liners.
Back out into a light drizzle for the next 15k. If it doesn’t pour, my feet might just be okay. I round a corner and see a couple. He has a slight hmmm, swank, to his walk. She is limping. He turns ‘ Liz!’. It is Patrick from LA. She turns and it is Olympia. We keep running into each other.
After 5k the drizzle has stopped and but my feet want a rest. I see a place up ahead that pilgrims are headed into. I walk into a sour smell. It takes me a moment but the bowls of red liquid on the table finally make me realize that wine was being made here and drunk here. No Café con leche. I head back out and right across the road is a place to sit and sip café.
Back on the trail I am shocked to see a woman WEARING WHITE. White trousers, while jacket, even a white pack. She poses for a photo under some grape vines and pulls out a delicate white lace handkerchief and strikes a flamingo pose with the white lace dangling from her fingers. Olé.
In Caldas de Rais I buy a new umbrella and look for an albergue. There are three listed in my guidebook. Two have mixed reviews so I opt for the third. Somehow I get mixed up and register and pay £6 at the wrong one. As soon as I enter the room with 50 dirty bunk beds I knew I had made a terrible mistake. I turned around got my money back and found the right one. It’s a hotel and albergue. My room (£12) has two bunk beds but so far I am the only guest. It comes with sheets! Top and bottom! A window and a plug with two USB connectors for each bed. A clean bathroom. A hairdryer which I just blew a fuse after using it to dry my shoes. Heaven.
Distance travelled: 27 k, 10k in the rain and uphill.
Weather: rain, then showers, then drizzle, then dry, then more drizzle.
Lessons learned: take extra plastic bags to put in your shoes.
Food: café con leche x 4 or was it 5? Throat lozenges, a chocolate drizzled almond sticky thing, croissant, nuts and seeds, chocolate and a salad.
Health: hotspot on my head, sore throat disappearing, chest cold coming.