It has been determined, by my feet, that I prefer gently rolling hills to steep ones.  the slide of my foot inside my shoe on the steeps is not my idea of fun. But yesterday, I started my day with 5km of the most beautiful gentle rolls you could imagine, through farmers fields and along vineyards. At one point, I passed a field of wildflowers and checked myself to make sure I wasn’t in a Monet painting. (btw, nobody sweats that much in a painting).

Estella, the town at the end of the 5km, was beautiful and sun drenched. I took off my long sleeved shirt for the first time and  vigourously applied sunblock to my leftover burn. And then I started uphill, first two kilometers to a very special public fountain for the pilgrims. See, there are lovely old fountains in every town and village so you can replenish your water supply. This one, though, has two spouts. The one ôn the right is water, the one in the left is wine. Brewed on the premises, actually, and provided by theBenedictine monks who own the vineyard.

I stopped for a seriously odd lunch of salami and almonds. I’m having a hard time with the food on the road, and learned a hard lesson about eating on Sunday in Spain. There ain’t much open until noon. And the bread is a challenge because it’s all white all the time. Anyway, I’m going to switch to meat and cheese and just buy it whenever I see it and hope it keeps.

Anyway, I could feel my blister covers sliding as I cursed the fact that you have to walk uphill To get into any town in this country. I sat down to adjust or reapply them and an unholy mess confronted me. I knew right then that I was going to take a bus somewhere today, especially once I realized that I had run out of the small blister covers. Dudes, I prayed for a town with a pharmacy, but it was not to be.

I stayed at a hostel halfway up a mountain lastnight. It is staffed by international volunteers. Very helpfully, they knew where I could catch a bus and when it was going to come. Sweet! Unhelpfully, I got stuck in a room with six snoring guys, one of whom had a terrible cold to boot. C’est la vie.

Anyway, I spent €3.65 to get on a bus for 32km to Logrono and walked straight to a pharmacy, where I bought big ass Advil  and enough blister products I hope for six days. I kept going til I reached a hotel referenced in my guidebook, walked in and asked for a room for two nights, and almost wept when I saw it has a full sized bathtub. Thank you. I’m going to have a nap, lunch, a bath, another nap, and the. I’m going to see if I can find a pair of trail runners. Because changing shoes might help. It’s maddening, but it might help.

I am going to take today and tomorrow as rest days, and will start back On the trail in Wednesday. It’s a mini vacation from hiking, so my feet can heal. Good times.

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