Posted by: knitknigel | May 23, 2009

Frogging the Camino

Here´s a chance for my non-knitting friends to learn a little knitting nomenclature. First, tinking. When a knitter tinks a project he unknits it, one stitch at a time, to get back to a place in the knitting where there is a little error that needs correction. The word tink you may have figured out, is knit spelled backwards. And you tink when the error is not too far down in the work.

Frogging is something else again. That´s where you see a great terrible error so far down in the work that you know that tinking  it will take longer than knitting the project ever did. So you “rip it, rip it rip it” – hence frogging!

And I am in the process of frogging this camino of mine. After my two days of rest in Burgos with Doctor Geordie, I got out and walked two more days in the countryside. It was lovely walking, getting towards the meseta, where the landscape is flat and goes on forever. Some describe the meseta in almost mystical terms – a chance to be alone with yourself in a wide open landscape where a tree you can see in the distance can be a two day walk away.  When Geordie and I walked it together the last time, we both loved it. There are fields that go on forever and the blazing red poppies that line the roadway amongst the green sheaves of wheat are an especial delight.

But this time, my feet could not take the walking. Those last two days of walking were so difficult, as my blisters, grew on the soles of my feet and then bruised. My little toes were tender, the backs of my legs were giving me a problem or two as well, and the blisters on my heels did not go away.

So at Castrojeriz, among my camino friends I decided that I needed to frog this camino – to rip it back to a place where I could start again. So I called Geordie and we talked, hence the decision for me to take the bus back to Burgos and then the train to Madrid for a night with him and then the two of us continued by train to Torremolinos to give my feet time to heal with the “aire y sol” (the air and sun) that the nurse in Castrojeriz had recommended. And it was nice that Giorgio and Bertrand in Torremolinos are having a party tonight so we can go enjoy some good friends and good wine.

At the same time as coming to this decision I was also knitting my second sock – and with people waiting for the great moment, I finished the Santiago shell on the leg front, knit the cuff, cast off the sock and put the new pair on my feet to celebrate. Photos were taken, my socks were toasted with wine, and my friends celebrated along with me. And so to bed, to get up early for the 8 am bus.

My trip to Madrid wasn´t easy mind you. First I had to walk down a lot of steps to the bus stop – and going down hill on my blistered feet is the hardest. There were several other pilgrims on the bus, two of them ending their camino for now as they had planned. Mikel suggested I take the bus to Madrid from the bus station, but I insisted that the train gave me more pleasure.

From the station I walked  gingerly to the old town to have a breakfast coffee and to catch a taxi. He drove me out to the station which is a good 10 minutes out of town on the edge of the countryside. There I discovered that the fast train I was expecting to take was not going because of repairs to the line. So I decided to catch a local bus back to the bus station, after consulting with Geordie who had been checking the schedules on the internet for me. Back in town, I went looking for a taxi, but as I did so, also checked my pocket and discovered to my horror that I no longer had my wallet. Missing 50 euros was not so bad, but losing my credit and bank cards as well as my drivers license was not so wonderful.

I walked back to the taxi stop and took another taxi out to the train station. Luckily I had enough change in my pocket to pay for the fare. Then I went in and up to the counter where I asked if my wallet were there. And some wonderful man said he was pretty sure it was. So after 10 minutes of red tape in the back rooms, and my deliverance of my passport as documentation I got my wallet back – after signing an in-triplicate document. Whew. Everything intact.

And now I had to wait – because the next train was at 3 pm and it was only 11 am by then. So I spent four hours in the rather empty train station, having a menu del dia, casting on for another sock,  and generally relaxing my feet.

So now I´m frogging the camino. Ripping it back to a place where I can again walk without the pain of blisters. This means relaxing here in Torremolinos, then heading back to the camino route. I won´t start where I left off – there isn´t enough time for that. My plan is to get to the point where I can walk the last week of the route, beginning on the same day as if I had walked there. That way, I may meet up with those wonderful people I have been walking with. Rosa and Rita, Dorte and Pierre, Irene, Christian and Jacques, Andrea, and all the others whose concern for me was so genuine and helpful.

I´ll keep you posted on the blog, so look for more from me as I recuperate. I bought vaseline today to rub into my feet – many of the pilgrims use it to keep their feet supple, so I´m going to give it a go too. And once my feet are in a little better condition, I´ll do a little walking to keep my strength up. 

¡Ultreia! my friends. Onward!


  1. i love those terms! thanks for sharing. my gosh, your blisters sound painful! yes, by all means have a rest. hello to giorgio and bertran from us. you need to get one of those chains that attach your wallet to your belt loop. seriously.

    keep having fun!

  2. Brilliantly funny lead-in to this story. Kevin and I were both in stitches (pardon all puns). And thanks for the Vaseline tip–my feet are in particularly bad shape since Brazil. Hugs from SUNNY Vancouver.

  3. Hmm, perhaps the universe is sending you a message, Nigel. Perhaps this camino is not yours to do and your feet are the conveyors of the message…stop! stop! This trip does seem particularly fraught with signals that you and Geordie need to be in the same place.
    And you’re missing some really fine weather here….no Spanish ham, to be sure, but spot prawns are in season.

  4. Many of your knitting guild friends were asking after you at the weekend workshop. Be sure to have a message ready for me to take to the next meeting!

  5. I love your stories. Keep them coming. Have fun on the last leg (er, feet) of your trip.
    Cheers, Arden
    P.S. I’ve just “taken up” knitting and now I know what to call the last two things I’ve ripped up :- )

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