However, one rest day I really don’t want to ditch is Leon. To make it on time I’ll need to push Clarisa on her birthday tomorrow to Carrion de Los Condes and ensure we complete a Brierley page and stay on track! Nothing beats getting up at 5am for a 23k walk on your birthday right?
Today’s walk from Itero was dusted off in four hours and, apart from a sprinkler gauntlet run/shower, was rather uneventful. The last section of today’s walk ran alongside the Canal de Castilla and with some shade, provided some rest bite from the relentless midday sun.
1) Compeed – It’s useless on already formed blisters, in fact worse than useless, it makes them bigger and creates new smaller blisters around the original blister. It ruins your socks as in the heat of the spanish summer plus general walking friction they simply melt and removing them is incredibly painful and messy. If you’re unlucky enough to be super hot and place a compeed plaster on a blister it’s likely the melted plastic will rip off your blister causing yet more pain. Solution: simple, much cheaper, workaday plasters; snip to fit!
2) Shoes – ‘You’re on camino!’ I complained and bitched and whinged about my 8 blister feet from Najera to Burgos and walked countless Kms in complete agony until finally I simply threw my shoes away at a cafe and walked the remainder of the section in my flip flops.
Everyone will tell you ‘suck it up, you’re on camino’ when you speak of your hellish pain. Do NOT listen!
Walking the camino is not a torturous trial IF you have the right footwear on. My feet are now a size 8 (from 7 pre-camino) and I’ve now bought regular trainers with gel insoles. In the 4 walking days since the swap all my blisters have healed and I no longer use my walking poles as crutches to carry me to the next town. Oh – and change your socks! Bring four pairs of socks and one pair of pants if its a toss-up! On camino, socks trump pants.
3) Sustenance – Don’t try to walk 15k without eating. Don’t skip a meal, don’t fail to bring food with you and eat as many bananas as you can without throwing up. Bananas are the food of champions, chow down with gusto and you’ll feel the energetic difference each day. Fill your water bottles to the brim and when you see a font drink as much as possible from your bottle and refill. Peeing in public is nothing to be scared of.
4) Sleep – more essential than any of the other tips; sleep is everything. Your body needs sleep to repair itself and trying to walk a day on a couple of hours sleep is simply the most miserable experience you can have on camino, worse even than walking on 8 oozing blisters! Sleep everywhere and at every opportunity and you’ll be grateful you did.