Day 23 – In the Dark

Getting up at 6:00am, brushing your teeth and packing so it is possible to leave the Albergue is one thing. The harsh reality of the morning these days quite another. The sun doesn’t rise until 8:30 and the temperature today was below freezing. Our breath is visible under the street lamps as we press out of town. No one feels like talking. We can see other pilgrim headlamps and flashlights ahead of us, and turning around we see spots of penetrating white as well. Sometimes we stop to search for the yellow arrows when we are not sure what street or path to take. Once or twice we are forced to take a calculated risk and select one of the options blindly. This is usually a calculated risk…..
We came to a small town after an hour and a half and came across a shopkeeper performing a well rehearsed opening process. Eggs on a baggette….juice for Bene, a Fanta for Eddie, and a confused look when I ask for hot water. We enjoy our breakfast and return to the path as the sky is becoming light. Another 15 minutes and the sun starts to illuminate the tops of the trees as our dirt path stretches out into the distance.
Suddenly I feel a stabbing pain on the right side of my right shin. This time it’s not my normal case of shin splints, it is much more painful. I have no idea where this came from. I was just walking, the same way I always do…..
The pain intensifies over the next hour and I ask Bene to continue on ahead of me. Eddie is already well ahead.
I’m having to concentrate on each step. I may be draging my leg, from time to time I stub my boot and the pain is immediately and sharp. After another hour or so I decide to take a “Camino Candy”. (Ibuprofen) during the next hour the drug seems to have little effect.
I come across Eddie and Bene sitting in a small bar (cafe) so I join them for a short drink. I decide to head on ahead them whIle they continue to rest. If I need their help they will eventually catch up to me.
Some of the areas I am walking through are once again becoming quite beautiful. The trails are starting to undulate, and in one section we have a small climb.
I roll into our Rabanal del Camino around 1:00PM. Thankfully it is a relatively short day, and get checked into the Albergue. I just want to get off my leg and get it up. The Albergue is privately run and is a beautifully converted stable. The accommodations are in large communal areas, but appear very nice. 40 people however share a single toilet and 2 showers…….hmmmm.
Checking in I learn a musical performances scheduled to be held in our Albergue tonight. A Celtic band will replaying starting at 5:30. This is great news. I also learn at 7:00 the monks will be performing Gregorian chants as part of “Vespers”. This is shaping up to be a great evening.
About 20 minutes after I get settled Bene and Eddie arrive. Eddie, the power walker, has decided to take things much more relaxed lately. His feet are surely appreciating this change of pace.
Lunch (around 2:30) consists of ham, cheese, and tomatoes on a baguette, …. again? Do the Spanish people really eat this every day?
After lunch a short rest and Susan strolls in with her back pack. She was pretty much forced to get out of the hostel and decided to take the bus to El Greco. She then walked the last 7 km into Cabana del Camino.
Apparently the extra day rest was exactly what she needed to get over the “bug” and relax her neck……
At 5:30 the CelticBand started to play….unfortunately they played anything but Celtic music. Tunes from Phantom of the Opera, Titanic, and Vivaldi’s the Four Seasons, bit no Celtic music.
We left the music to go to the church for “Vespers”. The monks perform this service in a Gregorian chant. I was praying the church didn’t fall apart while we were in it. The structure was very simple and obviously very, very old. Substitute the word decrepit for old.
We had dinner after attending Vespers and Susan wanted to discuss something with our “family”. She was hoping to walk the next 5 days or so by herself. We all expressed our support for this, and in fact we all felt it is a good idea to walk alone during this time. So it was decided to give each other space for the next week.
Later we returned exhausted from the day; and who is playing Celtic tunes….bringing the house down…. those 3 lads calling themselves the Celtic band.
I was tired and I had to get up very early so I reluctantly said goodnight.
BTW, our Albergue this night had no internet access, and a decided lack of outlets for charging devices…..otherwise, loved the place.

5 thoughts on “Day 23 – In the Dark

  1. Hi Cam,
    Just met Sweetheart. Had a lot of laughs and we have vowed to get together once a month for coffee/tea.
    Hear your leg is giving you problems. I guess there is no way you are going to pack it in at this point even if your entire body is in pain. Anyway, I wish you a very Happy Thanksgiving and want you to know that you are truly missed.

    • Hi Rajan!
      I think tea once a month is a good plan. Not to worry, my leg was much better today. It mysteriously healed in one night. I have no idea what this was… but it’s gone now.
      Thank you for writing…it is nice to hear from my friendship I am so far away.
      As Always…… Cam’.

  2. I know Exactly what it is to walk in pain. It’s absolutely,,NO Fun! Hope it resolves itself, or you are able to walk through it. Often it’s something, that needs a day or two of rest, which is what you don’t have the luxury of
    I have decide to return to the States. Don’t think I can finish, without my medicine, It sucks, but what you gonna do. Smile. I hope you are able to make it, and wish all of you Gods Speed.
    Tell everybody I would love to see pics, or hear from them when they make Santiago, or when you return home. My e-mail is,,,
    Buay Camino,,,,,,,,,,Benita

    • Hi Benita;
      All of the people you have met on the Camino are greeting this news with sadness.
      Of course I understand you do not make this decision lightly…… it must have been very, very difficult.
      Of course the Camino will always be waiting for your return.
      Be safe, be well.
      As Always……. Cam’.

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