We made it to Biarritz in 6 days from Bordeaux and it think Anna-Maria was proud of herself, justly so. We walked 230 km in 6 days, not a bad average. During the last 4 days we could not find a campsite that was open, they are all starting to close for the season, so we camped wherever we could. A shower was nice when we arrived at Biarritz… 🙂
Anna-Maria flew back to Sweden on Saturday and I managed to find a hotel for a few nights, need to rest, fix some equipment, do some washing and think about the route. Where to next?
Biarritz is a strange and wonderful place. I think the best way I can describe it is Monaco meets Bondi. When I went for a walk Sunday morning, I saw a girl in a wetsuit carrying a surfboard. She was walking along the shopping street, right past the Hermés shop, on her way to the beach. Later I saw a very dressed up, proper French lady walking her poodle, crossing paths with a middle-aged mother trying out her sons longboard skateboard. There are surfshops right next door to designer boutiques, pizza joints next to fine restaurants. The only thing missing, at least while I have been here, is some descent surf. It’s all been small and rather boring.
There are all sorts of vehicles, a lot of shops have old style scrambler motorcycles in their displays. There are tricked out Vespas, neat VW bugs (even sporting Hearbie’s number), campervans and I even saw a Benelli Six!
The only thing wrong with Biarritz is, that like all similar places, it is expensive to be here. It is all to easy to sit down at one of the many sidewalk cafe’s with a beer or a coffee and check out all the passing girls, I mean people!
Both the Mule and I have sustained our first injuries. Apart from punctures, the Mule has been faultless, but during the last week the handlebar rubber has split and is slowly falling off more and more. Not a bad considering that we have walked more than 4000 km! It was when I set out to find some replacement handlebar tape that I think I finally caused some damage to my left foot. I walked to the nearest Decathlon, about 5 km, and on the way back the straps on my Xeroshoes sandals broke. I had worn through the knot underneath the toes on my right foot. That’s the second time in one week, the first was after just one day, so I am starting to wonder if I am doing something wrong?
I had to walk the last 2 or so km back barefoot and when I woke up Sunday morning I was very sore under the ball of my left foot. Hardly the first time my feet have been sore so I ignored it and went for a walk. Rather than getting better, it just got worse. As I write this on Monday, it is still quite sore and I suspect that I have given myself a stress fracture (of the second metatarsal).
The only cure is rest so it’s lucky that I only have to get to Bilbao by the 28th. It’s only 150-170 km so should be no problem, even if I have to hobble along. Which brings me to the subject of shoes…
After all my experimenting, I thought I had finally arrived at a configuration that suited me. Two pair of Xeroshoes minimalist sandals and a pair of stout leather shoes, almost boots, that I could use both in colder weather and when barefoot sandals were inappropriate. I think the sandals are great, though I have obviously not gotten as used to barefoot style shoes as I thought, witnesses the stress fracture. The idea behind the boots is probably correct as well, although I am not sure I have found the right pair yet. I have a pair of Doc Martens, expensive shoes that fit well and that I thought would last, hopefully the rest of the trip. But even though I have not used them all that much, they are only a month old, there is already a fair bit of wear on the soles. I guess time will tell but there seems to be nothing that tests the durability of shoes like the-walk! Any shoe manufactures out there want some testing done..