The other day I made a drastic decision: I started to walk in flip-flops. This was in an effort to combat my nagging arch problems, and it worked perfectly. I walked 30k in flip flops, in the rain, without a problem. Though I guess I shouldn't say completely without a problem, because the downside of walking 30k in flip flops in November in northern Spain is that you're freezing, and I've felt a little bit under the weather today.
In addition to new footwear I've started a new walk/work routine because, as my friend Jenny put it, I was hemorrhaging funds. When you don't think about how much you're spending, you tend to spend a lot. And since I want to come out of this walk not destitute, I've started to up the hours. This basically means that I work a little in the morning, walk most of the day, and work a good chunk in the evening. As I've said before it's lame to have to work but if I wasn't working I wouldn't be doing this and the sad reality is that many times in the evenings there's not a whole lot else to do.
To be fair, this is not quite true in Colungo, where I currently am, a town of about 2,000 people and home to the nicest hotel owner on the planet. This woman talks to me like she's known me her whole life, tracks me down to remind me I can turn on the heat if I get cold, and urges me enthusiastically to check out the fossilized dinosaur prints on the edge of town, which I did. I didn't really want to walk anymore after walking most of the day and feeling like I had a bit of a cold, but the 6-year-old paleontologist inside me was screaming, "You better go check out those prints, jerk." And it was cool and I'm so glad I went. I'd never stood inside the paw print of a Sauropod before.
The Camino, like anything else in life, can become a routine. You wake up, you eat, you walk all day, you eat, you hang out, you work (in my case), you eat, you sleep, and you do it all over again. And again and again and again. But there are always shining glimmers of beauty that break up the routine, like the conversation I had with a Cuban woman last night, her accent making me feel like I was wandering the sweltering streets of Santa Clara; the horses that I stopped to pet today when I slowed down to look at them and they came trotting over to me; and of course the lady in the hotel today. And of course any routine is what you make of it. And the breathtaking sea views will never get old.
Some more photos:
On the way to Santander.
Battered but not beaten.
San Vicente de la Barquera.
This was supposed to be a video.
What I undoubtedly look like.
Christmas present from mom pays sweeping dividens.