For my part, I travel not to go anywhere, but to go. I travel for travel's sake. The great affair is to move. ROBERT LOUIS STEVENSON

Tuesday, 29 January 2008

A Pleasant Evening And A Painful Morning

Il faut souffrir un peu pour devenir de plus en plus pèlerin! THIERRY, the Parisian backpacker

A pleasant evening was passed in the albergue at Santo Domingo. Matt, the Australian, was there with his dog (he'd found it straying in the Pyrenees and had adopted it). Matt was tired of working at bum jobs for a living so had decided to wander round Europe instead. In the warmer weather earlier that year he'd often slept out in the woods. Matt wore hippie clothes and had long hair and a beard. He looked like Jesus. Also there was the amenable Hiroshi from Japan. He'd given up a well paid managerial job with a Japanese IT company to walk the Camino. I asked him why. "I had no choice," he replied. "I felt I had to follow my heart."

The next morning 25 November I found I couldn't walk. The last few hours of the previous day's walk had been hard. Throughout the trip I'd been having ongoing trouble with my feet. Though my boots were excellent - beautifully made, Vibram-soled Scarpas - I think they were just a little too narrow for me. Normally any foot aches and pains would vanish by morning. This time they were still there. Plus a big problem with the right knee which had developed from a tingling sensation and a dull ache to full-blown, pulsating agony. I could hardly put my right leg down on the ground.

Another rest day or two were urgently needed. I told my travelling companions to walk on ahead. I booked into a hostal, a small hotel. You are only allowed to stay one night in the albergues. Besides, I wanted some comfort, and somewhere to bathe my feet and rest my knee...

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