Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Pilgrimage Day 7: Viana - Navarete

My left foot does not feel good when I get up in the morning. I am very glad I have a walking pole now. It is good support. I get some paracetamol from my French nurse hostess and some clear advice to consult a doctor and "go home". It can be dangerous to provoke an ankle inflammation she says. The only thing that helps is rest.
Outside Viana I meet at Maria. She has a sign outside her house, located right by the pilgrim road, where it says "welcome to Mary and free coffee". I go in. She is a proud lady who reminds me of my late grandmother and I love her kindness. She gets a cup of coffee for me and opens a glass container of cookies. She says she has run this place for pilgrims for many many years. She has a commercial purpose behind her kindness, but she manages the balance between care, kindness and business very well. I buy a necklace from her and put 2 euros in a glass that is on the table. I walk on and come eventually to the city of Logrono which is located on the famous river Ebro. It is a beautiful city. A lot of history here. But there is much noise here, and I notice that I want to continue and leave the city noises. I long for the road. It is easy to find my way through the city by following the yellow arrows. And they are painted in all the right places. I walk past a pilgrim fountain and fill my water bottles. I have a long way to go yet and its a hot day. It is a bit special to go down the stairs to the water fountain that has been there and worked since the early 1800's.

I get out of town and find that the road i really good to walk here. First, through a beautiful park, where I stop, lay on the grass and eat a tomato. Then the road passes a large artificial lake, drinking water for Logrono. Here, I meet an Italian pilgrim who I met yesterday in Viana. She was sitting on a bench in the shade and eating cherries. She waved me over to her and we sat together, talked and ate cherries together. We talked about the raod we both were walking on, life, and after an hour's time we said goodbye to each other. A small meeting but genuine and typical of the pilgrimage. Such meetings are good. I went on and we saw no more to each other.

Shade is something I are constantly looking for on this trip. When the sun is hot, I need shade in my face. To travel this route without a hat, is not recommended. A good hat provides invaluable shade for your face. After many hours of walking and lots of breaks, I enter into Navarrete. I've gone on a bad foot for almost 25 km. The first thing I do here is to visit the emergency health centre. It was not easy to find. I asked a woman in white clothings if she could help me with my foot. She shook her head. I was a little frustrated that she apparently did not understand me. I pointed to the foot and shook my head an showed that I was in pain. But it was no use. Then it dawned on me that she was not a nurse but one of the cleaning staff. The emergency health centre was closed for the day. It's frustrating not being able to make oneself understood when one needs help. I thought about what it is like to be a foreigner in Norway for those who seek emergency care, social services, child care, etc. and can not make themselves understood. I leave the emergency room and are look instead for a place to stay.

I find a reasonable hotel to stay in. There are many hotels here in Navarette. I know that I have to make an important decision in the next few days. Either the foot gets better, or so I have to give up. I have a hotel room for three nights and decide to rest. I have a simple room with a good bed and bathroom. Simple, clean and just what I need. I take off my shoes and socks and see that it there is inflamed matter outside of the bandage. The wound was not clean. I took off the bandage the nurse had put on and had to clean the blister which was now inflamed. I used plenty of time to clean the wound with sterile saltvann I had with my toilet bag. Dead skin had to be cut away and the wound had to be opened so that the matter could be squeezed out. When it was clean, I put on a sterile gauze and wrapped it up again. I saw that my left ankle was red and swollen. I began to understand that my pilgrimage could now be over. I decided to clean the wound often in the days ahead and let my ankle rest. With a little luck, I might find the pilgrimroad again in a few days. Now I had to rest and that was not easy.

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