I walked in my dreams last night. I walked up hills along the coast, and watched as waves rolled in and turned white and crashed against giant rocks.

I looked around in awe. Everything was beautiful. Walking was effortless, no matter how steep the hill, and there were no shin splints, no pain. But I didn’t want to walk in my dreams.

I woke up and tried again.

Still I walked and walked.

It went on like this until 3am. Then I gave up on sleeping and scrolled through instagram.

Miles recorded: 237

Miles recorded today: 0

It’s 11:45am and I’m on my second cafe con leche. Today we’re not moving any closer to Santiago. We’re taking the day off from walking.

Over the last two days I’ve walked 37 miles with shin splints. Over the last 14 days, Akash has walked 237 miles with shin splints plus a swollen ankle.

We crept into Llanes yesterday from the back of the city, somehow taking the longest route possible, as usual.

Akash asked for my thoughts on taking a rest day at some point.

Absolutely not.

There was no resting until Santiago.

As I objected to the suggested rest, I felt what has become a familiar pain crawl up my other shin. More splints were a-comin.

Akash went ahead as I limped down a hill more carefully than I knew I could.

That morning we had discussed what a job it is to take care of yourself. In our lives at home it’s a job that is easily overlooked, while our attention is paid to work and school and more pressing issues.

But here our lives are simple: we walk, eat and sleep. We monitor how we walk, and for how long, what is hurting and when; we monitor what we eat and drink and how we feel afterward (i.e. I feel very sad if I don’t have coffee in the morning).

As we limped through Llanes, regretting that we had walked so much farther than we needed to, my two shins splinting, the idea of a rest day began to grow on me.

Perhaps resting was an important part of taking care of myself now.

Llanes is a beautiful old city on the coast, where, like in my dreams, the white waves crash hard against giant rocks. There are bakeries all over that smell like sugar and butter and heaven.

Visitors on the last days of their May 1st vacations shopped and ate and did normal human things. I had a sudden strong desire to be one of those normal humans. I wanted to eat dinner and drink wine and sleep in; I wanted to buy perfume and smell good like everyone seemed to in Spain.

So when we got to the hostel I acquiesced. We could take a rest day.

So today we spent the day in my new favorite city, Llanes. It was raining a little, but we still sat outside a cafe overlooking the beach and watched the waves crash while I had coffee no. 1.

Then, after struggling for 20 minutes to understand the lunch menu at another cafe, we ordered a giant, 50 Euro fish for lunch and an accidental bottle of wine.

Then we had ice cream.

Now I’m monitoring what drinking half a bottle of wine is doing to my body. It’s making my shins feel better.


Day 15: Talk of the Temples

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