The last time I had ever heard, talked about or experienced tendinitis was in junior high school basketball practice. That was mostly from tying my shoe laces too tight.

The sting was manageable in the morning and I knew I had some major climbing ahead of me today.

I was unusally hungry this morning and the first town after Astorga seemed waiting with an open cafe at 7 AM just to satisfy my growling stomach. With Cafe Americano and a manageable sized sandwich of egg, lettuce, tomato, pimentos and mayo, I devoured it and thought how strange that my hunger cycles are all over the place. Sometimes the thought of food in the morning makes me nauseas – and hear, now, I probably could have eaten three of those sandwiches. I see these three Spanish girls nearly everyday and without fail they will consume bocadillos, pastries, tortillas like it is their last meal. Where does it all go? I simply smile at them most of the time and peel my orange.

Maybe there metabolisms are having some influence over me, for I was hungry again at high noon and stopped in the town of Rabanal del Camino for a quick bowl of spaghetti bolognaise. It was another 6 kilometers to Foncebadon, a quirky nothing of a town that would sit at one of the highest peaks on the trail. Even though ascending into territory normally covered with massive snow many months out of the year, today was remarkably hot and these final paths were rocky and the shin was starting to hurt quite a bit.

I passed a trough, fountain – like structure and took my right boot and sock off and soaked my leg. There were swarms of bees everywhere because of the abundant wild flowers and I gently shooed them away from my pack while I soaked in the icy, algae filled water.

Eventually crested the top of the peak and saw Foncebadon and the alburgue, sort of a ski lodge type building, lacking character but I was grateful to finally get off my leg. I went through the routine washing and sat outside next to this old lodge structure which was some sort of restaurant where the owners dress in miedeval outfits and serve food the way it was served back then. Open only sparingly, it made you wonder what the course would look like on your plate. Hunk of cow with a hunk of bread? Also right next to it was a circular building with various celtic and religious symbols carved into its sides – looked almost like some sort of ancient sweat lodge.

That night I had a lovely conversation with Kathy, a woman from Texas who works for the association and comes to Spain every other year to devote time at various alburgues and offer assistance to pilgrims. She told me the circular building was an ancient building where a family would sleep in the top of the circle and house their animals underneath them which produced enough heat for them to survive the brutal winters. My curiousity was definitely piqued surrounded by the strange surroundings.

Thankful for some ibuprofin cream that a guy from Italy gave me after having recovered from his tendinitis, I applied it liberally on my shin and elevated it a bit on the edge of the iron bar on my bunk bed.

Long day comes to an end.