Last night was an accumulation of wonderful experiences.
The time Bene needed to spend in bed was quite a benefit for me as well. My shin splints have been quite painful each morning and cramping in my toes will only abate when I take my boots off for 10 minutes. I have tried to take the isotonic drinks, increasing my magnesium levels, to no avail. The day off is probably much more therapeutic and beneficial to me in the long run.
Susanna came into town saying she was not feeling too bad, but something wasn’t quite right. We showed her the hostel we were staying in and she got a room as well. Our Family now fully occupies the 2nd floor of this Hostel. Kate, Tom, Bene, Susanna, Susan and I own the floor. Later we discover Susanna’s condition worsened …..she now has got the same bug,and is bed-ridden.
Later in the afternoon Pete and Patrick are discovered wandering near Plaza Mayor. They had completed 38km in record time to join up with Kate and Tom. We ran them directly to the hostel and got them into the last available room. Needless to say they were not 2nd floor-ers, but got a room.
I received message from Kate and Pete asking Susan, Bene, and I to join them for dinner. Bene was down for the evening but Susan were up for dinner, so off we went. Tom and Patrick are identical twins and they tag-teamed on me during dinner about every topic under the sun.
Now for the best news. We’ve heard from Eddie! We are extatic. He has jumped ahead and is waiting for us in Leon. Emails and text messages are flying back and forth to arrange a re-uniting of the “core family”. This news really does appear to lift Bene’s spirits, despite the fact she is still recovering.
At the same time I receive messages from Benita wishing Bene a speedy recovery. Ebbe and Jytte also sent an email advising us to skip the sections before and after Leon to make up time. Later in the day I will have a better appreciation of this advice.
Here’s the head count of the sick or ailing:
Susanna (New Zealand)
Nathan (San Diego)
Pete (Australia) ….this is an honorable mention as he didn’t actually suffer the full effects.
I will need a lot of convincing the water is not the culprit…….
A bigger issue is still hanging over me. How do I arrive in Santiago de Compestela on the 23rd so I can catch my flight home on the 24th? I am fully 3 days short based on my current location. Taking the cab has yesterday has given me half day up, but this is really nothing when I need so much more.
The time has come to think of my own Camino. Really, I wish I had the experience of a Camino vetran and planned for the unexpected, and the time for a relaxed time frame to enjoy my Camino to it’s fullest. I will have this experience to draw upon in the future…..but for now……
By coincidence Susan is flying out the same time I am…so she is facing the same constraint. Bene on the other hand has the luxury of an almost indefinite timeframe, and the purist desire to walk the entire Camino.
I explain the facts to Susan and we have an agreement to skip ahead and gain the days somehow. We are both concerned Bene will not agree with this as we will be effectively be breaking up the family. We have shared a singular and a collective goal to date. Walking into Santiago de Compostela. There is an overwhelming sense to do this together if at all possible.
Over breakfast we approach the subject gently with Bene. I explain it is necessary for me to take the train to Leon to makeup the time needed to complete. Remember, Bene is still quite weak after her bout with the stomach bug….but she doesn’t take this decision well. Disappointment and confused feelings are understandable. I feel like I have hit her very hard with a tough fact of life. She knew this was coming, but why now?
I explained further that Ebbe and Jytte strongly recommended skipping this section before and immediately after Leon.
Susan tries to put a positive spin on the decision saying we can be walking again with Eddie. Bene is obviously depressed being faced with two options, neither look good from her perspective. The first requires her to sacrifice her completionist goal and the second is to say farewell immediately. All very difficult to process in her weakened condition.
We needed to go back to the hostel to check out and Susan and I needed to go to the station. As I am packing my ukulele Bene is sitting on the edge of my bed. I decide to play a quiet version of “Wild Rover”. We have broken into this song at least 30 times together on the road. I change the words to something like:
“We leave little Bene
She really feels bad,
But she’ll feel so much better
Once she is not sad.
I know she’s a trooper
She’ll rise to the cause
Blah blah blah blah blah…….”
(I really don’t remember the actual words I was singing…….)
Suddenly Bene jumps off the edge of the bed, and with an enormous smile on her face and says “Well I‘m coming too!”
The relief is tangible….we all exploded…..we’re going to meet Eddie together, and we will walking into Santiago together!
Kate and Tom are also catching the train so we head to the train station together. Susanna is most likely going to stay the day to recover, or may walk a very short distance. She’ll make this decision when she needs check out.
Kate had been out earlier when we were having our breakfast talk, and met up with Mark and Zeb. Zeb had had a very rough time last night as well, but was on the road. Tough stock these Aussi’s, very tough stock. (Mark is sure you maybe able avoid stomach ailments with mass consumption of wine or beer……….) Zeb, none the less is number 6 on the list of the affected.
Nathan is also joining us as he is feeling very poor as well. So our collective family heads to the station.
The train to Leon is extremely comfortable and passes over some of the flatest land I have seen since being in Saskatchewan years ago. The absolute absence of shade and the cloudless sky have me thinking Ebbe and Jytte’s advice is very valuable. I am now really considering the section after Leon. The Meseta really is the Camino’s “Spanish frying pan”.
When we arrive in Leon in less than 30 minutes we depart the train station and head for the spires of the Cathedral. Suddenly Nathan is upset at himself, and expresses his dissatisfaction with a couple of choice words. (understandable once we know what has happened) Nathan has left his walking boots in the Municipal Albergue in Sahagun! He immediately heads back to the train station where he plans to return, get his boots, and then catch the train again back to Leon……. Yuk. Poor guy is going to be travelling all day just to repatriate his boots.
When we enter the square in front of the Cathedral Bene spots Eddie and bursts with energy, running, (pack and all) hugging, and bubbling all over him. Susan reaches him, and then it’s my turn. It is so good to see him again. We introduce Kate and Tom and head off in tow to the hostel Eddie is staying in.
Later that night Bene decides to stay in bed, still nursing a tender tummy. Eddie, Susan and I find a wonderful place just off the Cathedral square and catch up on all the scoop.
While we are sitting and eating three people come up crying “Edddiiieeeeee!” This turns out to be another Camino Family of unrelated people who met Eddie on the trail. Their family members were a man from Edmonton and two ladies from the Toronto area.
All and all a wonderfully day in the end.
Susan makes a dash to the toilet. She is victim 7!