When I tell people about my hike on the El Camino de Santiago, many people think I’m nuts to walk across a country following arrows, alone, especially being a woman. Yes, nuts is a good way to describe the Camino. But the second reaction is usually one of worry, followed by a, “Isn’t that dangerous?” And again the answer is, yes.
People have died, usually in the mountains after unpredictable weather. It is rare, but it happens. Many get injured after overusing their bodies outside normal activities. Most get epic blisters. On my last Camino, I experienced light degrees of all of the above.
However, this Camino has presented a new set of dangers, most of which involve self destruction and nothing to do with the actual Camino.
Danger #1: Bunk beds. Yup, I very gracefully ate it while descending a top bunk before I even started the Camino. It took a couple days for the bruise to reach its current glory. Then on the first day of walking, my foot hurt a bit from the unsuccessful dismount. Fortunately, that has gone away. I’ve also been lucky enough to get bottom bunks the last few days. However, I have managed to hit my head Every. Single. Day.
Danger #2: Hiking poles. Yesterday, I thought I was being cool with my hiking poles and pretty much tripped over them, almost landing on my face. Thank God, no one was around. Can you imagine the story if I’d hurt or broken something? Bonus danger: be careful when sitting down with extended poles in your hand. You’re libel to bop your head like I have (several times).
Danger #3: Hot Water. I prayed there would be hot water as I stepped in the shower. I turned it on, draped the head over my right shoulder (ugh, European showers) so the water hit my chest. It was warm. Then someone flushed the toilet. It took 1/2 second for it to turn scalding, nearly burning the flesh off my chest. I’m still surprised I don’t have a blister.
And if that wasn’t enough, here are a couple Homer Simpson moments:
Doh #1: For hours I’d been trying to a shower, but there was only one for 30 of us. So, I grabbed my stuff and decided to sit next to the door. I tried the door, knocked, no one answered, but I thought I heard some rustling. After 15 minutes, I knocked and tried the door again. It opened and no one was there. Doh! I told this story to a guy from South Africa who laughed hysterically and promised to remember this story always. :/
Doh #2: I have excellent equipment this time around. Today was the first rainy day, and I simply pulled out my backpack rain cover only to have my Camelbak spring a leak and soak my clean, dry, change of clothes. Doh!
I hope you’ve enjoyed reading my mishaps.
The Camino Klutz