Daily Archives: August 3, 2012

Secrets and Lies.

This whole journey seems to be getting terribly modern.

For the past 11 days I have been perfectly happy using Shank’s Pony. And then boats came into the picture. And now…what’s the word…oh yes…locomotives.

Or not, as the case proved to be.

Let me set the context for today’s tale by telling you that one of Pastor Ernesto Bustio’s less spiritual pieces of advice a couple of nights ago was how to shave off some entirely unnecessary klicks off today’s (supposed) 42.4km journey from Santander to Santillana del Mar.

10 of the little devils to be precise – which is clearly not to be sniffed at when your knees feel like they belong to the Tin Man in The Wizard of Oz.

Apparently, it’s still a relatively well-kept secret that the route dictated by the ‘Camino Oficial’ that you see denoted by the dotted line above is utterly unnecessary and ugly to boot. And having paid my dues walking through the ‘”industrial heart of the Basque country’” a few days back, I figured I was due a little light relief.

The only issue was the small question of legality.

Short-cutting the journey from Boo de Pielagos to Mogro that you see above involves walking along a section of live railway track: apparently this has always been a tacitly cool and dandy agreement between the Peregrino community and the Powers That Be, until one of the former strayed a little too close to an Express train from Santander last year and spoiled things for everyone (don’t worry, he was fine).

The upshot of which was that the Oficial bit of the Camino Oficial became distinctly more Oficial and our encouraging little yellow arrows became distinctly less encouraging:

Which basically means that the extra 10km are legally de riguer.

But hell, this is supposed to be an adventure, so a couple of walkers I hooked up with and I decided to follow Pastor Bustio’s advice.

So sue us. A  priest told us to do it.

All of which might not seem all that interesting until I tell you that there was also a train driver’s strike that day.

Which didn’t mean that there were no trains. It meant that, in true European striking style, the strikers had cut the power lines. Which were in the process of being repaired. Except that nobody knew how long that was likely to take or when the trains would start running properly again. Which added a little frisson of excitement to our decision. Let’s just say it was a bit like The Railway Children without Jenny Agutter’s petticoats.

As it turned out, our timing was pretty good, as we cleared the bridge to arrive at the next station, just in time to see a train in proper working order coming down the other side of the tracks:

But it turned out that we were not the only Rock ‘n’ Roll Pelegrinos; in fact, anyone that I have met over the last few days that has been good value made the same decision, except that those following us were unfortunate enough to have been rather less close to the next station than we were when that old Express train came hurtling through.

All of which seemed to call for a decent lunch:

And a chance for my knees to recover – as you can see, I’m taking no prisoners:

Deeply unattractive, I know.

But not quite as deeply unattractive as the next 16km in the searing mid-afternoon heat.

Which sometimes looked like this:

Less often like this:

And all too often like this:

And did I say it was hot?

But we all finally arrived in more or less one piece at the absurdly picture perfect medieval village of Santillana del Mar:Which is all terribly quaint until you discover that Santillana del Mar also has a dirty little secret.

It’s ‘The Town of The Three Lies’:

Let’s break it down:

Santi = Saint. There is no patron Saint of Santillana del Mar.

Llano = flat / smooth. Nonsense; it’s a huge bloody hike in a consistently upwards kind of direction to get here.

Del Mar = By the Sea. Only if you take a train from the coast (see what I did there?)

Santilliana del Mar, you’re a cheeky little fibber (and again).

And I’m afraid I won’t be finishing off this post with the usual Credencial shot because the owner of the hostel where I’m staying insists on keeping them until guests leave in the morning having paid their bill. Dodgy lot these Pelegrinos, clearly.

Hasta mañana

Filed under: On The Road


I’m still not sure where I am mood-wise, which is probably for the best. If I can’t say yay or nay, then meh is surely acceptable? I also suspect that there’s been the providence of variety lately in the comings and goings of my life, which also buffers against depression’s attempts at reign. I still am lacking in a particular desire to do anything, but as I’ll say over and over again — I’ll count and stack up the tiny blessings and victories, and call it good.

Today’s little victories include:

  1. Getting out of the house to see our future office space: Holy crap, I’ll be working near people again! I have mixed feelings about this, but it might be tolerable.
  2. Sammich: Damn, it’s good.
  3. Ignoring the lingering vestiges of self-conscious that rose with my post-baby body and wearing a cool shirt my sister got me.
  4. Did I mention the sammich? Seriously, I love it when food and I intersect in perfect temporal bliss. Not that I have a bad relationship with food, but as my appetite isn’t a great one, my interest in what I’m eating past the nourishment point is often limited.

Okay, that’s not much of a list, but it’s  more the act of getting it on ‘paper’. :)


PUt it in a Bubble & Let it Go, A Mental Moment

Yes dear readers it is that day we like almost more than any other in the week..work week sorry. The day preceding THE DAY, and following Hump Day. Thursdays are usually pretty good days.  Mostly because we are thinking about getting through them so that we can get through Friday and on to the weekend … Continue reading


I had a shrink appointment today. Which meant I barely slept last night due to the anxiety. Then I went today and I was such a panicky mess I was coated in sweat by the time I left and it was still cool outside. Ick factor ten! God, I don’t even want to be around me when I go so freakazoid and get sweaty and gross, why would anyone else?

I put on a happy face. It was, of course, semi fake. I think the Effexor is helping slightly, but so has laying off the booze. As much as numbness rocks, the side effect of worsened depression sucks. Fact is, I am still barely keeping my head above water here. I have learned, though, that doctors lose patience easily, and if they don’t see some improvement after so many medication changes, they get testy and start making accusations of you not wanting to get well. Been there, done that, have the emotional scars to prove it.

So I downplayed some stuff, lied about drinking (No, Dr, I can’t drink in this heat)(which is only a half lie) lied about the paranoia being better (it’s not) but I was flat honest about the anxiety. It’s free floating and I can’t stand it. It’s that damn paranoia inducing anxiety that leads me to drink in the first place.

I did okay the last five days.

Today, Mr Paranoia waltzed in with his line of “what ifs”.

What if that freckle on my arm is a melanoma?

What if that pain in my left arm is a stroke?

Oh my god, what if that stomach ache I had earlier is a sign of stomach cancer and the Donor is going to get custody of Spook because I’m going to be DEAD?????

What if that’s not a heat rash on the back of my legs but flesh eating bacteria?????


I am totally freaking out.

I HATE this part of my brain. I wish I could have it zapped dead with lasers. Yes, bad things happen all of the time, but why must my brain go all OCD about it and dredge up  EVERY possibility of doom?

I try to attack the paranoia with logic.

Logic gets its ass kicked royally.


Just after I told her the panic was pretty much under control by the Xanax.

Well, it was to be expected after five semi good days. What goes up must come down, good comes with bad, blah blah blah.

Hate it hate it hate it.

Because it makes me hate myself.

And it makes me question my sanity.

And then I start to seriously ponder these things, like what if I DO have a cancerous lump growing somewhere in my body right now as I write this and right now it’s just a speck but it’s going to turn into an inoperable terminal speck and I have to go to my grave knowing the law will hand my child over to the ogre who abandoned her almost a year ago without a thought as to whether she had a roof overhead or food in her tummy??????


And contagious, for my brain, because once one seeps into my head, a stampede of them comes out.

Logic would dictate that I go see a doctor for a physical just to put my own mind at ease, right?

Ha ha ha ha ha ha.

Logic has no place in panic disorder. I hate doctors, and if a mere med check with a psych on a TV screen had me sweating bullets, well, the thought of a physical has me paralyzed. I try to bully myself but it does not work. Because while I could get good news, I could also get bad news and in my current state of anxiety induced hysteria and depression, I’m not sure I could handle an ugly truth, especially if it turned out to be a death sentence.

So…The what-ifs keep coming and I keep swatting them away, but every few days they add up and march in and kick my ass to the point where I am so freaked out by my own mind, I just want to take a Trazadone and not be conscious until tomorrow when my brain MIGHT find something new to obsess about.

Neurotic be thy name.

I reiterate, I hate my brain.

I hate whatever it is that makes me this paranoid panic stricken freak of nature. My god, I’m 39, why haven’t I outgrown this idiocy?

Oh, and to make a bad day worse, I was at the shop listening to Kenny eschew his thoughts on how anyone on disability for a mental condition is making it up because they’re lazy and don’t want to work.


That’s so helpful to my self esteem and paranoia issues.

Just talking about all this is giving me hives.

I think it’s time to put the evil brain to sleep for the night and hope against all hope that it is in a different space in the morning.

Does anyone else have issues with this type of paranoia? I’d really like to hear from anyone who does. The doctor seems to think it’s the auditory/visual hallucination type paranoia, but it’s not, I don’t have those issues. This is pure anxiety and panic based, and it would be helpful to know if anyone else endures this sort of thing.

As a post note to this crazy person rant, I’d just like to thank everyone who reads this blog and cares enough to click the “like” button or leave a comment. It helps to know I am not entirely alone and you are all very appreciated by me, even if my flaky butt doesn’t always reply to your comments.