Tender Mercies

Tuesday, October 20 – Day 41

I was dragging this morning. I woke up at 8 and didn’t get on the road until 9. As far as I know, I didn’t leave anything behind that wasn’t on purpose.

I was feeling good yesterday, but after the long day and running around town at night, I’m feeling it today. I have been walking for 41 days, and I’m definitely feeling it. I’m glad it’s not over yet, but I will be ready for it when it is. Well, physically ready, at least. I am really, really looking forward to curling up in my bed and being off my feet.

There was a pilgrim church on the route, and open, so I stopped in.


I’ve gotten lost leaving relatively small French cities. It was pretty bad leaving Logroño. The way was not well marked at all.

At one point you go over a little bridge and start walking through a park. I swear that park is like 5k long. I passed tons of people coming the other way. I said Hola to everyone, and most of them responded “Buen Camino” back. It was really nice! The park was like a huge dog park and there were so many dogs out playing. I watched this one man trying to walk his dog while another dog was trying to play with him. He eventually gave up and unleashed his dog so they could roll around. So many happy, happy dogs. It made me miss my Moo (Maddie). I wonder if she will want to cuddle at all, or if she’ll just demand that I play with her.

There was a also a mural along a wall that went through a tunnel.  From the way it was done, it was hard to tell if it was created by painting over tagging that was already there, or if the whole thing was planned.

This made me absolutely laugh.  There’s this small abandoned building that someone wrote, “albergue comunal” on it.  A man saw me laughing and taking the picture, so he looked and laughed too, obviously getting the joke, and said, “Buen Camino!”

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It took two hours to completely walk out of the city and out of the park. That is a big city, and I’m sure it’s not even the biggest I’ll be walking through. Spain is very, very different from France.

I was feeling tired today. My feet hurt pretty badly. Angie and Adam had mentioned that the Meseta is starting soon, so that would be a good time to go farther. I don’t think I can. I think it’s time for me to slow it down a little bit. I will be nicer to my feet if possible.

It started out fairly warm and I didn’t have my jacket, but it got colder and wind picked up, so the jacket came on. It was cold enough I even thought about gloves a few times.

I went through Navarette, and the church was open! I paid the 1 E to light the church. Holy gold. The churches in Spain are so ornate. They seem to be either very plain, or over the top crazy with gold. While I was in the church, Mickey came in! He’s stopping in Navarette for a day because he tweaked his back a bit.

I stopped in a little bar to use the bathroom, and I bought a muffin. The muffin was delicious. Everything tastes delicious on the Camino. I met Martina. I had seen her now and then in France, but I was never in a situation to actually talk to her. Now we know each other’s names.

Today was mostly walking through vineyards and along the side of the freeway.

I stopped for a few breaks when I could to rest my feet. I spent most of the day thinking about whether I should get rid of my old shoes or continue to carry them for longer. It was nice to have them in the rain, but my pack is only getting heavier. I think I’m starting to feel some aches and pains I didn’t have before. My lower back/hip problem hasn’t been bothering me, but I don’t want it to start again, and the last thing I need is for a muscular back problem. The problem is, I don’t know if the new shoes are actually better or not. I think they’re better, but I don’t think they’re more comfortable. The old ones, though, have rips in the side that let pebbles in, and dirt. I’m not sure what to do. I’d better make a decision soon, though. I don’t need to be carrying all this extra weight.

Yesterday was my neice’s birthday, so I had tried to call and talk to her, but she was in school. I got to talk to Barbie for a bit. I told her about the smushed penny machines and how happy it made me to find them. She said it was like a tender mercy, and I agree. I was thinking, wouldn’t that be amazing if I walked around the corner in the middle of this vineyard and found a smushed penny machine?? Yeah, that didn’t happen, but something better happened.

I crossed the bridge into Najera and made a decision to go to the nearest Albergue instead of a farther one. I realize that most people probably go to the closer one, but I didn’t really care. I paid my 10 E, and was taking my shoes off, and the shoe place is right next to a cabinet where they have things for sale, and guess what I saw staring me in the face? Miam Miam Dodo! That is definitely a tender mercy. I can’t even believe it. I am still going to try albergues now and then, but I’ve just decided I’m going to go over budget, and I don’t even care. It’s only money, and I need to sleep. I am so, so grateful to have my MMDD.  When I pointed to it, she said, “it’s in French,” and I said, “oui!”

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This albergue has maps on the wall and pins for pilgrims to mark their homes.  The hospitalera said the maps are just from this year.  I was the only one from Dayton.

I was on my bunk when Amanda came into the room!  The crazy girl decided to walk 40k today just to see if she could.  She walked from Viana to Najera, basically just walking straight through Logroño.

At one point I was walking down the stairs, and it was more of a slow hobble.  Another pilgrim saw me and said, “the pilgrim walk of shame.”  And I said, “Oh, no, there’s no shame.  NO SHAME.”  Amanda, however, even after her 40k day walked perfectly normally down the stairs.  She said it hurt, but it didn’t look like it did.  Oh, to be young.  And I’m young compared to a lot of people here!  I don’t know how some of these 70 year olds do it.  It’s very impressive.

Amanda and I went to dinner and actually found a place that used fresh veggies in their food.   I had pasta salad, and it was the most delicious ever.  Then I had meatballs and tomato sauce, and I was very surprised it didn’t come with fries.  Then ice cream for dessert.

It’s a full room of 8 tonight, so it should be interesting, but I know tomorrow will be ok, because I have my MMDD!

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6 Comments

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  1. Wow. That is a LOT of gold!

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  2. YAY for Tender Mercies! SO glad you found MMDD!

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  3. Yay! (I just saw the other day that “Miam Miam Dodo” means something like “yum yum sleep.” That’s fun.)

    That is a cool mural. Huh.

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  4. So glad you finally got your copy of MMDD!

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  5. Yay for tender mercies! So glad you got your MMDD.
    I need to catch up on your blog!!!!
    I love you!

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  6. Holy gold Spanish church!!

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