Picture the scene.
I had walked 25km on a super-hot day from O Cebreiro to Triacastela. It was June 2012 and it was my penultimate day before I made my way home. Myself and my German friend, Sabine, arrived in Triacastela pretty late and most of the albergues were full up. We were walking in busy season. I managed to find a great albergue that I continue to recommend to future pilgrims, Albergue A Horta de Abel (information here). That day’s walking was mostly downhill…the type of walking I am least fond of. Ask me to walk uphill for 35km and I can do that all day, but downhill and I will have problems. And I did.
After I slowly took off my shoes, I was greeted by:
“Oh…that looks nasty”
“Here, I have what you need for that!”
“Why don’t you take the day off tomorrow and not walk?”
Two almighty blisters had formed on the base of my right foot and I was reaching for the ibuprofen before I even had a chance to breathe. It was painful. I don’t have many good memories from that day. I didn’t write about it and I didn’t take many photos that day. But I did enjoy my stay in the albergue and the pilgrims I met there. They were instantly helpful and kind.
It is also a good thing that I did get some blisters that year. The socks I brought along were far from adequate. They were cotton and were actually not yet dry from washing the evening before. A recipe for disaster. I would never consider bringing those kind of socks now. However, if I did not get those same blisters, would I have changed my gear? I have no way of knowing. I use technical socks now and it’s been a while since I got a blister. If you are first-timer, make sure the sock is double layered. Brands like 1000 Mile are recommended, If blisters break out, they have the potential to curtail or even cancel someone’s trip.
I am a little over 100 days away from returning to Spain and while I won’t be walking this same stage, I will have that day etched into my mind.