29 June 2008

Pamplona to Cirauqui

Day 3
6:55 am - 2:00 pm
31 km

I got a late start today and made slow progress due to the steadily expanding and increasingly worrisome size of my blisters. Every night, I drain them with a needle, but they keep coming back stronger than ever the next day, like hair that grows in fuller and darker after you shave it off. Do blisters follow the same principle? On this particular day, I had greater ambitions than I could pull off. I had hoped to cover 35-40 km/day, but I was exhausted by the time I reached the little hilltop hamlet of Cirauqui, so I decided to chuck it in. Plus, it was extremely hot that day, and, though I like the heat, I am not immune to its debilitating effects. I know I'm not mentioning anything terribly interesting as far as what happened to me along the way, but this is largely because, after a year of meeting people and trekking with people and in every way being constantly exposed to different people with different languages and cultures, all asking me over and over where I come from, etc., I have made it a point to isolate myself on the Camino de Santiago and treat it as a proper, personal, pilgrimage, a quiet time at the end of my trip before I once again have to deal with the little, awful difficulties of regular life. Thus, I am trying to do it alone and speak to as few people as possible. I know most of my fellow pilgrims regard this month of walking as a spiritual, life-alterting deviation from their boring and pointless lives back in whiteland, but, obviously, it's pretty run of the mill for me. So I prefer to leave them among themselves to be amazed with how interesting other affluent Europeans are. In the evening, I stayed at nice, private albergue, the only one available. These pilgrim albergues typically cost anywhere from nothing to €9, with this one being at the top end. Martin, a nice Swede who is one of the few people I have been talking to, showed up in the evening, and that was fine. We keep running into each other. He went out, though, to watch the final football match. In Basque country, apparently, the Spanish soccer team is not a hot item, but they did find a place to watch it, and, I later learned, Spain won. Hooray.

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