Daily Archives: July 30, 2012

Double Vision

No WiFi at my final destination last night, hence no post. Although that’s probably just as well, as I was beginning to have a serious sense of humour failure by the time I had arrived. Ruth commented on my last post that the route from Lezama to Bilbao looked a little grim, but compared to yesterday’s stretch from Bilboa to Pobena it was positively idyllic.

There’s a dearth of decent information about The Northern Way written in English, and the only guide book I brought with me was a selection of Spanish guides cobbled together with the help of Google Translate. So I did know in advance that this wasn’t going to be one of the prettiest stages (in fact most of the guides seem to recommend skipping it altogether and taking the subway to the next stage):

“We face a relatively short period. It is a strange but very interesting stage. At all times aware of the proximity to the industrial heart of the Basque Country, however, there are places of peace and calm” (www.gronze.com)

This is actually one of the more easily understandable translations that Google came up with (there are some completely impenetrable ones I’ll no doubt share elsewhere), although it’s also completely inaccurate.

The only bit vaguely resembling a place of ‘peace and calm’ was the initial descent through some fairly scrubby woodland out of Bilbao, providing a stark contrast to the previous few days in terms of signage, wildlife and general ambiance:

After that, there was just mile upon mile of pavement to pound, making it hard to believe I was even in the same part of the country where I started this trip:

(And no Tiff, I didn’t have a Whopper)

But it’s also fair to say that I didn’t make life any easier for myself. The title of today’s post also refers to the fact that I managed to walk two sections of the route rather than the one that is recommended, as well as walking the first one in the least time efficient manner possible as well.

Apparently there’s a 12km route out of Bilbao to that takes you to the next recommended stop, Portugalete, by the side of a river. I took a 19km route that took me through the “industrial heart of the Basque country” referred to above:

Not only that, I completely missed any signage to Portugalete and ended up walking another 13.2km to Pobena, which is where I should have ended up the day after. Plus, there was a diversion due to a broken bridge on entering the town that added another 2km to the journey. Making a grand total of nearly 35km. On pavement. Suffice to say my feet were not too happy by the end of it all.

However, with hindsight, I’m glad to have gone the extra miles yesterday, as I think three consecutive days literally on the road might have dampened my enthusiasm somewhat. As it was, after several days walking inland, the final view of the day yesterday actually managed to put a bit of a spring back in my step:

It also meant that today started like this:

Continued largely like this:

And this:

And ended like this….

…25km later in Castro Urdiales.

So since you’ve last seen me I’ve come out of the mountains, spent two days in the city, walked 60km and am back by the sea.

This trip was never going to be a walk in the park.

And here’s the last double of the day:

Filed under: On The Road Tagged: Bilbao, Castro Urdiales, Charity, Pobena, Portugalete, Rethink Mental Illness, Walking

Aim Low:Goals & Functionality

Part of my survival method is to set minimalistic goals for myself. That way, I get the sense of accomplishment without risking hurting myself too badly. And I do hurt myself if I set too many; I will ignore my health and sanity just to complete all the things.

It makes me sad to a point — I’d like to do more things. And who doesn’t? People in general like to be able to say, ‘I did that. I left this mark on the world.’ Even the lazy do, but in their case, they hope it will be by sheer luck. The ‘mean’ and ‘bad’ go for notoriety, the nice go for good deeds, and so forth. I’d love to be able to say that I’ve done things, but I’m so nonfunctional that I can’t even get to the point of identifying things I’d like to do. It’s too tiring to thing past the vaguest concepts — ‘I’d like to write stories.’ ‘I want people to acknowledge my sagely kickassness.’ ‘I want a chocolate bar.’ Okay, the last isn’t really a deed, but it is tasty.

And that’s the other thing — functionality. I think we all accept our basic level of functioning as functioning, even if it isn’t. The thinking about goals and doing things makes me acknowledge that no, I really am barely scraping by. I consider washing my hair a sing-to-the-hills accomplishment; I can only imagine people think that I’m wholly slothful rather than ‘unwell’. I was attempting to explain this to my youngest sister, when I stumbled upon this:

The Daily Energy It Takes to be Normal

I don’t rapid cycle, but it otherwise speaks true. It takes a lot of energy I don’t have to be ‘normal’ at the best of times. At the crap times like this? Hah. It goes hand-in-hand with the Spoon Theory to best explain what it’s like living with a mental condition. I have no spoons, and I have no focus, and deity it’s a victory that I’m out of bed and not sobbing. With that as a baseline, is it any surprise that thinking big and having lots of goals seems more like a prison than an aspiration?

With that in mind, I’m going to go eat crap food, and play video games. Because at least in that, I can feel like I’m doing something, even if it’s absolutely insignificant.


Losing It

I’m losing it. Not mentally – I’m already certifiable. But I’m fed up with being fat, so I’m doing something …

Continue reading »


Effing A, man! I’m hypo right now. I have been buzzing around all day. I have gotten so much stuff done today I have even impressed myself! And now I am ready to shop! I am trying to talk myself out of it. Because I would have to transfer money from savings to do it. And I’m not buying anything frivolous, I am buying (or plan to buy… I may chicken out last minute) stuff for the kids for school… clothes and shoes. Only one more payday until they start school! So, it’s not like I am being idiotic about it, ya know?

I make myself sick. Using my children as an excuse to spend money and get my thrills.

Making a cup of Bedtime tea right now to hopefully calm to fuck down.