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Camino de Santiago, Day 35 & 36: El Acebo to Ponferrada

Shrine on the side of a house.

Shrine on the side of a house on the Camino de Santiago.

Jamie and I met for coffee in El Acebo.  We decided to walk together.  After a few downhill miles which are far harder for me than uphill due to my “ginocchios“, we stopped at a hotel in the middle of nowhere where we had eggs and listened to Harry Connick Jr. singing the oldies.

Yesterday’s long walk caught up with me and new blisters formed in new places.  This made the downhill walk on slippery rocky trails especially difficult.  The temperature reached 90 degrees and there was simply no way to escape the heat.  Jamie went ahead.

Vineyards began to appear again.  And roses.  So many roses in full bloom.

By the time I limped into Ponferrada I pretty much felt broken.  The blisters made every step a stinging agony.  But, on the bright side, pain kept me totally in the moment!

We had walked 16.1 kilometers (10 miles).

In Ponferrada, I found Jamie in an outdoor cafe sitting across from a castle.  I didn’t care about the castle.  All I wanted was for my feet to be off the ground.  We booked a hotel online with coffee shop wifi and I limped the three blocks to my refuge.  I plopped on the bed and within an hour discovered that my “webmaster”, while moving this site to a new server, had deleted almost every post I had written about the Camino.  I was devastated.  Jamie asked me to have faith that she would find the posts.  I simply couldn’t muster up faith.

We stayed in a hotel in Ponferrada another day and I stayed in bed with the sheets over my head.  A depression came over me that seemed so total.  All the positive realizations that I had experienced in the prior weeks seemed so distant.  I felt ashamed that I was so easily brought down.  I didn’t understand.  Jamie found me a falafel sandwich and that was the bright spot of the day.  My feet, enrobed in a thick coating of Vaseline for 24 hours, healed quite quickly.

These two days felt like a test and I’m not sure if I passed or failed or if it was a no-grade class.  Time will tell.

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