Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Walking the Walk, Day 3

So this morning began with stretching before an intrigued section of the local population (possibly nursing hangovers from the night before), who seemed baffled but appreciative of Eleni Fearless Leader's inspiring instructions for stretches and energy balls and reaches. It was an early start, as we wanted to beat the heat -- so we headed north along the shore of Lake Dorjan under massive plane trees, past boats and fishermen's huts, cafes, bars, and little farmsteads.

At some point we branched off into all but impenetrable footpaths -- "Wasn't this overgrown when I did the recce," Fearless Leader muttered -- and went through an abandoned Yugoslav-period summer camp, then a children's summer camp. Very Socialist Realist architecture... my dormant passion for exploring abandoned buildings kicked into high gear, but there was no opportunity, so we continued on...

Cherry and almond trees, walnut and apricot shaded the path, vineyards ran beside it, and we often crossed fields of cabbages. The vegetables were unpicked, flowering, and sometimes stank to high heaven with a sulphurous cabbagey smell that made me want to gag.  Marjan, our local guide, said that the price had been too low this year to make picking profitable, so much of the crop was left to rot. We later passed a field of broccoli, and I was glad to see that that had been picked.

Marjan is old enough to remember the Former Yugoslavia. He was 13 when Macedonia became independent, and like so many people that I know from the former Soviet Union or Eastern Bloc countries, misses the security that communism provided. "Now," he said. "You work 2 or three jobs to be able to have a car. Is that freedom?" Before, there was care from cradle to grave -- and to young people who are struggling, leaving their communities to work abroad, living hand to mouth, 'freedom' seems a poor trade-off.

I am not sure how far we walked today, my Map my Walk app was cutting in and out and has probably totally depleted my phone battery. I think it was around 12 miles. Maybe a little more. We had a beautiful lunch spot -- shaded cabanas beside a lake (which many people plunged into, in various stages of dress and undress). I didn't swim. For the first time my feet gave trouble -- hot-spots that are the precursors of blisters beginning on both -- so I had to care for them. We may be over the hump -- three days finished out of five -- but they have to carry me a lot further.

We all seem to be becoming acclimatised to the distances and the heat. Neither seemed quite so hard today, though the dust and the glare were probably as bad as yesterday. I did use dioralyte rehydration sachets in my water (expiry 2008, but I figured that the contents were pretty inert and would probably not go off), and made sure to drink enough. Chris, bless his cotton (or not) socks, carried extra water for me.  People are really supporting each other, and it is great to experience.

My back, it seems, is thriving. No pain! Onward!


  1. "...possibly nursing hangovers from the night before..."

  2. Mary ChojnowskiMay 3, 2018 at 6:56 PM

    we're thinking of you, if in back pain. try bending upside down with your head in a cabbage patch like that other walker....and cabbage leaves ease blisters I bet!