11/10/14
Haha! The best my knee has felt in three weeks, was after a 1/2 a bottle of wine!!! I guess the trick for me is to just be drunk the whole time!? Best…discovery…ever! Con pan y vino se andar el camino.
La verdad!
CONVOS
To help better illustrate life in Spain, here is a conversation upon arriving in town after a long day. (I love Spain but the cultural differences can sometimes be frustrating.)
The setting- a restaurant in Burgos, Spain, 1pm
-(Me), Hola! Como estas?
(Bartender), Dime.
-Tengo hambre. Hay un menú?
No menú, only tapas.
-Um, well I’m very hungry. I’ve been walking all day and I would like a proper meal.
We only have tapas right now. You want café?  
-Oh, no thank you. (All eyes turn towards me)
You don’t want café?!
-um nah, I don’t drink coffee. (Astonishment spreads throughout the bar. Followed by silence and stares.)
-ok, I’ll come back later this afternoon.
We are closed between 2 and 5.
-what!? But I’m starving! Ok, where is the nearest supermarket, I’ll buy some food.
Around the corner, to the left, cinco minutos.
–  And by 5 minutes you mean like a mile. Thank you, I’ll go there.
But it’s closed today.
-Huh?
It’s Sunday.
– hmmpf…(feeling exasperated) ok, so I’ll come back here at 5, when you open, and I can order something to eat.
No.
-(look of freakin bewilderment)
The bar opens at 5, The kitchen doesn’t open till 7.
oh my god will this never end!!!!!  But sir, I need something now, I’m so hungry and a few tapas isn’t enough food… Oh and the bank is closed so I only have this much money… (I open my hand to show the little change I have.) Can I just have a bottle of water then?
No water. Here is some wine for you. 
(The bartender steps out for a cigarette, and I pour myself a glass of wine.)
If  you  can’t beat em… join em.

Burgos, Spain

Burgos, Spain

NOTES
I’ve started rubbing Vaseline on my feet every night. I think it’s gross but it’s said to be a pilgrim “cure-all” for blisters. To my surprise it’s working fairly well.
I bought gloves in town today. It’s really cold now and my fingers are frozen when I walk. A couple of days I even wore sox over my hands… My god I looked like a crazy person! But I have gloves now so it’s all good.
I walked with a guy from New Zealand for a while and we talked in length about diet and exercise. He convinced me to stop eating wheat and sugar. I must admit, I look and feel amazing! Ive lost some weight and in general I feel more upbeat and lively. The problem is finding things to eat. Spanish food revolves around bread. Every meal.
For lunch, I find a place to sit down – either a park bench, a tree stump in the woods or a concrete post overlooking farm land.I have a grocery bag with almonds, sardines, olives, dark chocolate, boiled eggs, lettuce, tomatoes and maybe a banana if I’m really hungry.
I’m skipping breakfast with no real feelings towards it. For now, I’m fine not eating till noon.
Dinner is tricky. Some albergues have kitchens, in which case I’ll cook potatoes or rice with some meat and vegetables and call it good. (Bam. Protein, healthy carbs and vitamins and minerals from lots of vegetables!) But many places have no cooking facilities, forcing me to eat at a restaurant.

The tapas and food readily available in big city streets remind me of fast food. Not what I’m looking for. So I want to order a good meal, but in Spain they don’t eat until very late… And I want to be in bed by the time kitchens open.

Everytime This happens, it’s an exercise in patience. I’m starving and I want to go to bed, but Spanish dinner doesn’t start till after 7. C’est la vie…
But, all in all I’m really happy with my decision to not eat wheat. It’s a lot easier than I thought it would be.
11/14/14
MORE NOTES
I changed my mind. I’m soooooo hungry! I miss wheat and sugar!!
Camino de Santiago, day 24
The weather is getting colder. But, my blisters are turning into calluses and my knees are getting stronger. I’m so ecstatic over the improvement of my knees and feet! THANK YOU GOD!!!
Every morning is the same. I reluctantly climb out of bed and stare at all my belongings, strewn about the floor. “Ugh… It looks like my backpack threw-up everywhere, it’s such a mess! How am I going to pack all this stuff up again?” I don’t know how I do it, but somehow, everything fits back in my bag. Like magic! Or maybe I’m just really good at packing. Either way…it’s impressive.
What happens when you cut out wheat and sugar from your diet, and decide to try it again?? I ate four plates of spaghetti tonight. Four. It was amazing!
11/15/14
After a rest day in Burgos, I looked at my map said, “ok, lets do 4 days straight and see how many kilometers I can do.” I walked 85km…and it rained every day.
How best to describe this…
Each day this week, I just put my head down and trudged through the mud, the wind, rain and cold. It’s been hard, not gonna lie.
Today, was extremely difficult. The wind blew so hard, I could feel my body struggling to move forward. My center of gravity kept threatening to fall backward due to the strong November gusts.
I’ve also been having trouble getting enough calories – this “no wheat and sugar” idea is getting to me and today, I had no energy to walk. My mind was filled with images of Pop-Tarts, Cinnamon Toast Crunch, and other childhood favorites I was craving. And to top it all off, it started raining again.
Walking in the cold, wind and rain is so demoralizing. I’m already walking in jeans because that’s all I brought and I haven’t seen a pair of rain pants I can afford. So when it rains, I just get soaked.
I started cursing into the wind – swearing at the storm to let out my frustration. I was cold, tired, hungry, and wet. My legs were sore, my fingers were numb and the cold rain pelted my face with a stinging intensity. All I wanted was for it to be over and in that moment, I couldn’t recall the feeling of being warm or happy.
But, in the early afternoon, when all my senses were dulled and hope seemed lost forever, I crested a hill to reveal a small town before me. My prayers had been answered!
I ran (hobbled) into the first albergue I could find, drenched and frozen. I paid the man 5 Euro for a bed and set my things down in the dormitory. The man left and I sat down for the first time in what seemed like ages. It was quiet – the wind and rain was outside and I was safe. My mood lifted instantly!
I peeled off my wet clothes and took a long, hot shower. After, I headed to the store to buy groceries. As I sat in the kitchen eating, I started to gives thanks. “Thank you for my NOW dry clothes, the hot shower, this good food and in about five minutes, I’m gonna take an awesome nap in my warm sleeping bag. Thank you for today.”
I look outside now and the sun is out. What the f***!!!
11/18/14
Awesome couple of days! Yesterday the sun was out all day. The wind had died down and no rain too!!! So excited to be walking in nice weather.
I took a rest day on Sunday, and it made all the difference. My feet are as strong as they’ve ever been. No more blisters! My knee is improving as well. Infact, I felt so good today, I walked 32km. 32KM!!!!!! I have never walked that far in one day in my entire life. I strutted into town this afternoon, hiking poles slung over my shoulder and singing along with my iPod. 32km… I’m a badass!
After talking with many pilgrims about the trials and tribulations of the Camino, I’ve heard that there are three parts to everyone’s journey.

The sun was out today!! And look, there is snow on the mountains to the north.

The sun was out today!! And look, there is snow on the mountains to the north.

First- the physical pain
Second- the mental strain
Third- the pleasure
You have to get through the physical and mental struggles of the Camino before the real enjoyment can be had. Now, after weeks of ups and downs, I feel like I’m getting the hang of this. Right on.
11/19/14
Currently sitting in a restaurant in León, dining on tapas and wine until the kitchen opens… At nine. NINE! 9 o’clock!! Are you f***ing sh***ing me?!?!?! Oh my god I’m tired of everything being closed when I need something. I mean, I walked around for a frickin’ hour asking for an actual menu and got the same answer, “We don’t open till 9.” AAHHHHHR!!!  Exhale Aaron. Just breath buddy. Drink your wine and relax. It’s just frustrating you know? I wanna eat and go to bed.
Anyway… Where was I?… Oh, so I made it to León! The whole time I’ve been walking, I told myself, if I can make it to León, I’m finishing this thing. And now I’m here. I’ve walked roughly 480km and I have maybe 300km to go. An attack of nostalgia struck me earlier as I looked at my map and realized I’m over half way. Wow that’s weird to say.I caught myself daydreaming about finally reaching Santiago. How will I feel? Will I be elated or relieved? What will Santiago look like? I have already been through so much, and seen so much country- I can’t imagine how I’ll feel when I finish my pilgrimage. And the finish line is about two weeks away.
I’m already sad to think about the end.
Side note:I bought nice rain pants for a decent price today. I’m looking goood.

Join the discussion One Comment

  • Elizabeth K. says:

    Hey bro! Glad to hear you’re feeling better and got rain pants! We love you, miss you, and we’re here for you!