One of the primary objectives of my Camino de Santiago trip was to walk as far as I could each day and go to bed tired. I accomplished this extremely well, so well in fact that when I woke on the the 6th day (Saturday morning) for the 18 km walk into Leon, I knew I was developing case of tendinitis on my kneecaps. Tendinitis is one of the few things that can shut me down.
For the last couple of days, I had pushed the daily walking distance to near 40 km, which I recognize as my limit right now. With knees that hurt and distances and days that don’t add up, I made a change of plans. On Saturday when I arrived to Leon from Mansilla de las Mulas, I jumped a train for the city of Ponferrada – eliminating approximately 110 kms from my trip.
This meant leaving a friend I had made on the Way (Federico Caballero -Freddy) in Leon, which was a real bummer. I was growing accustomed to finding Federico at the end of a day and enjoying his optimism, jokes and good vibes. And he also picked a spare guitar one night at an albergue and played some songs, which was way cool. He was fun to be around and a good trail compadre.
So, Saturday evening I found myself in Ponferrada at the Albergue San Nicholas de Flue meeting new people and studying new distances and terrain. And another thing I did is empty my back pack of all but essentials, lowering the weight on my back by a further 3 kgs. This is the second time I have reduced the stuff in my backpack. I way over-packed. I think this with the fact that I am about 10 kgs overweight myself, contributed to the knee pain and early tendinitis.
Several Pilgrims noticed my backpack at Burgos, where I started. They both suggested that a walkers backpack should not be more than 10% of your body weight. This, I have learned, is such an important aspect of walking the Way that I will write a post on it with lessons I learned, after I am off the trail.
Thanks for reading. The next stretch is from Ponferrada to Villafranca del Bierzo – through wine country.
ps: I am continuing to check each bar/restaurant’s quality of olive oil. So far it is about 50-50, in terms of offering a quality extra virgin olive oil. One thing is clear though, if you go to a supermarket here in the north, you can immediately see which of the olive oils are the real deal because of the coagulation (see photo below). The supermarkets are not well heated😜😄