Blisters and Beds on the Camino de Santiago
Funny how some conversations begin to take a shape of their own! Every day, before hundreds of pilgrims begin to walk their next stretch of the Camino de Santiago, time is taken to tend to their feet.
Blisters – almost all of us get them! They have the power to shape our day, our week, and for some, send us home – our feet literally beaten by the Camino. In bars at the end of the day, the conversations turn to the topic of blisters – how many have you got? how are you tending to them? We pull out our feet, putting them on display – ohhhh, this one is much better – you should have seen it yesterday! At some of the albergues, there is someone there who, for a donation, will tend to the blisters of the pilgrims that present their feet for help. Afterall, the feet are integral to walking the Camino de Santiago!
Some say Vaseline is the answer. Then there are others who say, above all – no vaseline! Do you pierce your blisters or leave the fluid to heal? Many sew a piece of thread into the blister to allow the fluid to continue to drain – I certainly find it more comfortable to walk when the blisters are not full! I have not done this yet, opting instead for the layer of vaseline to save my feet. Whenever I stop, I take my boots off, and sometimes even the socks, to let my feet air and dry. I have had some pretty big blisters, but have seen much worse on others!
It is hilarious to see us – feet out at the bars, each sharing their horror stories. It can go on for hours, each time a new person arrives, the sharing of stories begins again. The feet come back out and war stories are compared!
And then the conversation moves to beds – for the bed situation here on the Camino can get tense at times! Just the other day, I arrived at 12:30 to take the last bed at an albergue. The person in line behind me was sent packing – no more beds! It has been a fear that has driven me on many a day to walk, not stop and reflect, as was my intention! There is no lunch until a bed is secured in my world!
Those who have walked the Camino in years past suggest this has not always been the case. In fact, they had no problems walking into a town, later in the day and securing a bed. They took the time to experience the countryside they were walking through, rest under a tree and ponder life! I have seen only a few people who have done this on my travels – although there does appear to be a change as the first week becomes 2 weeks, and the simple life of the pilgrim has taken hold on more people! But still, each evening in the bar, after the blisters, the topic of beds is raised!
I have taken to buying a phone – a cheap, disposable tool to phone ahead, book a bed and garner a little extra security as I walk, giving myself a few extra moments of contemplation. After all, this is what I have come here for!
For those of you who have walked the Camino before – what has been your experience? Has the race for beds on the Camino de Santiago affected your pilgrimage? What about blisters – having spoken to people who have walked the Camino before, they suggest that each year is different – perhaps the higher temperatures this year has led to more blisters. I have already heard of some of the people I have met giving in to their feet, hoping to come back another time! Each morning and night, I take care of my precious feet – I hope they will get me to Santiago de Compostela!