Day 10: Logroño – Nájera

I absolutely hated today (and the day’s not over yet). 

My feet are swollen (from the heat), it’s way too hot (the two German youngsters with the digital thingy, measured 41 degrees on the way today), and my mood is kak (also really, really miss my boys).

Yesterday afternoon, in Logroño, my feet really started swelling – I basically didn’t have ankles. Early evening I popped into the ‘farmacia’ to get some more Vaseline (yeah, I’m addicted), and the knee quard I should have bought before I even started – my right knee has always given me problems. I told the lady at the counter about my swollen feet, and her verdict was that I was taking in too much water! Apparently, I’m losing salt (through perspiration), and not doing enough to replace it – water, on its own, is apparently not the solution to dehydration. She suggested that I increase the volume of Rehidrat I take in, and also ensure I adjust my diet to increase my salt intake. I eat a bit of nuts everyday, but she reckons tuna (from a can) is the easiest way to get enough salt (and cheese, apparently).

The swelling was slightly better this morning – it took some effort, but I could at least get my feet into my hiking boots.
Strange, besides my feet, my left hand (only the left one) also swells. I have a leather band that I wear around my left wrist – I can normally wrap it around my wrist 5 times before tying it, but now I can’t even get it around 4 times.

So, anyway, I left shortly after 06:00 this morning. Logroño is the first place where I found it difficult to follow the route markers – they are few and far between, and not very visible.
There are a few reasonable climbs out of Logroño (it’s a big place – by the time you leave it behind, you’ve already done 5km’s), and then you walk mostly through vinyards. The area reminded me of the Cape Winelands.

It’s more than 12km to the first town, Navarette, so one needs to manage your energy and water supply. 
Just out of Logroño I met up with Alicia, the Italian girl I’ve seen every so often. She walked with me to Navarette. 
She could see that I was struggling to motivate myself, that I just not wanted to walk today, and did her best to motivate and encourage me. At some stage she said, ‘come on, Andreas (what I’m mostly called here), you can do this, I’ve seen you do it!’
As I was progressing very slow, I thanked her for the company, but suggested she moves along – it was now very hot, and Nájera another 16km’s to go.

I struggled on until the little hamlet of Ventosa, about 10km’s from Nájera. When I stopped at the village square to top-up my water, Alicia was waiting with bread, ham and cheese, and a bottle of wine. She made us lunch, and I must say, her company lifted my spirit considerably.
She’s a very kind person indeed.

After lunch we walked on in the blazing sun – it really takes everything out of you.
Upon our arrival in Najéra I told her that tonight I need a private room. We parted ways, as she wanted to stay at the municipal albergue.
But now we are having a fabulous lunch, as she insisted we meet for lunch: ‘you sleep alone, that okay – you eat alone, that not okay’, she said.

To take some strain off our feet tomorrow, Alicia has booked us a service that will take our bags ahead to our albergue tomorrow – we’ll therefore be able to walk with lighter day packs. I think it will go a long way in allowing my feet some time to rest. More and more pilgrims are talking about giving the Meseta (Spain’s dry, hot part) a skip due to the heat, but I really want to do it. We should reach the Meseta in about 4 days, and finish it by the 20th. I need my legs and feet to be strong.
I don’t mind carrying my backpack – until now, it hasn’t been a problem – and I’ll do so again after tomorrow. For interest’s sake, though: for about R1500 you can have your luggage transported, all along the route, from start to finish. There really isn’t a ‘right’ way to do the Camino – everyone does it their way, and I think this is a great service for those who opt to have their luggage transported. Pilgrims who make use of the service have mentioned to me how professional and efficient this service is.

I now plan to take a nap, and then have dinner around 20:00, when it’s cooler. Today must have been around 31km’s – I am completely drained. Tomorrow should be around 23km’s, and according to the map legend, it should be mostly level ground.

There really is a lot of discussion about how inaccurate the distances in some guide books are. This is a huge problem for both people with limited time on the Camino, and also as one needs to plan according to what you and your body can do – an extra 2 or 3 km in a day may not sound like much, but if you’ve already done almost 30km’s, and you need your body to keep doing this for 43 days, it is crucial that you have accurate info.

Anyway…my mood prevented me from taking many photo’s today. I had to just look down and keep putting one foot in front of the other.

We all have days in which the universe sends us an Alicia. I needed one today!

Buen Camino!
Andries

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