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  • purcellcathy

Sleeping, eating and answering nature’s call

We arrived this afternoon in Estella, having hiked about 14 miles on hard packed dirt, rocks and gravel. Yesterday we also hiked about 14 miles with a fairly steep ascent over another mountain and difficult descent and spent the night in Puenta de la Reina.


The level of fatigue we feel when we arrive at our destination each day can not be described, and yet we are all having trouble sleeping. For me, I think the issue is that my body hurts so much that I can't get comfortable.


Eating is also a bit difficult. We get breakfast every day at our hotels and sometimes dinner but lunch we have to find on the way. We never know when we will come upon a town that has a cafe or a market so we often eat the snacks we brought and fruit and wherever else we stole from breakfast. (Ham and cheese sandwich anyone? Yes, they eat them for breakfast.) Dinner when served at the hotel is never before 7:00 and if we are on our own it's hard to find a restaurant that will serve food before 7. When we arrive at our hotel we are tired, hungry and sweaty and staying up until 8:30 to finish dinner feels impossible. Sometimes I just want someone to hand me the requisite ham and cheese sandwich and tuck me into bed. (Where I will lie, exhausted, unable to sleep).


Our other big challenge is finding a place to take care of business. Some days we get lucky and there are numerous bathrooms along the way. Other days, not so much. All I will say about that is my quads are getting very strong, and I have lost all manner of modesty.


So far this has been a very humbling experience, and I am beginning to question the wisdom of this decision but from what I can tell from talking to other pilgrims, this is a very common feeling. When we ask people we meet if they are going all the way to Santiago, those who are always say, "Yes, if I make it." It is not a given for anyone. Many people who set out to walk the whole way suffer injuries that derail that dream. I'm determined not to be one of those people, though as I write this I'm pretty sure I have shin splints.

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