Today was agonising, of spirit as much as anything else. Our first day back on the road after a week of hotels and trains and ferries and the biorhythms were not co-operating. My shoulders screamed from the start, the extra weight from the computer pushing me beyond anything at all I care to think about as acceptable, even though I have posted home everything that might be considered superfluous – including face cream!
Surprisingly, my feet held up okay. New blisters, sure. But new blisters. The old ones held steady and I can walk at the end of the day without feeling my bones are about to poke through the skin of my feet.
It took us half the day’s effort to clear Zadar’s industrial corridor and the riot of new cement works on the edge of the city; new footpaths, freeway etc. Right on the fringe of this habitation wasteland the most terrible mewing came from the weeds and my heart sank, thinking a cat was about to present itself with half its legs run over . . . instead it was a very hungry ginger kitten, starving as much for human company as it was for food – clearly not a street cat. Ben had a tin of tuna in his pack which we happily donated to a very grateful little puss.
We take our first rest beneath a small palm, the Adriatic Sea just metres away . . . it is too much . . . I hobble over to the only sign of civilisation this side of the road, a concrete jetty, and lie flat on my back among the seagull poo.
I look vaguely at the sky and give my attention to the wind. It blows harder. I allow the news it brings of otherworlds to sink into my bones. I like to think the birds I can see through the gaps in my fingers shading my face from the sun are swooping and soaring just for me. I am in the altered state of the pilgrim . . . it’s called Delusional.
We press on. I feel as if I’m dragging a sack of bones along the bitumen and indeed I am – my own. It is the time of the dark moon. I should be in my hammock eating dates. We walk in noonday sun. It is too much and we stop awhile in the shade of another small tree near the water’s edge. Ben’s great. He’s happy to rest when I need to. I harmonise effort and ease.I sleep. Ben gets internet!
We walk on, the heat of the day gone now. We buy tomatoes and a string of dried figs from an old woman on the side of the road. I walk on. Ben hollers for me to come back. He’s not paying 30KN for figs and two tomatoes, not when he’s just feasted on a massive plate of spaghetti bolognaise for the same price. I want the figs. They might be so common I scrape them off my bootsoles, but figs is figs and figs is quality dried fruit and besides, I’m presuming she grew them herself . . . or at least scraped them off her own bootsoles.
The romance of the Adriatic coastline buckles under the weight of the rubbish that keeps pace with us.
I think seriously about buying a donkey . . .
Then wacko-the-didleo! we make Sv Petar! Out of the Adriatic blue, here we are! Camp ground at our feet right on the shores of the sea. We pitch tents in time to sit by the shore and watch the sun go down . . . I listen to the water lapping at the rock wall, I gaze into the soft lime green of the rocks beneath shallow waters, my spirit walks the shining golden path to the sun on the water.
Ah yes, now I remember . . . this is why I am doing this again.
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