Day 3 Into the Woods We Go

Day 3

June 1, 2019

Well, I discovered something after dinner last night. I went back to my room and laid down on my bed… look at my feet. The foot with the Plantar Fasciitis was swollen quite a bit. In fact it looked like a football with little cocktail wieners stuck to one end. The effect was a bit disconcerting.

I decided to soak my foot in cold water, take an Aleve, and rub a topical Ibuprophen on my foot. In all honestly I was almost willing to lose the foot rather than walk somewhere to take care of this. I was absolutely toast at this point.

Shortly after tending to the stump on the end of my ankle my room mate showed up. Suzanne, a nice lady from Germany. She is continuing on the Costal Route where I am switching to the Central Route. There are three beds in the room but we are the only occupants. If your mind is prone to imagining the ridiculous….save it. This is a very common arrangement on the Camino. 

Basically I kept my crazy foot thing to myself.

I turned in early, seriously exhausted, and didn’t wake up until 5 in the morning. Here’s the deal…..Suzanne snores like a locomotive. Like a seriously large locomotive….right next to me. I’m sure this was going on all night long….but there is no way I was cognizant of it going on. Honestly I think I could have gotten off of the murder charges…..justifiable homicide.

This morning when I woke up my foot was normal sized, and there was no pain to be found. I do recover quickly from things….but this was wild.

I decided not to tempt fate and this morning arranged for a car to take me to a point on the Central Camino Route called Arcos. This way the day should be somewhat easier, and if my foot, or any other body part should start to complain and I would be in a better position to get a cab, bus, or alternate form of transportation if needed.

The weather today was to be cooler than yesterday. Day 2 was 33c in the afternoon. I burned my neck pretty badly, so this morning I put a bandana on my neck as a shield. Turns out today I burned my right arm instead. This trail heads basically North, so the sun is clobbering your right side. And the shade…..well, there is so little. 

I know what you are saying….sunscreen stupid. Yeah, it’s on my shopping list.

Setting out in Arcos it was a very different physical terrain to the previous day. We are definitely walking through an agricultural area. The smell of manure is pretty prevalent at times…..Masking the smell of the pilgrims walking by. Some pilgrims likely offend the manure producing cows….laundry is in my future. Not saying I stink….

It is also notable the amount of pave or cobblestone we walk on. Hard as hell on the knees, joints, and PF. It’s also really, really hot as the heat of the day increases and reflects it directly up. Speaking of heat, today was in fact cooler than yesterday. It was 32c.

There were a smattering of pilgrims throughout the day…but hardly a crowded trail. I’ve noticed the numbers of pilgrims is far fewer than on the Camino Frances. (the path from France to the West of Spain) The crowding for accommodations on the coast is due to the average Portuguese person vacationing at the seaside….leaving little room for pilgrims.

Music is a big part of my meditation while I walk. I float away listening to a wide variety of music types. Yesterday I listened to Ennio Morricone (The Mission soundtrack) My playlist today started with the album Wildflowers (Tom Petty), followed by Brainwashed (George Harrison), followed by Nilsson Schmilson. (Harry Nilsson) Of course I’m singing along at the top of my lungs….amazing…….OK, frightening for those who I do not see around me. It dawns on me my singing may be the reason I see few pilgrims.

By about 12:30 in the afternoon I was wasted….My shirt was literally drenched and I felt totally tapped. I decided to stop somewhere to get rehydrated, and eat something. I stopped at a small Cafe by a gas station and ordered 2 Ice Teas, and the only thing on the menu. Chicken with french fries, rice, and salad. Honestly wasn’t expecting much. Turned out to be an amazing meal. They served a half chicken (small) cooked in a Portuguese style….really good. The price for all of this was 6.25 Euro. So much for the coastal route and their tourist pricing. This meal was amazing.

Back on the road I was feeling much better after my recharging. But the heat and the sun were simply oppressive.

My topic of the day rattling around in my brain today pertained to freedom. I should explain I typically and randomly start thinking about a topic each day. Today is no exception. So who in society is able to act, think, and live their lives completely free.

You might think people of enormous wealth. Nope. I work with these people literally every day. They are driven people, living to work. They achieve their success by working enormous hours, and strive for more. They are also amongst the most trapped by their belongings….houses, yachts, jets……and things…..

How about the middle class….not a chance. The middle class has been trained to be ideal consumers. Make a dollar, spend a dollar twenty five….add the toys you’ve always wanted….and think you deserve. The difficulty is needing and wanting become perverted….and wanting is given priority.

By the way, three is also a subset thought I would like to interject at this point. It is very interesting to note in North America, workers are entitled to work for the “captains of industry” making money for the upper class, and business’. In North America, in both Canada and USA, the working class is not entitled to a life….just entitled to work.

Europeans are entitled to a life….and work for companies on a very different basis.

Spending time in Europe has reinforced this….watch Michael Moore’s “Who Shall We Invade Next” film for a biased, but interesting take on this subject.

Finally back to the question at hand. How about the homeless. The people in our society with nothing. It is true, they may not have a car, house, sofa or TV to lose….but they are also not living with all the burdens of our modern society. Really, I feel these are the only free people in society. The marketing machines do not affect them. Banks aren’t chasing them for payments, debt is practically impossible.

This is not an endorsement for us all to give it all up….just a comment. I remember a quote accredited to DJT. (Yeah, I can’t believe I quoting this person) He said to his daughter when he had declared bankruptcy looking at a beggar in New York. He said something to the effect that “ Look at that guy….he’s richer than me”. Never a truer word has been spoken. And guess what, the beggar will always be richer in so many ways.

The entry to Barcelos is surprising. Essentially I decided to stay at the first Albergues I came to. When I came upon this for some reason I kept going, then turned a corner and there was the City. I hadn’t seen this coming. My dead reckoning told me I was another 20 or 30 minutes away. Nope….. You have arrived. Barcelos is an historic walled city with a citadel holding court over a substantial river below. This must have been an impenetrable fortress in it’s day. 

I wandered into town looking for a place called INBarcelos. They had advertisements al along the trail. New, rooms and dormitories, best rating ever. When I arrived they had a bed in a small dormitory. My bed is a lower bunk….ha! They always give lower bunks to people over 65…..cha-ching!    Sucka’s!

The city of Barcelos has at least 8 of the roosters representing the miracle of Santo Domingo de Calzada. See CamCamino 2013 Day 11 for a full explanation. Further investigation is warranted and I now wonder if the family involved was Portuguese. Why else would the ‘miracle’ be so venerated here. 

Editors Note: it turns out the chicken came from Barcelos. Really?

After doing my laundry (the cows actually complained) and a quick exploration of the town centre I decided to grab a lite bite and head to bed. No such luck. Portuguese like to eat much later. The best I could do is a ‘hamburger’ and a glass of red wine. The hamburger consisted of a patty, cheese, egg, bun, and mystery sauce. All-in-all exactly what I did not want….but it was all I could find.

Admittedly I was low on energy…after walking around for 40 minutes I capitulated….This would have to do.

Tomorrow I walk to the fabled Casa Fernanda. Recommended by everyone….and I mean everyone ever having walked the Portuguese Camino. John Brierly, the guide author, gushes over this place. I booked it a week and a half ago while I was stuck in a Toronto traffic jam.

I’m really looking forward to this.