Camino: The Empty Quarter!

More worries about feet and then sudden relief.  Drifting unprepared through the bit with no bars – and the Heat!


So, as I said, I crawled into Bercianos, one of these villages that goes on for a mile and the albergue´s at the other end.  The heat was blistering, someone said 40 degrees.

The hospitaleros tell you what to buy from the one shop at this albergue and they cook a gigantic meal.  It was a fine meal and crowded albergue – people sleeping everywhere.  I did avoid the sing-song with guitars but couldn´t avoid the blessing under the setting sun.  The setting sun was really something as you could see for ever.  On my little card I received it said ´conocerte, superar, acceptar´ (sorry, Yoana, the spelling and grammar might be wrong.)  Roughly translated it means know yourself, get over it (life´s tough, babe!) and accept.  I think the first two are ok.  Am I any nearer to accepting?

Sorry Yoana, again, I´m no nearer to accepting Spanish hours.  Just to jump a day or two, I´m in Leon, I get to a great hostel, have a shower, wash clothes, look at feet, then go into Leon.  To do what??? Everything´s closed and will be till at least four if not five. You can´t even go round the cathedral.  I remember what the books said – you MUST understand and go with the flow of Spanish hours.  Hum.  Siesta is out of the question.  I suppose the afternoon is the time to do Internet.

Anyway, Bercianos, I decided, needed another toilet or two.  There was only one and since this also housed the washbasin for toothbrushing and face washing etc, it was a rare time you could get to it.

Let´s go on. Next day, not as bad as Saturday, and I could look at the countryside a bit more.  However and you can be shocked that Heather could possibily do this, I hadn´t read on.  The important bit that said ´stock up with food/drink before leaving Bercianos on a Sunday morning.  Yeah, 19 km without ANYTHING apart from water was a bit hard.  Came across the Italians resting who gave me a cake and previously Jelle and Zoe who had offered but I had refused. Furthermore it was 19km of nothing, although I did get a frisson of excitement when the road curved. Once.  No, it didnt lead to anything good, it just curved.  That was the excitement.

Finally  – BAR!! We gradually realised there was nothing there and we´d push on to Mansilla, just 6 more km.  And suddenly my toes were fine and I remembered how it was before corns and blisters!  Wow!  I can jump, I can run, I can….. (ok, I´m meant to be learning how to slow down in life….)

Mansilla is a GREAT little town.  Bars, little streets, albergue has a central courtyard – just feels like you´re on holiday!  I spend the afternoon with a couple who are Spanish but lived in Liverpool for a while.  My Spanish takes yet another leap forward.  The whole afternoon, mind, just sitting and chatting.

Blimey, this girl is getting to grips with chilling out!

Last night, my left foot was hot.  You could light a fire with it.  I was very worried.  Shiny as well.  It is not Athlete´s Foot as I clean, dry and powder them with the special stuff 2, 3 times a day. 2 blisters, 1 on its way out.  I couldn´t sleep, I was so worried.  And the heat in the dorm was incredible.  Unbearable.

But today, I skipped, I hopped, I jumped, I laughed – well no I didn´t but it felt like that – Heather back to full speed ahead, no problems.  Foot feels hot again tonight.  Any ideas?  I´d like a proper diagnosis please, way-out ideas gratefully received.  Although, I must say that if I were very worried there is a very good free service for pilgrims and notices about how to get the medical treatment you need on El Camino.  Full marks to Spain!

Leon Cathedral is truly one of the most amazing buildings I have ever seen, if not THE most.  I went into the Museum attached and I must admit, I thought it was a bit macabre – images, statues of Christ on the cross, blood an´all and even a skeleton.  I couldn´t take the heat and left.  But an awe-inspiring place.

I have spent pounds today on drinks – every bar I have had a juice with loads of ice.  I couldn´t tell you how many.  The heat is just a killer.

Well, I believe that the terrain begins to be more up and down from now on.  I couldn´t tell you where I´m going but I have got a bit of food in case!

Love to everyone


Heather xxx

As the blister worries recede Heather can look forward to some more hilly terrain as she begins to get within sight of the Picos.  Will a bit of altitude ease the heat?

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