Stage in Profile – day 7
Torres del Rio – Logroño = 20,5km
As all the previous days, today started early and we walked from Torres del Rio as the sun came up and towards hilly landscape. It was always pretty and beautiful scenery, only when encountering too much highway etc. the beauty dissolved a bit, but fortunately it was not often.
Gemma, Patricia, Ana, Steffen and me walked together early, but not for long, because we quickly saw that Steffen had a different speed and was ahead of us in a jiff!
Besides the few blisters I had acquired the day before I was doing well, but after we entered and left Viana, which was the first main village of the day, I had to sit down and take care of my feet.
Ana kindly helped me with some of her blister band-aids and walked on a little after. So had all the others, and I was now behind what was now referred to as “the family”.
I got back on my feet, but in my mix of emotions and pain, I managed to miss a marker and walked the wrong way for a short while. Fortunately I saw Ana´s yellow jacket way over on the right across a field, so about ran all the way back the road I had walked down and got on the right path again in my new painful and awkward walking style.
And… wouldn’t you believe it, a little later guess who I saw on a bench sitting having a little break – Claus! My friend from the bus was relaxing and was great to see him. We talked for a bit before we said “buen camino” and off I went. So much fun to see people again. This was my last time seeing Claus on The Camino though.
It was a painful to walk, but got used to it gradually and eventually I caught up with Ana. My shinsplints had also come back so a mix of blisters and shinsplints was the story of my day.
Ana and me walked into Logrono together.
Here we met a guy from Germany who asked us for help as he had a broken credit card. He was looking sad and confused when he showed us his wallet with his problem. I had my left hand on my last 20Euro note in my pocket and seeing Ana giving him some change that she had left, I squeezed it tightly until my good heart gave it to him and wished him well.
(later on the journey we found out through other pilgrims, that he was a trickster! Hopefully karma catches up to him some day)
We saw Steffen a little up the street and found the albergue municipal. It has yet to open because it was just around noon. Eventually the familiar faces gathered outside and Ian already had a menu on his mind for that evening. Most of us helped to prepare the meal and once again 15-20 people gathered around a table full of food, wine and the good vibes we all gave to the gathering made it for another great evening! It was a constant pleasure to be alive and around these fantastic people – life was indeeeeeeeed GOOD!
What wasn´t good was my left shin. It had swollen a bit today and still had blisters, but not a problem in comparison. Ian, was not only a good cook, but had both military and Camino experience and had great products to help with these types of problems. He was my savior and he was kind enough to give me his Deep Freeze and information about Tea Tree Oil, which I bought.
The Deep Freeze was for rubbing on soar muscles etc. and used it for my left shin. The Tea Tree Oil was for all open cuts or wounds – like blisters. I used it this evening to prepare myself for the next day.
Besides the above it was such a nice evening. The majority of the pilgrims in the albergue sat outside in the little court yard and talked, laughed or wrote in their notebooks, either with a glass of wine, beer or a smoke. Just special and cozy, you got to know so many new people every day.
From here it all winded down slowly, before another nap and hike was due.
Stage in Profile – day 8
Logrono – Ventosa = 20km
The first departure from our little camino family happened today. Patricia was going back to Barcelona and her friend Gemma from home and I walked out of Logrono together about the same time as the rest of the group.
Gemma and me started what would be an ongoing conversation and build on the knowledge of each other we had gotten from the last couple of days. But today´s headline was pain and lots of it. My left shin was not well and the Deep Freeze had only helped in the beginning of the day. It felt like the type of pain that was developing into an injury. It was like the shin was wood and felt so stiff that rock would be more flexible than my muscles at that point.
Ian had talked about a pilgrim albrgue in Ventosa, where a lady from Schwitzerland had a nice place and also woke you up with calm nun-music 🙂 – sounded interesting and enticing.
Naturally it was what “the family” pursuit and it also meant that the day would be shorter, which was a score for me. Scenery, conversation and companionship was all nice, but the big BUT, was that because of my pain I began to hump and walk rather awkwardly all the way to the albergue.
We arrived, and but my let shin had swollen so much, that my skin almost was coming out and folded out over my socks! Not a nice sight, especially not when it was only day 8. I did have the worried throught; “if this continues, will I be able to continue or finish this?”
We checked-in and I put my legs up to relief the pain a bit. I also put a lot of Deep Freeze on and took care of the blisters. After some rest it was time for some beer and pilgrim gathering in the yard out back. A nice little place and Ian had already started cooking and as that could sit by itself, we all had another beautiful time, with music, laughs and for some, writing.
Ricardo had been working in a fitness center in the past and became our one-day massage therapist as he was kind enough to help a few pilgrims out with their legs, that included me. Thanks amigo! 🙂
Fun times it was – dinner was served later and another evening with many pilgrims gathered + “the family” was a beautiful blessing. Steffen and Esther got a great idea which was to buy Ian an apron and we all chipped in.
A walk with Gemma and seeing the full moon with Ricardo, Ana and Daniela made it a great finish on another extraordinary day on The Way towards Santiago. It seemed like it was living in a dream of pure goodness that just stayed…
Stamp in from Ventosa
Stage in Profile – day 9
Ventosa – Azofra = 17km
It ticked 6 am and nun-music began… and wow… if you have not heard that before it is quite like being stroked by a wind of silk, just beautiful vibrations – a nice way to wake up indeed.
Another pilgrim note is, that usually when the first person wakes up and begins to get ready it is like an “okay” to everyone and then all follows suite. It does not take more than 30-40 minutes before everyone is out of the room and either gone or ready and it is usually around 7am.
My leg was a lot better today and it seemed that the days with shorter distances was appreciated and taking it slow was enjoyable for everyone.
Throughout the day I walked with Gemma, and later we met up with Steffen and Ian who had developed a good friendship. W walked together until reaching Nájera, where Gemma and me went to a supermarket to stock up on our rations. While we agreed to meet Steffen and Ian later we missed each other, so after some needed lunch by the river on a piece of grass in the city we began the walk to Azofra.
It was past noon now and that is another factor on The Camino, because it gets HOT as HELL! It really is not wise to walk in the afternoon, but we did…
It was a beautiful walk with a gravel road as long as the eye could see, green fields and snow capped mountains out on the left, it was as magical as you can imagine. Colors and sun shine and when having a fantastic walking companion of course makes it all even better!
We rocked up at the albergue, the last one before you headed out of the village and we wondered if Steffen and Ian would be here. I recognized some familiar shoes, which meant they were here.
They had obviously already planned the meal that night and another pilgrim and “family”- evening with great home cooked dining, wine and magnifico people all around was an absolute pleasure! It was like the magic and pure beauty of this trip would not take an end it was all in such high positive vibrations, yet balanced that made the experience serene and quite perfect!
Another evening was winding down – I know that it can sound like it is the same words I use, but it is indescribable to explain what special and magic that was found on this path, with these people and experience within myself.
During the afternoon in Azofra, Steffen and me had a great conversation. We talked about the vulnerability of the group, because even though we feel great friendship all together, we are all here for our own reasons. We are walking this thing for a reason and even though we know the motivation for going we still don´t know what it will give us. You need space to uncover what we are here to discover and the attachment to people is not the way to get it.
The last sentence is not something I realized that day, that came later. It was inevitable though that something would change… and that will come later when I write about The Three Phases of The Camino, something that is very interesting and connects immense amounts of dots, that is difficult to comprehend.
Next blog is coming up within a week to 10 days!
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