Belly Ache and Respect on the Camino

It’s hard to believe that the summer has passed by almost and Heather is actually on the last few laps of the walk.  I’m a couple of days late posting this so I’m hoping that the ominous silence in the email department isn’t the gutaches catching up with her.
Pride Cometh Before a Fall Part Three

Hi Everybody,
I´ve fixed my walking sandals with superglue so they should be good for a few hundred more kms.
Trainers are still going strong even with the bottoms not quite all there in one piece, so to speak.
I had a wonderful moment today – as I said, The Camino is not now what it was as it´s now full of people having joined for the last 100 km.  I probably forgot to say as well that you have a credential which allows you to stay at the albergues and this is stamped every time you book in – so it is now a colourful array of different stamps (and I know I´m RUTHLESS with things but I´m not throwing this away!).  So when I got to the front of the queue to book in at Melide, the hospitalero asked for my passport, asked my age to verify, then looked at all the stamps and said the equivalent of ´wow´and I said ´from St Jean Pied de Port´  And he said Ýou have my respect, senora´.
How´s that???!!
Another thing that makes The camino not how it was is that you have to get a bed early.  It´s no use doing what I was doing the first few weeks and walking through the afternoon; groups have block-booked so you need to first of all get to albergues in between the main stages and secondly think about booking in by 2.00 at the latest.  A lot of people are having their backpacks transported as well.
What is very sad is the amount of rubbish, litter and especially toilet paper left around behind hedges and along the verges.  I did read it on The Camino websites I looked up before I came but I didn´t quite expect so much.  What a shame!
I don´t feel well……. I have nasty stomach pains but these haven´t resulted in anything that I wouldn´t want to write about, thank God!  I think I´m recovering.  I have only drunk water that is certified drinking water but I haven´t bought bottled water.  Why is it only now that it´s happened???  Anyway, I think I´m ok.
So, the plan is I have about 52km to go.  This means Sunday or Monday.  Because of my children going to live in different parts of the UK, I think I´d like to go home and have them meet me (!) so I won´t go to Finisterre.  However I am meeting everyone who´s around whom I´ve walked with on the steps of Santiago Cathedral on the 25th.  I must use the Tuesday to work out how the heck I´m going to get back to England!!  If you´ve looked on a map of Europe, Santiago is not a place to get back to England from if you know what I mean!
Andrea, what must I NOT miss in Santiago?  I will have a day or two there.
Life on the road now is very much on my own – I´m still leaving at a regular 7.30 am and it is lovely to be walking at that time.  The scenery is lush and as I said, very like parts of Yorkshire/Lancashire.  I take photos of nothing really – maybe a tree or just a landscape.  I enjoy this part till about 10.30 or the first place I want to eat.  Little villages, some towns but Sarria was the last big one.
I arrived at about 12.00 at where I intended to stay but they weren´t open till 2.30.  The woman I spoke to suggested coming back later.  On foot???  Where from??  Or she said I could wait.  Yes, right, in the burning sun in a hamlet consisting of one house – that one!
So I was forced to do nine more kms.
I talked to two lovely German ladies last night – again in a little hamlet where we were staying and we had some dinner together.
These little hamlets and early arrivals are incredible for my character development along The Way.  How can I, always so manic, spend whole afternoons and evenings with a book, a glass of juice or two, just doing nothing?  And I can tell you, that I haven´t always succeeded in just letting this happen.  More travelling to do an my return home, I´m sure, metaphorically speaking!  And I have to start thinking about reasons for doing this, even thought I always flippantly say ´Oh, I just like walking´!
Some walk!!
OK, keep ém coming!
With much love and keep fit!
Heather xxx
Good luck with the intestinals Heather, hopefully you won’t get caught short on the last stretch.