Day 26: Ouch.

Just the facts
Day 26: Arzua to Lavacolla
Distance: 15 miles / 25 km
Time: 4.75 hours
Total to date: 480 miles / 773 km
Aches and pains: More than I can list.

There were times when I wondered how I could walk the next kilometer or climb the next hill.

The were times when I believed I would never reach the next albergue.

There were times when I took a private room in a hostal so I could cry without anyone seeing me.

And there were two days when I wanted to just quit and go home.

Somehow, someway, I managed to finish the kilometer, climb the hill, get to the albergue, stop whining, keep going.

Quitting was never an option.

Then came today. It had begun gloriously. A good night’s sleep, wonderful shady trails, a leisurely stroll. And it all went wrong. I decided to stop at a cafe for a mid-morning snack and instead found myself being carried to the cafe in the arms of a stranger. I don’t know how or why it happened, but I blacked out and did a face plant that could not have been pretty. Now the left side of my face is a mess with two deep gashes and an assortment of cuts, bruises and road rash. Fortunately for me, an ER nurse/pilgrim was nearby and knew what to do. She used the supplies in her kit and as well as those kindly provided by a bicyclist (they are always prepared for disaster) to patch me up.

I rested a long while, then walked another eight kilometers before calling a taxi to take me to a hotel.

Now I have a dilemma.

To receive a Compostela, a pilgrim must walk the final 100 kilometers to Santiago. According to the rules it doesn’t matter how many kilometers you’ve already walked, you must walk the last hundred for a Compostela. I’m not sure why it matters to me, I’m not even catholic, but it does.

I can walk the final ten kilometers and plead my case at the pilgrims office in the morning, or should I say, let the left side of my body plead my case. Or I can go back to the point where I called the taxi and walk to Santiago from there which would add six kilometers to tomorrow’s final walk.  Six kilometers was nothing, until today.

Either way, I’ll be in Santiago de Compostela in the morning.

(No photos today for obvious reasons.)