Monday, 20 October 2014

Endless suburbs of Burgos

This was day 10 of our almost one month long Camino de Santiago adventure. Click on the Camino de Santiago label to see all related posts.

I got out of bed with a feeling of anticipation and also a little bit of fear. The first few steps were accompanied with "Ouch, ouch, ouch..." whispered through my teeth. After a while it got better and I had to admit the pain was just a little bit more bearable compared to the previous day.

It seemed like this new friend of mine called Tendinitis would not go away easily. I knew that if it was going to get at least a bit better every day, I would be able to get through it. I was just hoping it would keep getting better.

We ventured into another cold and cloudy day pretty early. The winding path soon started climbing up a hill and into the fog. I started raining again.

For a while we were walking next to a barb wire fence that seemed to be built around an army base of some kind.

The walk was pretty uneventful and because of the steady rain I kept my photo gear dry inside my backpack. When we got closer to Burgos the scenery turned from bad to worse. Endless suburbs with many industrial complexes. Gloomy weather also did not help and dull shades of grey seemed even greyer.

Our hiking boots were letting moisture in again. Nevertheless it was not as bad as on the second day. We were glad we have bought ourselves quality hiking boots that did not cause blister problems even when wet. Nowadays you can get quality hiking boots almost in any supermarket as well as in specialised sport stores.

Considering the situation we decided to do another short walking day and give my leg an opportunity to recover faster. This also meant we will be able to spend more time in Burgos. Stopping there for the night gave us a whole afternoon to check out the city centre. We could have easily spent a few days there but unfortunately our tight schedule did not allow it.

It is only 24 kilometres from Agés to Burgos, but bad weather and endless suburbs of Burgos in addition to my leg problems, resulted in another long and tiring day.

It was a long walk to the historic centre but the good thing was that once we got there the rain stopped and we were able to search for an albergue without our rain ponchos. For a change we were still early and at first we tried our luck with a couple of smaller options. Since they were both already fully booked, we went for the newly opened Albergue Municipal de Peregrinos de Burgos with 150 posts. It is located just a stone-throw from the cathedral and costs only 5 Euro.
The only thing it lacks is a bit of character, but I guess that was not the main thing they had in mind during the construction.

We were happy to finally get out of our wet hiking shoes. As we learned during many previous wet days our Goretex hiking shoes endured 2-3 hours of rain, after that water started leaking through.

After settling in, our daily routine followed. When we were finished with our stretching-shower-massage-laundry procedure we went exploring the city. In our sandals, as usually.

We took time to admire the magnificent cathedral but decided to skip the tour of interior due to the entrance fee. Nevertheless we managed to take a quick peek inside and liked what we saw.

We decided to take a slow stroll around the centre and look for a place to eat. We found a perfect place with great food. We did pay 2 Euro more for the pilgrim menu than usually, but it was well worth it. You can feast your eyes on the below photo of the delicious dessert.

We would love to explore the centre some more but were already pretty tired when we were finished with our dinner. I was positively surprised that the pain in my leg was perfectly bearable when I carried no backpack.
However, instead of wandering the streets some more, we went back to the albergue to chat with our 3 Slovene room mates. These three pilgrims were the only Slovenes we met on the Camino.

Burgos is definitely another one of the places on the Camino Francés where we could easily spend a couple of extra days. Unfortunately due to our tight schedule we had to move on.

Clicking on any one of above photos will reveal them all in a much more flattering resolution.


Monday, 13 October 2014

Tendinitis - My new hiking companion

This was day 9 of our almost one month long Camino de Santiago adventure. Click on the Camino de Santiago label to see all related posts.

In the morning when I climbed down from my bunk bed I almost lost my balance. My leg still hurt like hell. I knew it would probably get a bit better after the first few steps, but I did not know how much better. It really did. A little bit.
Despite all that I was already determined to try walking and see how it went. I was not going down without a fight!

Tendinitis (also tendonitis) is an inflammation of a tendon, which attaches the muscle to the bone. Usually it appears after muscles already got adapted to harder workout, because tendons need more time for adaptation. With use of anti-inflammatory medications and conservative treatment (mostly rest) the condition usually starts getting better after 2-3 days.
We did not have those 2-3 days of rest planned and if we went for it, it meant we would have to turn to alternative means of transportation in order to get to Santiago in time for our flight home. We obviously did not want that to happen.

We had a simple breakfast in the albergue. Although this time it was an all-you-can-eat type of breakfast we figured out that breakfasts in albergues were usually not worth the price. It was much better to stop somewhere along the way and have a proper bocadillo (that's a sandwich) for more or less the same price.

After breakfast M. helped me put a compression bandage on my sore leg. Up until that point she had been using both our bandages under socks to prevent direct contact of socks with her skin. By then cheap cotton socks from the Chinese shop were thoroughly tested and seemed to be working fine.

When we started walking it definitely felt a little better when compared to the previous day. So we kept walking. Slowly. This time M. had to seriously slow down so that I could keep up with her. I learned that stopping and taking a break is much worse compared to keeping a slow and steady pace.
Obviously we had to stop for food at some point and used the opportunity for another ice massage. It helped ease the pain for a while and it also brought down the small swelling.

We walked through some charming old villages and after a while endless wheat fields were replaced by young pine tree forest. A strong smell of pine trees mixed with blooming yellow bushes called Spanish broom was in the air. The views were great but the smells were even better. If only I could appreciate the beauty. I mainly focused on walking - it is interesting how much effort one has to put into a simple task like walking in extreme situations like this.

A section of the way we walked together with Mr. Sever (a typical Slovenian surname) and his wife. We learned they were a retired couple from the States, with ancestors in Slovenia. They did not know much more than that.
It was great talking to them - it helped me take the pain off my mind for a while and kilometres just flew by during that time.

Despite some Votaren anti-inflammatory gel and a pill of Ibuprofen (a pain reliever with anti-inflammatory effects) the pain got worse with every kilometre and we decided to call it a day a bit earlier than planned.

We stopped at Agés after walking 27 kilometres from Belorado. Our initial plan was to do a few more kilometres but regarding the situation we were more than happy with the achieved result.

Agés seemed like a cute little village from the distance, but I was just too tired to go exploring before dinner. We stayed at the Albergue municipal de Agés. In addition to many new acquaintances we also recognized some familiar faces. The rest of the evening was spent over a glass (or three) of wine, exchanging experiences with fellow pilgrims.

We also seized the opportunity to share a washing machine with a Hungarian guy. Even though we did not have many dirty clothes it was nice to skip manual laundry work for a day.

Clicking on any one of above photos will reveal them all in a much more flattering resolution.


Wednesday, 8 October 2014

Wheat fields of Castilla y León

Clicking on any one of above photos will reveal them both in a much more flattering resolution.

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