Day 9 Sunday Oct. 2/22 Albergue Van Gogh, Zafra

Much soul searching last night. Thanks to the very great kindness of Claire and Antonio here at the albergue, we had a good rest. They cleared out a room they use for storage which has two fold up beds and made it available for us. Cleaned up, rested and then we went for a walk to find the farmacia-closed. Found the Italian restaurant that Claire had recommended and had lunch sitting outside. It was a very busy restaurant and it was the middle of the lunch time between 2 and 4. Off to the Supermercado for a few supplies and then spent the rest of the day resting. I talked a lot with Claire. She is fountain of knowledge of all things Spain so I was able to ask all the questions I’d been pondering. Later, Antonio came with a blood pressure cuff and we discovered Mike’s pressure was up, quite a bit more than pre-camino levels. Next morning, it was back to more normal levels.

Mike was feeling so much better, he sat down to map the stages more carefully to ensure smaller distances that we could more easily manage. I, was sick with a head and chest cold and just slept the hours away.

Now, today, much much self inquiry continued: what do we want to do now? When we went to sleep last night, we thought maybe we’d try to do the next few short stages…4km, 6 km to see how we’d feel but looking at the temps which were heading into the high 80’s, the thick haze hanging over everything (Sand from Africa Claire told us) and with Mike’s heat exhaustion from yesterday, we have decided not to continue walking. We’ve been over and over it, back and forth, trying out different ideas and as Mike just said, “Our fun buzzer has gone off (famous quote by dear friend Darbs).” It’s just not fun any more – too much like work.

We had a long morning coffee with Claire at the albergue. She’s a wonderful listener, and in so doing, worked out some of our personal feelings of being quitters and not continuing. (She herself has completed numerous caminos and knew how difficult this was for us.)

Then we walked down the street, stopping at the first cafe for some fresh squeezed juice and a coffee, all the while discussing and discarding plans. I don’t want to continue walking because it was scary enough having Mike collapse within a town, so I put my foot down. If we’d been in the middle of nowhere, with no shade and no people around, I don’t know what I would have done. Even yesterday, after resting, Mike said he felt fuzzy between the ears as we were sauntering down the shady side of the street.

Later in the day, we moved to a room upstairs in the albergue. We holed up for the afternoon and evening, only venturing out later to find a farmacia for cold meds. A few pics of the park and …..

Every time I came out of the bathroom, I questioned myself….were we making the right decision? Did we try hard enough? Did we do our best?

5 thoughts

  1. So sorry to hear this. I was very much enjoying your pilgrimage from the comfort of my armchair 😙. That said…great wisdom on display here!! Safe travels onward, and I look forward to blogs of your next travels 👍 Thank you again for sharing!

  2. Sounds like good judgement to me! Health is takes precedence. Loved the comment about the fun true!

  3. I know what a difficult decision this was for you two! BUT I KNOW it was the right decision!

  4. May be the end of your Camino, but not the end of your journey. So much cool stuff to see in Southern Spain. Rent a car and explore.

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