Day Four: Arzua

28 Jul

Not gonna lie: I was on the struggle bus yesterday.

I was so discouraged at the end of Day Three that I seriously considered riding taxis all the way in to Santiago de Compostela. (Interestingly, the taxi signs are in strategic locations throughout the trail — usually at the top of a very high hill far from the next town.)

My feet have several blisters the size of grapes. One of the most aggravating erupted on the side of the ball of my foot – and because of it, I think I had changed my gait, causing my hip to hurt like heck. I was a hot mess, as Caitlin would say.

But, as the three of us have concluded, the true challenge of the Camino is a mental one. Today, despite little sleep (boisterous dog fight down the street; boisterous Spaniards in the room above) I performed beyond my wildest expectations. My feet hurt – but I was able to walk fairly well, something I feared I wouldn’t be able to do. I was slow but steady. (I refer to myself as La Tortuga — turtle in Spanish.)

Four things contributed to our pleasant fourth day:

  • The weather is delightfully cool with overcast skies. The girls kept on their long-sleeved shirts or jackets all day; being the menopausal one, I, of course, was in short-sleeves.
  • The company was interesting. We met our first Americans (Alaskans) who were traveling with a very nice Polish priest. They had walked an amazing 42k (25 miles) the previous day! We had a wonderful chat with two Irish bicyclists at the top of the highest hill. They seemed like our friends until they practically mowed us over as they careened their way down. A woman from Madrid who had studied in California walked with us part of the way. She mentioned that the part of the trail we were hiking was called “leg killer.” Funny how the guidebook didn’t mention that! But it was indeed grueling, with some very steep inclines.
  • Mentally, I was in a better place. I think I had wallowed enough in self-pity and disappointment the day before and had decided that was enough. Everyone’s mood was good; we entertained ourselves with recollections of funny scenes from “Parks and Recreation.” In fact, the song of the day was “Get on Your Feet.”
  • Reaching Santiago is becoming more real. The Irish bikers we spoke with talked about how they would be there by nightfall. The Polish priest talked to us about the Pilgrim Mass and how his group had to make it there tomorrow. We’re eager and hopeful.

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