Chafo De Santiago - Day 2

Like most chapters of this haphazard journey, my level of planning for the Camino De Santiago was virtually nonexistent. Not only had I lumbered across to rural Spain armed with an array of useless and weighty items including a denim jacket and laptop computer, I also failed to supply the core basics. Bereft of a sleeping bag, I dozed last night in my beachtowel – unwashed since the early days of Edinburgh and damp from the post-45k-chafe shower. Despite the filthy, moist consistency of my bedding I slumbered like some deprived narcoleptic who’d just fought tooth and nail to sail through fourteen straight hours of ‘Antique Roadshow’. I could have slept on a bed of nails. Or teeth, probably.

A middle aged Spaniard woman in the bunk next to me named ‘Monterossa’ stroked my ego considerably last night, gesturing to me Spanishly with a glint and affectionate squint, uttering the words ‘El Guapa…El guapa’. Initially a little down on myself thinking she meant that I bore a likeness to El Guapo, the sweater donning son of a motherless goat from seminal flick the Three Amigos - fortuitously, through the channel of a translator she was declaring that i was a very beautiful man, certainly fit to court her 24 year old, leggy Barcelonian daughter. Monterossa was part of a small crew of Spaniards, ambling their way along the Camino for the utmosth time, well planned and in style. As well as ‘Guapa’, they took to calling me ‘Wallaby’, which neither offended nor thrilled me.

All confidence gained from completing the first round yesterday arvo was shot to Spanish shit this morning as I hobbled from the dorms to the bathroom. Imagine not exercising for a good four months and then one day attempting a decathlon. You forget to stretch, you drink red wine, go to sleep in a filth towel and think everything’s fine, only to wake the next day unable to walk, for the pain in your feet, knees, back, and most instensely, hips and buttcheeks makes you feel foirty years older than you actually are. The only nice thing I had to say about this morning was that my chafing metamophosed from a deep sangria to a shade of mauve taupe. The woman at the ‘Farmacia’ last night must have thought I was an outright sex criminal as I gestured furiously around my groin region asserting the word ‘cream’.

For most, Roncevalles to Cizur Menor was a three day endeavour. I had smashed it in one, and smashed myself in the process. My body ached like it had never ached before. El Sol began to rise as I lumbered through lush fields of yellow Dandelions, grinding my hips and cheeks in order to get my weight up the inclines and alleviate the sting of my blistered-up bunions. Ginteras, the smartass, all organised with his 8kg pack, passed me not long after and overtook after a brief, monotonous Baltic chat. Gint’s conversation face sported the type of expression that suggested concern and a hint of dementia. I reached the top of the hill and sat. I was rooted. It was becoming very clear that I was a fool to have walked as far as I did yesterday. I had only another twelve kilometres to go to Puetre La Reina, but this seemed like an absolute eternity. At a snail’s pace, I hobbled along. A German old timer with scally cap and ski poles took over and burned off into the distance. I was the demoralised, Acme smashed Coyote. Everyone else, a smartass middle aged Road Runner.

I swore to St James that as soon as I got to Puerte La Reina I would pack my stuff and get the hell outta there. This walk was impossible and I couldn’t go on. I had reached the sort of ‘all-over’ pain that shifts your brain into sheer delirium. It’s not healthy. You begin laughing and talking to yourself between groans and random noises, then assume the stride of a Notre Dame huncher and a run of the mill backstreet wino.

I made it to Puetre La Reina, lining up with eighty odd pilgrims in the line for the Albergue. Arriving just before siesta, I was able to purchase some goods from the Supermercado and cooked myself a feast. The urge to leave this madness was slipping. Something was telling me to keep going. I reconciled that I’d wake up tomorrow and give it another crack. And if I still felt like sin then I’d pack it in for good.

‘In a way, each of us has an El Guapo to face. For some, shyness might be their El Guapo. For others, a lack of education might be their El Guapo. For us, El Guapo is a big, dangerous man who wants to kill us’
- Lucky Day.

My El Guapo was this whole bastard walk and bugger me if that son of a motherless goat was going to have me yet.


Matti Rose said...


the bigger the bottle the better, apply liberally downstairs at every opportunity and you should be good to go.

keep up the excellent writing

Melissa said...

Talcum will only go clumpy with sweat! Cam reading your blog has made my day today keep walking you cn do it DOOL!!!!!