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Her Story: Travel Diary

Her Story: Travel Diaries Day 7 & 8


Day 7 – Bilbao, Portugalete

”Did you train before you started walking the Camino?”


“When did you begin?”

“On Friday”

“When did you start to get pain in your knees”

“Well about a month ago”

…That was the conversation between a Spanish doctor and me, which (not that I can blame her) resulted in her laughing hysterically. I got a bandage around my other knee, great painkillers (might I add that Spanish painkillers tend to be very strong) and then she told me to take it easy, which I did. The next day, I walked 14 km but I had taken one day of rest in Bilbao, where I met an awesome girl from The Netherlands. We decided to spend the entire day drinking beer and watching football. 

But already, the first thing that morning walking towards Portugatele, I got lost. So I would strongly recommend men who hate asking for directions to walk the Camino, because then they’ll learn! I met an elderly gentleman who asked me if I was headed towards Santiago (something I thought was pretty obvious, since I was standing on the middle on the road with a massive backpack, a lost look in my eyes, a huge map in my hands and bandages wrapped around my legs). He asked me if I was alone, which I replied yes to and seconds later he started shouting at me, shaking his head in disappointment and walked the other direction. However, I reached Portugalete with little pain and finally got reunited with the two old ladies who always called me chica.

Day 8 – Pobeña, Portugalete

First thing that morning, I met an old man who walked towards me with a huge smile on his face, a nice change compared to the man from yesterday. He handed me a Kit Kat, yelled something I didn’t understand and walked away with a smile on his face: thank you!

On my way, everyone was trying to explain to me where the shortcut was – not that I could understand a word that they were saying, but it was a nice gesture.

When I finally reached Pobeña it was crawling with surfers, which is my biggest weakness and something I’ve always wanted to try… surfing that is. Here I meet Javier, a surfer,. He had a six year old boy and was extremely kind. Javier found me a ‘surf doctor’, who immediately began applying various creams and lotion on my legs, followed by a 10 minute massage and then, more bandages! Afterwards, Javier thought it was a good idea to I got new shoes, and of course, I thought it was a good idea to go into a strangers car to go shoe shopping… Nevertheless, he bought me brand new Nike shoes, a raincoat, socks, blister bandages (heaven for a hikers) and lots of painkillers and creams. However, we did split the bill over the shoes, since I felt pretty bad about it, but he assured me that this was good karma coming my way after I’d been a volunteer in Africa a month earlier. It seemed so strange to me that a complete stranger would go to such a big length just to help a “damsel in distress”.

And as if that wasn’t enough, I got free food at a local café! The only problem was that I thought he’d asked me if I wanted ‘bread with jam’, but it turned out that it was ‘bread with ham’, which created a bit of a dilemma since I don’t eat meat. But I figured I had to eat it since he kept asking me how I liked the meat, while he explained, down to every detail, how the meat had been prepared…

Anyway cheers to Javier!

All photos: Julie’s own

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