I’ve always thought of myself as being a naturally left-leaning person, politically speaking and in other ways too.
As an example, I’ll always take the path on the left-hand side, whenever given a choice.
But today I think I’ve finally realised that I’m actually a left-leaning person.
On today’s stomp from Puente la Reina to Villatuerta, I noticed that I always seem to lead with my left foot whenever going up and down hills.
As well as that, I can get my water bottle from the left-hand pocket of my rucksack and put it back again without breaking my stride, but that just doesn’t seem to work on the right-hand pocket at all.
So, it’s clear that my body favours the left-sided option, just as well as my mind does.
This is Very Bad News for Left Foot.
Already the victim of an awkward shower door in Biarritz a few days ago, five days of hard pounding has finally left its mark.
I have a blister.
It’s on the ball of the foot, high up near the toes and it’s a little feisty at times, but I’ve done all the things you’re supposed to do and it seems to be settling down.
Right Foot has, of course, started smirking again and quietly emphasising its assumed superiority as my “Best Foot”.
The rest of my body generally enjoyed walking in the early dawn light out of Puente la Reina towards an enormous full moon, but was less entertained by a very steep climb and mid-morning temperatures that quickly approached the thirties.
It was also sobered by listening to Fabian the German who was planning to walk about 40km in one day.
He was young. Let’s hope he made it.
Remembering my solemn promise to not be an English idiot and stay out too long in the midday sun, I veered away from Estella, the original target of the day, towards the gorgeously named Casa Magica in Villatuerta, which had the twin selling points of being exactly adjacent to where I was at the time and in having entirely eschewed bunk beds as bedding options.
After three nights in a row on the top bunk, the prospect of getting into bed like an adult again was the clincher.
This was the first time I’d not made it to “the place the book says you should aim for”.
It felt like a small defeat – a sensible decision, but also an acknowledgment of my own limitations too.
But thanks to one of those excellent unexpectedly lovely conversations with people who are not named Lance or Edwin, my decision to slump in a hammock for the afternoon and rest my aching trotters was entirely justified.
The idea of going “off-book” and not getting to the point suggested by someone else each day is now quite obvious and also quite liberating.
For that, thanks to Connie from Ohio.
The remainder of the day has been taken up with fascinating conversations with more American cousins, including 81-year-old Bill.
I also got to show them the Dog:Cat thing on the map of Australia.
That was my main contribution to another great evening on the Camino.
Santiago Apostol, Puente La Reina
Unhelpfully positioned up yet another hill on the far edge of town, four racks of four bunk beds (with other private rooms) in a large building with a swimming pool, reasonably priced, but somehow lacking in charm.
Still no bedbugs and the mosquito bite stuff is doing it’s work for me.
As noted above – Blisters: 1
Trips, Slips and Falls: 0 (0)
Applications of Factor 50: 15 (22)
Filling of Water Bottles: 4 (12)
Acceptance of pathside lemonade stall opportunities: 0 (2)
Where were they when I needed them?
Wrong turns taken: 0 (2)
Number of times “Buen Camino” was said: Declining rapidly now, to about 30
Poncho deployments: 0 (2)
I’ve not walked as far today as before, but I don’t care. So there.