“Camino” day 14: last non-travel day in Spain, no walking today

I lazed around this morning for an embarrassing amount of time. Then I went and explored Comillas, I was especially excited about the Gaudi building.

I love the insanity of Gaudi, his name is where gaudy comes from 🤣, and his major works clearly explain the connection. But, it’s why I love his stuff…it is hideously beautiful.

I saw the Palace, walked past the beach (I’m not a “beach” person but I do like to walk past them), saw the other Gaudi structure which is a gate to a home, had lunch, had a nap… shopped for gifts, and now I go back to reading what is turning out to be a pretty good book.

Tomorrow is catching the bus to Santander, then the bus to the airport, then the plane to Barcelona. Overnight in airport area hotel, then very early flight home on Tuesday.

Today’s pics:

Pic above of the Birds Gate by Gaudi. Big entry for cars, medium for people and the small one above is for birds.

Camino Day 13: at the risk of being redundant, another LOVELY day

Part 1: I am currently mid-walk enjoying a nice break on a park bench, listening to the bells on the flock of sheep grazing nearby. Today’s walk so far:

A nice walk down through Cobreces and time to snap a few pictures of the beautiful historic buildings. Then, after about a mile, I came to a beach. I sat and enjoyed watching the waves and a few early risers playing with their dogs in the sand. After the beach, the trail led uphill, up to the top of the headland where a nice little bench overlooked the sea. I decided to sit and enjoy both the view and the peaches I bought at the market yesterday.

While I was on peach #2, a pilgrim came up the hill and I recognized him from the albergue last night. As he came near, I realized I had sprawled across the entire bench and called out to him. “I can move my things to make a space if you’d like to sit,” I said with a welcoming smile.

He looked up, with mild stress showing on his face, “No. No, I can’t stop. I have to walk 30 kilometers today.” And he hurried along his way.

And there it is. I respect his choice and offer no judgement, but I would much rather be me. With only 10k to walk today I have plenty of time to enjoy myself. My gait is relaxed and easy, I stop to enjoy the views, and I have not a worry or care in the world.

After my stop, I came to a small farming village and saw a little enclosure where a kitten was playing with some ducks. I took a few moments to stand there, laughing hysterically at the antics on display. I love kittens.

You see, I am fully cured. There is a Camino virus spreading around that often results in a syndrome called Pilgrim Fever. A terrible affliction.

Common symptoms include: multiple foot blisters with possible bleeding sores, toenails that fall off, aching stiff legs, foot pain, a characteristic hurried limping waddle, intense facial expressions reflecting pain and/or stress, a sense of rushing and urgency, aching back and shoulders, and a strong belief that anything less than 25 kilometers in a day is tragically unacceptable.

I caught said fever and became symptomatic, but then I managed to fight it off before fully succumbing to the illness. Now, I am actually enjoying myself. After all, I have no need to prove anything. Not to someone else and not to myself. I COULD walk 30k in a day, but WHY? Seriously, I have no desire to do it.

I can see that many people on the Camino are in a subtle competition. There is some bragging in the albergues about how far you walk. After that, some will brag about how hard it was, some will brag about how easy. Pretty much the first questions pilgrims ask each other is how far you walked today, where and when did you begin your Camino, do you go all the way to Santiago, and how many times have you done the Camino. But, never do they ask if you enjoy it.

Oh, and if you walked less than 20k….they get an odd look and ask if you are ok. Really. As if walking less than 20k must mean you are sick, injured or disabled. One pilgrim last night asked me pretty much that….and I proudly said, “No. Not sick or injured or disabled….just very happy.” He looked confused.

Well, my little break on this bench turned into a long one, and that’s not a problem because I have only a few kilometers left to walk until I reach Comillas. Part 2 coming later…

Part 2: I walked through a few more villages, including one with a Saturday street market that was fun to explore. Then I enjoyed more of the countryside before I arrived in Comillas. The hostel/albergue here is the nicest I have ever seen. Once showered, I walked around a tiny bit, had lunch, stopped at the market, got sleepy, and came back to the hostel for a siesta. It is a hard life on my Camino 😂

I’m glad I got provisions at the market already because I think I will just read and relax here tonight. I have another night here in Comillas before I begin my journey home, so there’s plenty of time to see the sights and enjoy the beach tomorrow. Oh, and I need to buy some things for my niece and nephews now that I’m done walking and I don’t have to worry about the extra weight in my bag.

Today’s pictures:

Camino Day 12: a nice little walk in the countryside

I set out late this morning (9am) with a spring in my step. I was actually looking forward to the walk and hoping it would, possibly, be relatively pain free. And it was! I have definitely found the solution to the problem.

Well, 2 solutions? One is to keep the pack off my low back. The best way, as I found today, is to actually let it ride very low and let my booty-licious booty carry the load. Finally, a good reason to have a big butt!

The second is to ignore this “Camino fever” everyone else has about logging tons of miles each day and getting there as fast as possible. Well, I decided if we all walk our own Camino our own way, how about I actually enjoy mine?

I’m noticing, everyone else dragging themselves in on empty, while I am fine after a quick rest. I prefer this way even if there may be some who think I am wimping out by not killing myself each day.

It can’t be we respect everyone does their own Camino their own way, but only if you do crap-tons of miles each day? Screw that. I dare to do less and am better off for it. Still 7.5 miles isn’t exactly nothing either, just “nothing” by Camino insanity standards.

So, I had a lovely walk through farmland and villages today. And, just when I started feeling “done”, I was! It was wonderful, stopping right when I was wishing I could. I still had some odd shooting stabbing nerve pains today, but nothing ongoing, just quick intense stabs in my right hip. I think it is just residual irritation that will fade over time if I avoid continued irritation.

Now, I am enjoying the courtyard at the albergue, about to make a salad for dinner and then maybe read some more before I go to bed. 😁

Camino Day 11: a perfectly lovely lazy day

So, I have a day of rest today but not because I needed it. Basically, I pre-planned some of the trip and it included a 2 night stay at a hotel here in Santillana. My recent changes meant that I arrived in town a day early, stayed last night in the convent, and now have 2 prepaid and non-refundable nights in a hotel. The frugal side of me just CAN’T pay for two nights and forfeit all of it. So, I decided on the middle ground between not staying at all and staying the whole time….I will stay one night in the hotel and leave a day early. It does mean wasting money on the second night, but I want to both continue my Camino and break the planned 1 long hike into 2 shorter ones. The plan is to use the “extra day” to break the walk to Comillas into 2 days (making two 7-mile, pleasant hikes instead of one 14-mile, unpleasant hike).

What’s funny is that taking an easier day yesterday left me ready to walk today. I felt a little sad this morning seeing all the other pilgrims with their backpacks heading out. I somehow felt left out and was wishing I could grab my pack and join in the day’s journey.

That said….I had LOVELY day!!

Slow lazy morning, a visit to a famous museum/prehistoric cave (Altamira), window shopping, a beautiful lunch with maybe a little too much wine, and now (most importantly) laundry. The next item on today’s itinerary is a nap!😴

I am extremely happy to report that, despite previous difficulties, I am really looking forward to my walk tomorrow😁.

Pictures from today: