Saturday, June 19, 2010

Camino Day #3 (A look back)

After our first full day of hiking, the first night of post-hiking sleeping was amazing. Despite the fact that the evening was spent with 70 other strangers in cramped quarters, the fatigue more than made up for the conditions. Waking up in a hostel on the Camino is an interesting expeirence to say the least. First and foremost as if pre-programmed robots the entire hostel wakes up within five minutes of the first person to make a move. I am convinced that everyone is already half awake and waiting for the reason to make a dash for it. Once someone gets up everyone follows suits and furiouslly gets dressed, brushes their teeth and puts the dreaded boots on.

When hiking long distances you grow to love and hate your hiking boots. For me the boots were never as much the problems as the feet. One by one I would cram my swollen feet in the hiking boots only to begin walking with the words, ouch, ouch, ouch flowing from my lips. On day three of our trip I had developed my first blisters on my pinky toes. The problem was, every moment we walked, my blisters rubbed hard. Doing the only thing I could I took a lot of asprin and tried to forget about it, easier said than done.

On Day three of the Camino we made our way along a quiet road and eventually through hillside villages to our eventual Mountain top town of O'Cebreiro. During the first half of the day we hiked along a quiet road. It was quiet, but the pavement took a major toll on the feet. By 10am I was ready to call it quits. It was just then that a strange little dog began to journey with us. At first it was cute and fun to have company. But after several miles it began to get alarming that this dog was still following us, and thus leaving behind its home. For about 90 minutes or more the little dog, who we called Ralphie, was right beside us. He was a cute little fellow, excited and hyper. However, Ralphie did not understand that cars were a bad thing and gave us quite a few scares. Eventually he just ran off never to be seen again. I am not sure if he made it home, but I sure hope so.

After departing the highway we spent much of the afternoon winding up the side of a mountain. As the heat began to bear down and my weariness increase, it became increasingly difficult to continue on. At several points I wanted to strangle Alan and Jason my friends on the journey, not because they were annoying, but because I was convinced there was too much pep in their steps. I thought they were full of energy as I was dying. Only after we returned back to Boston did I realize I was dead wrong. Never-the-less in the mind of a tired, hungry and suffering person reality is not half as important as perception. At each stop along the trail I wanted to lay down and die. I am not sure what hitting the wall feels like, but I think on that day the wall hit me hard.

Eventually we made it to the top of the Mountain and crossed in the region of Spain known as Galicia. Galicia is a rural part of the Northwest corner of Spain. It is incredible fertile and very green because of the large amounts of sunshine and rain it recieves. It is often is compared to Ireland in its looks, heritage and music. I of course was doubly happy to be there. Arriving in the village we made it just in time to secure one of the last beds. We cleaned up, crashed for a bit and made our way for an amazing dinner.

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