Distance walked: 15 miles
Album of the day: War Elephant by Deer Tick
Mama’s got a brand new bag!
Actually, it’s not a new bag, but my backpack is infinitely lighter now that I have sent my sleeping bag back home and my journal/iPhone/miscellaneous junk forward to Santiago. I figure that I have shaved off at least 5-6 pounds. Hooray!
Danica left early this morning to catch her train, and the guys were still sound asleep when I left the apartment. I grabbed some cafe con churros and was on the road by about 8:15am. From the beginning of the route out of Pamplona, you can see the valley that you will traverse that day: the skyline is covered in wind turbines.
I took approximately 43 photos of wind turbines today.
The sky was cloudless, and within 30 minutes of walking, I had to remove both my jacket due to warmth and my socks due to defective contra-blister treatments. I have learned the hard way that most foot-padding treatments are total crap. Bandaids? Crap. Athletic tape? Crap. Dr. Scholl’s brand “blister covers”? Crap. Moleskin? Crap. (On the contrary, pilgrims’s choice Compeed and some Spanish brand silicone tube that completely slid over my toe worked pretty well). What was supposed to protect my feet slid off and ended up causing even larger blisters. It was not a comfortable walk today.
It was, however, a beautiful walk. The journey from Pamplona gradually inclines through fields of wheat and yellow flowers with a line of wind turbines whooshing overhead. Unlike more intimidating heights like, say, the Cliffs of Insanity or Mount Doom, the Alto del Perdon, or Hill of Forgiveness, is, well, forgiving. At the peak, a wrought iron pilgrim sculpture presides over the striking view of the morning’s walk, while on the other side, the afternoon’s trek is visible before you.
After lunch in Uterga, I was on a high. I plowed along through fields of wheat that rippled almost magically in the wind, dotted with red poppies. And then my feet started to break down. There was pain on my big toes, my pinky toes, the tips of my toes. By the time I reached Puente de Reina, I flung myself into the first albergue I saw, where I was lucky enough to snag a private room to be shared with a very pleasant British couple, John and Linda. I stumbled into town to try to find a pharmacy that sold blisters bandages, but everything was closed for the next 1.5 hours for siesta. I eventually was able to buy some more Compeed to cover my pathetic feet. John, Linda, and I enjoyed a fantastic buffet dinner at our albergue/hotel, which more than made up for the pain. The next day, I hoped that my feet would be better.