• Ryan Newman

Walking Wounded

Day 26 (Las Herrerias to Triacastela)

Distance: 18.35 miles (29.53KM)

Steps: 41,500

Time: 6 hours, 30 minutes

Total Distance To-Date: 404.14 Miles (650.4KM)

“There is a thin line that separates laughter and pain, comedy and tragedy, humor and hurt.” —Erma Bombeck (Journalist)

Today began with an inspiring ascent up the last major mountain on the Camino. The views were spectacular. Many pilgrims would love to bypass the climbs on the Camino. However, the climbs are by far my favorite terrain on the Camino.

On the other hand, I hate descents. Today, my left knee communicated very clearly that it too hates descents. Unfortunately, today’s route included a very long and steep descent (again!). Even worst, my left knee was suffering. I was in agony—complete agony. It was the first time I worried I might have to end my Camino. However, I am five days away from entering Santiago, so ending my Camino is not an option. I suffered through the significant pain and dragged myself into Triacastela. My first stop (after a much needed shower) was a pharmacy for a knee brace and ibuprofen cream. I am hoping these two items will get me to Santiago somewhat pain-free.

A quick follow up from yesterday’s day blog post. I saw James (the Australian radiologist) at a breakfast stop. His back is causing great pain, so he took today off and took a taxi to the next stop. He also relayed the story that Daniella (lawyer from Mexico City) had a bad allergic reaction to a plant yesterday afternoon. Thankfully, she took a taxi to a pharmacy in a nearby small town. The pharmacist helped address the issue and she was back on the Camino today.

When I saw Daniella today, I told her I blogged about her parents’ Camino story and the serenade. Her eyes filled with tears (of joy). I was moved by the story. Daniella was moved that I was moved. She took down the website address and planned to pass it along to her parents tonight.

There are many walking wounded on the Camino. There are those like me who are really feeling the impact of a month of walking. Also, as the numbers of new pilgrims swells near Santiago, the newbies are feeling the first effects of walking the Camino—blisters and muscle pain.

We entered Galicia today. Galicia is the last of the autonomous regions on the Camino. Galicia is known as o país dos mil ríos, "the country of a thousand rivers" for its free-flowing water. Galicia has its own language and distinctive culture. There are many reminders of Galicia's unique cultural identity: The skirl of bagpipes, the wayside cruceiros (carved-stone crosses), the castro fort-villages of Galicians' Celtic ancestors.

Lesson of the Day: The body of a pilgrim is a fragile temple that needs constant attention and care. One day you are feeling great, the next day you can be dragging your weary body into the next town.

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