What a long and tiring day! I took the night train to Ponferrada, which deposited me at the train station in Ponferrada at 4 in the morning! I wrote in my journal, prayed the prayers of Benedict, and at 6 trudged up a long hill to the Albergue (the nicer of the pilgrimage inns). 50 people sleep in one room, in cots, and as I walked in, they were all coming down to fix breakfasts quickly in order to be out on the road. I watched with mouth wide open, taking in the commotion, finally asking around 8:30 if I could get my first stamp of my credential (you have to have the stamps and have walked 100KM to be a true pilgrim), and I was soon on my way.
My left heel had been bothering me with my walking shoes, so I had popped the blister in Madrid, and thought I´d taken care of it. On the train ride up to Ponferrada, the right heel also started to feel hot. By the time I finished a good stretch of the road, my left heel was bleeding through the mole skin, and they both hurt as I walked. I ducked into the Farmacia, got bandaids that were more adhesive, and put on Vaseline ointment...and my Chacos (sandals). That worked for a mile or two until the bandaids now kept slipping off. New friends gave me another protection, and they´ve held up better, though the strap in the back of the shoe brings it down over time.
The rest of the body is feeling fine! Spirit is good! Your prayers, friends and family, matter. So, um, pray for healing!
Finally: the weather is fine, the scenery beautiful (wine growing area and lots of little and old villages), and the camraderie is starting to happen. I am becoming one of ¨those pilgrims.¨
Pilgrim peace, Brett