Monday, May 6, 2013


Sorry about no posting yesterday. No wifi available, and I can only do this from my iPhone, for various reasons.

Here's Sunday's news in a capsule:  still stunning spring weather, a day of a reasonable distance (22 km), my shoes died (soles falling off and way too thin), severe tendinitis in both feet and one painful knee, arrival at my destination, Vise, Belgium, feeling like it was all over.

My hosts couldn't have been nicer. They too are long distance walkers, and welcome hikers into their home, a stately 136 year old townhouse right on the Meuse River.  Vise is a beautiful city and is right on the border of the Netherlands' lowest point.

After limping in and cleaning up, I enjoying relaxing in the spacious back garden with Christian, Claire and 4 of their friends. But my main order of business was to elevate and ice my feet, which felt like ground meat. How very disheartening, after feeling so strong at the time of my last rest day.  I hadn't realized how bad my shoes had become till just a few days ago. They were just bought in April, but I guess all the sightseeing on cobblestones in Portugual  and hours on pavement and rocky roads did them in.

I decided that trying to walk in to my next stop would only end my journey early, so I took a 20 minute train ride this morning from  Vise to Maastricht, Netherlands, where I already planned on spending 2 nights. It's a beautiful city, with countless cyclists out on their errands, etc. My hotel is probably the nicest I have had this whole trip, and I'm very grateful for its central location and all its comforts (wifi! working phone! 6 English channels on tv! €18 breakfast buffet, which I'm not doing!).

I'm severely limiting my sightseeing. Today's outing was to a medical supply shop to buy elastic wraps for my feet and knee. However, I must admit that, at this point, I was very tempted by the following.

Tomorrow will involve buying new shoes and going to a laundromat. Quite simply, shampooing my clothes only works for a few days. They stink.  I will be sending some excess items home by mail, in order to lighten my backpack. Weather forecasts look good for the next week, no more cold weather. That said, we all now know what will happen.

I am very hopeful that these two days of being off my feet will help me continue. But I won't go on if it looks like I'm doing myself serious harm. Been there, done that. We shall see how things go. I definitely want to finish, but if I must, I'll put a halt to this year's adventure here at the halfway point, and come back next year, ready to resume from my stopping point. I WILL complete the GR5. In NEW shoes!


  1. Ruth, I'm glad you're in a comfortable place to recuperate, but that you're also savvy enough to know which things are worth it, and which things can wait - your health is worth it!

    This trek has had ups and downs, but I thank you for sharing your journey. I hope you find a pair of miracle shoes, and a sunny spot to prop your feet tomorrow!

  2. Carol, thank you for your support. Apparently tendonitis is common on long treks, but lets hope new shoes, rest, anti-inflammatories, plenty of water and icing help. I've finished a book during my first 24 hours. Thank god for kindle on my iPhone.