Writing from Salcedo – Day 27

My post is a day later because I was utterly drained last night, both physically and mentally. It was the hardest day of my camino and one where my coping skills were tested like never before. It would also bring delicious homemade treats, another girl educated in Africa, kindness, spectacular countryside and a lesson in perspective.

Days on the Camino – 27

Kms – Today 33 kms.

Starting point today – O Cota, Spain.

End of the day – Salcedo, Spain.

Number of girls in Africa educated – 24

Total funds raised so far – $7225.00. Goal is $10 per km so $7,690.00 just $465 to go!

If you’d like to contribute you can do so here.

Frances Antonia – Do it in a dress.

Thanks for the help Kimmy from the Women Who Hike team.

Accommodation – The most delightful Albergue. Albergue Turístico Salceda. This is a family run Albergue and they are the best cooks, hosts, publicans … you name it! I had the BEST pilgrim meal here. The rooms are clean, modern and spacious. You’ll probably need to book this one. They have private rooms and dorms. We took a twin room (€23.50 each).

Food highlight – Finding a German bakery on the camino! I’ve never called myself a sweets person but on this camino I’m becoming one.

And then there was that dessert that was part of the three course pilgrim meal … lemon mouse with quince.

Word/s of the day – Exhaustingly challenging.

Last night I went to bed early feeling tired and a little fevery. I’m starting to feel a bit washed out and perhaps I had a little heat stroke from the day before.

Unfortunately I didn’t get to sleep well in our O Coto accommodation on account of another attack of bed bugs! Lucky this time we were in hotel sheets and our packs were far from the beds so no chance of taking them with us. That saved us hours of drying sleeping bags and washing everything in heat like last time. I explained to the owner via google translate in the morning but I’m not sure she took it seriously. I might have to leave a google review, it’s not fair to fellows hikers/pilgrims and hotels need to have responsible practices. So for now I’m back on the anti histamines.

That was the least of my worries though because before we’d even walked a few kms a niggle from the day before in my right shin was starting to annoy me. Within a few hours the left shin started too and quickly became worse than the right! Every step was like stepping into daggers. It was excruciating.

A walking day of 30kms that normally takes us 6-7 hours took us nearly 11. It was slow going, we were forced to take many breaks. I was close to tears a few times – sheer frustration (and pain). The panadol and ibuprofen wasn’t holding it. I didn’t feel like myself and I didn’t know this body I was walking in. I’d been walking so strongly and now all of a sudden my capacity was completely restricted.

At about 5pm I checked my inbox and look what I found from my dear friend Liz!

Today was dedicated to Fran.

An adventurer.

A free spirit with nomadic tendancies.

A great advocate for social justice.

A mother of four fabulous kids.

A fabulous mum (happy mother’s day).

Lover of great food.

A pretty damn good hiker with great legs.

A wondrous spirit.

Great blog writer.

A Camino walker … smashed it

I can’t tell you how beautiful it was to read Liz! It’s hard to remember how far you’ve come in the days past when you’re in the thick of pain or discomfort. You reminded me that this was just one day! I need this sometimes in normal life too.

My sister was ever so supportive. Kind soul that she is. Trying to distract me with million dollar questions and hand feeding me chocolate. White choc. of course!

As we were getting close to our Albergue me at a snail’s pace, wincing with each step (I’d even pulled the sticks out to try) a couple of young Spanish guys passed us. I thought oh gosh I hope they don’t give our room away to these guys, it’s getting late!!

As we neared the street where our Albergue was I said to Kris to go ahead and check in. When I saw her coming back out towards me from the Albergue gates I thought oh shit they’ve given our room away. My plan was to cry and ask them to take me somewhere with a bed. I wouldn’t have been turning it on either. Those tears were at the ready … I was spent!

As it happened those Spanish guys had just arrived and had been given our room … but not in time to unpack so the owner told them they couldn’t have the room. Don’t worry they were fit and moving fast they would have found a new room no problem. Never before have I been so grateful for my sister and her pre-booking of our accommodation!!

I don’t write this for you to feel worried or pity me – I’m fine. Truly. I have walked over 600 kms without a break. Something gave. Many hikers have walked through pain much earlier than me. It was my turn. We all get a turn at pain on the camino and in life. Physical and/or emotional.

That doesn’t mean it was easy, today was hard, bloody hard and that feeling of being in a different body on the trail is weird. I was so frustrated and at times disappointed with myself. But that’s pride right? And now I realise I was looking at it the wrong way. I shouldn’t let my pride make me feel less … but I should let it feel like more. I should feel proud about how far I’ve come not let my pride allow me feel disappointed in myself because I couldn’t walk at full capacity today .

Tomorrow is a new day and the one where we will walk towards Santiago. Towards a break!

Buen Camino,

Fran xx

5 thoughts on “Writing from Salcedo – Day 27”

  1. Dear Fran,
    What a beautiful and so honest post, I was up so early yesterday for Mother’s Day and was desperately looking forward to reading, all day I kept checking and then I started worrying about what could have happened.
    Sounds like a challenging day for you but happy that you decided not to be too hard on yourself.
    I have loved reading every word from day one and have found it inspiring in so many ways.
    Everything Liz said was true and what a wonderful way to teach your children about making a difference to others.
    Look forward to seeing you in Melbourne again one day😊
    Good luck for the rest of your adventures xx
    Ps. Lily misses Zoe so much

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hello Kari!!!

      I am so sorry it took me so long to reply. Thank you so very much for your kind words and super generous donation. I never know who is reading my blog and what a beautiful surprise to realise you are on the other end of my stories ;) I have kept up on your news via Liz. How brilliant that you are living in her house for a bit. Must be an amazing experience … I dream of a garden like that! We will be in Melbourne again one day … our house is still waiting for us in the same spot. I will pass on a hi to Zoë, she still talks so fondly of her friends and time at CPS.

      Nice to be in contact again.

      Fran xxx


  2. I was cheering along with lizjeff’s comment in the previous post too. So true. A super effort yesterday Fran, and sis’
    Oh I hope your walk into Santiago is magic; can’t wait for that post!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Nothing like delicious German pastries to feed the slightly tainted soul. As you say, it’s one day in what has been an epic journey and you will be in Santiago today. Super excited for you both and you both should be super proud.
    Shin splints (if that’s what it is) might be your shadow for a few days yet. So painful. Take care of those ‘super’ legs Fran and enjoy your rest in Santiago.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Hey Fran, wow you did well to keep going, brave and strong I’d say. Does sound like shin splints … excruciating so take your last day slow too. Thank goodness for gorgeous kristy alongside you.
    I’m so excited for you both to be reaching Santiago and for those girls who will receive an education because of you. I’m slightly flat myself at your adventure ending as it’s been so so wonderful following your journey so thank you again for sharing it all and allowing us all to immerse ourselves in it a little.
    Rest up once your there dear friend and celebrate your triumphs and your beautiful closeness with that sister of yours.

    Liked by 1 person

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