“Lo siento, Mamá y Papá” – that thing that I thought would not happen, happened…
I ran out of water.
And then the mercy of strangers brought me to tears.
According to the neon signs flashing on street corners, it reached 36-37’C. I knew it was going to be another hot one, so I learned from yesterday and planned better. Or so I thought.
I officially crossed the geographical epi-centre of the Camino! No one actually knows what that means though, seeing as we’ve walked approximately 430 KILOMETRES ACROSS A COUNTRY and the Camino Franceś is just under 800km. Soooo by that logic I passed halfway yesterday.. Heck yeah I did! 🙌🏽 Took a photo here anyway just in case 😉
Today’s main story however, centres around these two Italian boofheads. They’re pretty good value, and I’m lucky to get to walk so far with them. No, that’s understating it.. They’re really good value, and I’m really glad to have them. But they are sloowwww.
They siesta like true Europeans: so when they said they were 2km behind me and I said I’d wait for them (shout out once again to wifi/technology!) they took a good hour and a half to get to me. And I really should have known better and just walked on, but I waited.
We ‘had to’ take another three siestas/breaks throughout the day, and so at 5pm after being baked all day, we still had another 18km to go. We were realistic, and decided to just go to the next town 9km away instead of pushing too far.
I filled up my drink bottle.
The boys figured they’d have enough.
Now this stretch of the Camino is known for having next to no shade, so I was just so grateful for the trees spread along our stretch of path next to the highway to give a little relief from the sun. I was okay – in fact, I probably should have pressed on earlier, but you can’t let a comrade fall too far behind, and their company was good for me anyway, so I slowed my pace and stayed. Probably good that I did, because when we were 7km out from anywhere and the boys had no water, I was able to share what I had left of my 750ml bottle.
We walked for an age. Manuel’s feet were not good, so I walked with him and Paolo went on, and we got more and more thirsty.
Sometimes 7km is just a stroll down to the corner shop and back for a meat pie; other times, it feels like you might pass out from heat exhaustion, fatigue and dehydration.
It was not a good mix, and neither of us were doing too well. I honestly wasn’t sure if I’d make it, and was running through options about leaving my pack by the roadside to come back to, or sticking a thumb out for a passing car.. It was bad. So when a house appeared on the horizon I didn’t even hesitate in my resolve to get there and ask, “Necesito aqua, por favor?”.
As we walked up the driveway, we could see the house was totally from the Adams Family or a similar horror movie, complete with a dodgy white van and big chain link fence.
We knocked on the door and waited a minute nervously before a shirtless man opened up, looked us both up and down, and invited us straight in. I did think about stranger danger for a second, but water was too high on my priorities to care.That man, his wife, and teenage son were our saviours.
Despite our assurance that any tap water was fine, they filled our bottles with bottled good stuff straight from the fridge, which I finished in about 4 seconds flat. I was overcome with relief, gratitude, and thankfulness and had to blink back my tears as the woman even poured us each a glass of sparkling mineral water as well just to make sure we were okay.
They tried to argue to give us a lift into town for the last kilometre or so, but we could not/would not accept, and continued our Camino.
I am continuing to learn about sacrifice, sharing what I have, value of friends beside me, extremes of what my body can push itself through. My limits are further than I would have thought, and although the lesson wasn’t easy, the realisation is a good one.
I will have more water tomorrow. And maybe a little less pride.