August 22, 2008 Portomarín to Eirexe

Pressing on through her pain, Gail was now becoming a hero. While she walked and while she rested she thought through her own medical diagnosis of what was happening (she’s boarded as an internist as well as an anesthesiologist). Each step felt as though there was a rock between the bottom of her foot and her boot. The pain became excruciating and it was only later that she decided it was probably an less common form of plantar fasciitis in which the forward section of the plantar fascia is inflamed. Once again I offered a taxi for Gail. Once again she was insulted and refused. Bless her heart — she was going to brave out the entire walk!

On the other hand, I was in great shape and thoroughly enjoying each moment of this walk. It was an enormous gift, after all, the completion of a plan I’d had for years, one that had suffered a setback in June with my mother’s illness, but one that was day by day coming closer to fulfillment. We were just a few days outside Santiago now and I longed to visit this city on which I’d long set my sights.

The one thing the that was also clear, though, was that my secondary goal of walking to Finisterre would probably not happen. I’d arranged our flights for what I thought would be an adequate time to include a 3-day walk to Finisterre after Santiago, but I hadn’t taken into account what our actual pace would be. And recognizing the pain with which Gail was walking I felt a walk today to Ligonde/Eirexe would be about our limit. This would stretch our Santiago arrival date out far enough that we would miss the three days necessary to walk all the way to the coast. I was sad, but I also began to recognize that I might walk the camino again sometime in the future, in which case I would add Finisterre on at the end.

We left Portomarin sometime well after Christian, Carol and Jake. With a modest goal of 17 km I reasoned that we could sleep in and give Gail some time to rest. So we set off through the small farms and quiet towns in this stretch. Arriving in the late afternoon at Eirexe, a tiny settlement with only a cafe/bar and a restaurant with a small hotel above, I arranged a room in the hotel. We enjoyed a very quiet night in this fairly remote area, surrounded by the green of the nearby pastures and no road larger than the camino as it ambled along between the two buildings.

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