Habemus Papam

Habemus Papam

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Walking

Some people may already know that I have been a reasonably keen foot pilgrim, having walked from Paris to Santiago de Compostela in 1994, Monaco to Rome in 2000, and then Monaco to Lourdes and on to Santiago in 2005 — apart from some other shorter hikes, not all on pilgrimage.

A small number of you are aware of my health problems, but I believe that it will be news to everyone that these problems include problems with my knee — that is to say, a loss of cartilage in my right knee in particular.

Which is, of course a severe blow to my personal pilgrim’s way…

I spent all of 2012 being severely handicapped just for ordinary walking about purposes – let alone returning to the Camino !!!

But it seems that there’s finally some small amount of hope for the future and in the present — I’ve been staying in Burgundy with my (very atheistic) brother, and well, the rolling hills of Burgundy are exactly in line with my favourite walking surface, unlike the rough mountainside of the French Riviera — quite apart from which. I’ve also been receiving medical help for the past two months, including a pain killer and some injections into my knee.

Not only am I no longer in constant pain, but I can actually walk, even though Dr. Gross would far prefer me to do swimming instead, because I also really really need to build up my muscles again.

So I’ve been doing a fair amount of walking in these past weeks here — and though it was quite painful the first couple of times, I’ve managed to do some actual hikes (not just long strolls), including a fairly decent one of about 15-18 KM without being in excruciating pain at the end of it — and even managed a 12 KM follow-up walk the next day.

Now, this is still far from the 25 KM that I’d consider as a basic minimum, very far from the 40 KM that used to be my daily average, and kid’s play compared to my old 65 KM maximum distance — but the fact that I can do it AT ALL is a God Send !!!

I’ve no idea, of course, if I’ll ever recover enough strength in the knee to be able to return back to my beloved Camino, but to simply be able to enjoy the sport of hiking at even this very basic level after three years’ severe health problems preventing it entirely is more than just a breath of fresh air — it’s an utter delight !!!