Friday, March 13, 2009

21st Feb - Astorga

We just arrived in Astorga. My foot is totally ruined. It took us about 4.5 hours to do 10km. For those of you who have no idea how long that should take, I usually do about 4-4.5km per hour. That’s a fairly steady and gentle pace. But at the moment I’m limping along in the most pathetic manner possible. The walk was ok. It was largely uphill - which interestingly was easier on my foot – and quite boring.
A few km in, Gill told me to keep walking and disappeared into the bushes. I thought he was taking a toilet stop so I kept going. A little while later I turned around to see him moving towards me with a stick and a very wide grin. He’d managed to find a branch to make a walking stick out of. So now I look like a real pilgrim, strolling along with my staff. It’s quite fun really. My pace improved a lot after that. I’m so grateful. Before that we’d discussed the idea of me quitting the Camino. But now that I can manage a slightly quicker pace, we’ve decided to take one more bus a little bit closer and do 10km bite size pieces per day. I can definitely suffer through 10km. I don’t care how much it hurts or how long it takes. It may seem silly not to stop, but I just can’t. I don’t want to give up. This has meant more to me than anything else I’ve done.
I wish I’d brought walking poles with me. I suspect that the damage was done in the snow, and I can’t help but feel that the extra assistance would have helped a lot. Still, the stick is great and I am happy.
Our albergue today has a kitchen and a washing machine. That was bliss. I’ve washed all my smelly gross clothes properly and we’ve been to the supermarket to get some dinner stuff. Life here is so different. It’s easier in that I don’t need to worry about work or housemates or ‘real world problems’, but it’s harder because I’m now worried about the basics - food, shelter and the easing of physical pain.
Astorga is really quite a pretty town. They have the remains of an ancient Roman villa cordoned off in an area right near the albergue. A part of the mosaic is still intact, and I got rather excited about it. Gill called me a nerd. It’s a fairly accurate assessment really.

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