Took a full day of rest in Logroño. I found a place to buy a second walking pole and I mailed 7lbs. home from my backpack… the equivalent of a newborn baby. So my pack is lighter now. I tried to really rest and do nothing, but it was so hard. My mind and my body just kept thinking that I needed to keep moving. But I did stay put and do some resting. My knee still hurts, but my blisters healed quite a bit. I’m becoming an expert at self-piercing… I “sew” a needle and thread through the blister, then leave the thread in as a wick. It drains the blister but doesn’t remove the top layer and they heal pretty fast that way. The tricks of the Camino.
We walked from Logroño to Najera today – about 30km. Some of the group got separated during the day due to varying walking speeds and such. The ones that ended up walking alone for a while found that the time they spent separated and alone was disturbing and hard. When we talked in group last night, we decided to work harder at staying closer together. Long periods alone are tough. It is a lot easier to stick together. It is easier to get through a long day when you’ve got someone with you. When you’re alone for a long time, it’s lonely and hard. (The day that I walked 30km with the guy from Switzerland felt like nothing – it went so fast because we talked the whole time.)
Stayed in another big, full albergue last night. Ninety beds, two bathrooms. This time I was NOT one of the ones who was lucky enough to get a shower. The albergue hosts had a little impromptu concert last night in the front room of the place. They played several typical Spanish music pieces. They really had quite a little party going in there.
Back at my bed, I had noticed earlier in the evening that the person in the bottom bunk was pretty meticulous. All of their ziplock bags and their personal items were arranged on the bed in straight rows and all perfect. When I came back in the room, I found my bunkmate (a 60 year old Korean woman) had rearranged all of my things. She hung my towel in a different place, she rearranged my bed things, she had moved my pack, and I noticed that my pillow and sleeping bag liner were different (I pin them together so my pillow won’t fall off the top bunk at night. I started to talk to her and she commenced to cry. She hates the Camino. She hates the albergues – they are too crowded, everyone snores, people smell bad and pass gas. She has blisters. The walk is too hard. The list went on and on. I recognized her textbook culture shock, mixed with some exhaustion. She has stopped walking the Camino. She has been getting up in the mornings and taking a bus to the next town each day. She says the only reason she continues at all is… “See that woman over there (pointing). She’s Korean, too. She doesn’t speak anything but Korean. Ever since I met her, I’ve been trying to help her and translate for her. I can’t quit because then she couldn’t talk. So I keep going.” We talked some more. I asked a lot of questions about Korea. By the end of the night, she was laughing and smiling. This morning before we headed out on the Camino, she said, “Thanks for talking to me and making me laugh. I needed that. It felt good to laugh. I’m glad I met you.” I’m hoping we meet up again in another town and I can talk to her some more.