Almost the minute I pressed “post” on my last blog, things started to go a tad pear-shaped. First, the yoga class got cancelled and rescheduled to clash with dinner. Then I spent the princely amount of 3 euros on a dryer for my best socks and a T-shirt, but they remained stubbornly wet. The socks are called 1000 mile socks and you can get your money back if you develop a blister while wearing them, however, they were so expensive (for a pair of socks) that I only bought one pair and reckoned I’d make do on shorter walk days with normal cheapo socks, which isn’t turning out to be my best idea. After the socks, the albergue owner announced that there would be no coffee or breakfast in the morning and we would need to walk the 4km into Estella to find first sustenance. Dinner was good, but my ankle was throbbing so much that I didn’t sleep much and I wasn’t at all bothered when my room-mates (some South Koreans with whom I could communicate using Google translate) started moving about at 5.30.
I should have already learned from the events of the past year that there are some parts of my health that I can’t control by just ¨powering through¨and pretending everything’s dandy. I should also have learned to listen to Dra. Anna Pink who has sufficient brains to treat lots of different species with calm confidence, so, when she said ¨stop, have a rest day …¨what in heaven’s name made me think it would be fine to trot on for another couple of dozen kilometers. Sometimes I make myself exceedingly annoyed!
I staggered out of Casa Magica and limped the 4km into Estella in search of breakfast. The town, also called Lizarra, is absolutely beautiful, definitely somewhere I would fancy coming back to for a weekend. However, I wasn’t in the mood for much sight seeing, it was freezing cold with a sharp wind and there were no cafes open yet. I carried on, but even I couldn’t pretend to myself I was going to make another 15km today. So far I’ve walked 134km with my 9kg back pack, but when I saw a bus draw up with Pamplona – Logroño via pueblos on the front, I couldn’t resist.
¨Do you go to Los Arcos?¨
¨Si, 1.75 euros.¨
I know, it was a total wimp out, but my guide book said that Los Arcos had some good albergues where I might be able to rest up for a day, AND it had a health centre.
The 10 minute journey deposited me beside an open cafe, things were looking up. I phoned the albergue Casa de la Abuela and they said I could have a bed for both tonight and tomorrow. Making that reservation straight off was my way of forcing myself to have a rest day even if I felt a bit perkier later on. I could leave my backpack at the albergue but I couldn’t go inside until 2pm so I went off in search of the health centre.
It was closed. ¨When will it be open?¨I asked an elderly gentleman. ¨Mayo, o seguramente Junio.¨
I continued to wander around the small town, looking at the many ducks and wondering what to do to keep warm for the next couple of hours. The air was so cold that it made the inside of my nostrils feel like they were breathing in icicles. I found myself opposite a sign for a physiotherapist with a mobile number to whatsapp for appointments. I didn’t hesitate. She would see me at 13.45, I arrived a bit early as I had nowhere else to go and sat reading all the literature in her waiting room. It informed me she was a specialist in pelvic floor physiotherapy, especially fecal and urinary incontinence and prolapses. Apart from pregnancy physiotherapy there didn’t seem to be anything else she was advertising, so I was praying she didn’t have a foot phobia.
She asked me how many babies I’d had, raised an eyebrow, and eventually agreed to deal with the bit of my anatomy I felt needed most attention. She worked on my ankle for quite a while, diagnosed an over-stretched ligament, strapped it up and instructed rest for at least a day and then, ¨poco a poco¨ but to keep the dressing dry and in situ for 4 to 5 days.
As the hymn singing doesn’t seem to be producing much needed divine intervention at the moment, I fished out my Peter Rabbit 50 pence piece given to me by the very wonderful Heather Whitehouse before I left. Peter Rabbit 50 pences are rare enough (Google it if you don’t believe me), but before this one left Scotland, Heather had it sent to a white witch of the Highlands to give it luck for my journey – how incredibly cool is that?! So, Sage of Scotland, wherever you are, please activate that spell right now as I can hack resting for one day, but after that I need to get on to Logroño which is another 27.9kms with a few pesky mountains in the way.