Today was the furthest we have walked with our packs. By the time we arrived my feet were very sore. Tony was also feeling it with a sore heel and hot spots threatening to ripen into blisters.
So today I spent the day climbing up, along and over mesas! Along the way I listened to my Spanish lessons, doing my best to train my ears. I’m getting better with the dialogues on the tapes but when I get the chance for an authentic interaction, Anxiety interferes and I can’t understand a thing! So funny. But with a bit of space and some time to think and respond I’m getting there. At the albergue when I arrived, I was able to ask where could I wash clothes. Baby steps.
So it was a day of thinking again but this time, it wasn’t philosophical or deep. Rather it was about ones’ basic needs. So using a bit of creative license and the metaphor of a train, I’ll share my experience. Every morning the train is at the terminus, but you never know if it will run to schedule. Before breakfast and definitely before you leave the albergue is an ideal schedule. Once you are out on the road, you never know if there will be a train station. And you never know if there is a schedule. And then, just as you forget about worrying, you get the feeling that a train is coming! You need to find the train stop… quickly. But there are none. Only miles of exposed path and then … a grove of trees. It’ll do. It is the next best thing to the train station. So with resolve, off I go, quickly. Checking I’m not visible, I get down to business! Fear of being seen adds a degree of stress to the exercise as does the fact that the knees are now unable to bend. I force them. It is at this stage, once a little bit of relief has arrived, that you take a moment to take in your immediate environment. You discover slowly, as you can’t quite believe it, that you are in the middle of multiple, recent and historic train crashes. There are derailed train carriages all around you. And, as a act of homage to civilized behaviour, each carriage is asymmetrically festooned with white but stained tissue paper. Everywhere. Many, many others have been here before you.
Taking the high moral ground, I was outraged! How could they do this? Have they no shame? Why didn’t they have a plan, a sustainable method to save the environment? Well, you may ask, do I?
Well, actually I can smugly say I do. I do have a system. It includes rubber gloves, biodegradable plastic bags, and a train shed…. a bright orange ex-Gatorade powder container. The perfect size vessel to truck out the train carriage and it’s decoration. When I get to town, it is a simple process of disposing the train carriage in a public bin.
So I can proudly say that my planning has paid off, multiple times (!), as my train schedule is all over the shop.
So, in summary, there is a problem on the Camino. No public toilets and lots of human litter.