In Ottawa. Sorry for the prolonged blogging break. For some reason, my iPod refused to let me see what I was typing and I wasn’t up for putting stuff on the internet if I couldn’t see it first.

So, when last I blogged, I was in Burgos. Fun fact about Burgos: not only does it have Spain’s second largest gothic cathedral, it was also the headquarters of General Franco during the Spanish Civil War. Yeah, I’m full of useless information like this.

Anyway, I walked out of Burgos in my new shoes on Monday, feeling fine. That stage is a relatively short one, about 21k. Only one hill, and it didn’t look like a lot of elevation. And you know what? It was a great day. It was a fantastic hike. I saw every single person on the trail that day that I had met before. Allen, the cool couple from England, the Aussies I walked out of Villamayor de Monjardin with. Oh yeah. I saw them all. We bonded. It was hot and blindingly sunny and, of course, I had a sunblock mishap resulting in a truly horrendous back of the leg burn.

That afternoon, around 1:30pm, I rolled into the village at the end of that stage and, are you ready for this? They were already out of beds in the hostel. I got an overflow bed in a building down the street, and you had to walk back to the original hostel to shower. It was good times. They had a third overflow room – the gym of the municipal sports complex, which had blow up mattresses on the floor (but, more bathrooms and shower facilities). So, you give some and you take some. I got a bed at least. I was, however, in the snoriest room EVER. There was a guy in that room, in the top bunk of the bed next to mine, who snored so loud I could feel it vibrating in my chest. I could hear it through my industrial earplugs. The guy had a talent. He was talking to his wife one minute and passed out and snoring the next.

I was not a charitable person the next morning. I really just wanted to hurt him. I wanted to suffocate him with the pillow provided by the hostel. I wanted to hurl sleep apnea related invectives at him. I really needed a good sleep. My traditionally bad foot was all crampy all night long, and my traditionally good but losing a toenail and blistered to shit foot was doing okay. A good sleep would have really helped in the healing.

I was on the road before 7am. Side note: in really really tiny villages like Hornillas (yeah, the name made me giggle, too), there’s a place to eat lunch/dinner (or lunner, if you combine them into one meal like I did a few times), but nowhere to buy breakfast. If you’ve ever slept anywhere near me (like, within a floor), you’d know that I wake up with a stomach that is screaming for food. Guess where the first food location was? TEN POINT EIGHT kilometres away.

At my speed, even on a mostly flat trail, that’s still almost 2 hours. And I had a package of mentos and 1.5 litres of water to get me there.

Let’s recap: Kerry is a pretty good morning person if a) she sleeps; b) she eats within 15 minutes of getting up; c) she caffeinates within an hour of awakening.

Add to the total failure of the above three conditions the following: it was cold and windy (though still sunny) – cold enough to wear my jacket; a wicked sunburn that exploded every time I stopped moving; and a series of new blisters around my existing blisters and yeah. I had dark thoughts.

I spent the next 10 kilometres contemplating my future on the Camino. I had an experience in Burgos which is too personal to get into on the internet, but it was what I was looking for on the trail. It didn’t happen on a trail, but the conditions were created there. But now I was tired, and stressed about finding a bed, and in pain, and really not having a whole lot of fun.

I thought about why I had come to Spain. I asked myself whether or not I had realized it. And I said yeah, I have. And though there are literally hundreds of thousands of people who battle through blisters and pain to finish their Camino. I don’t have to be one of them.

I limped to the next town, made my way to a hotel, literally cried when I realized the shower didn’t work and the bath water that was hot enough to make my feet feel better was like lighting my sunburn on fire, and emailed my sister in law (aka my travel agent). After some back and forth with my Mum who was pushing me to stay on in Europe, I asked Leah to book me a flight home. As soon as I sent the email, I felt better. I felt like a huge weight was lifted off me. My feet still hurt, and I was still cranky as fuck, but I felt better. I made the right decision.

It took 14 hours to get to Barcelona from the middle of nowhere. But Leah got me a lovely hotel room with a giant bed and bedding without holes or stains and no one snoring in my room. Also, the shower worked. And I was totally content.

I spent two days touring around Barcelona with my various foot wounds wrapped and protected. I had a great time. Barcelona has more tourists in it than NYC and Washington combined, I swear. It is LOUSY with tourists. Also, very walkable. And, the subway is really easy to use. I’d totally go back there.

Anyway, I’m home. I’m ready. It’s good. I’m missing a toenail, I’m peeling like an orange, I’m gonna lose another toenail, and I can’t even look at the bottom of my left foot, but I’m good. This was the right trip, and ending it early was the right thing to do.

Thanks for being there with me. And thanks for your moral support!

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