Day 6: Imma Sick as a Dog

Day 6
Date: Sunday, Sep 11, 2016
Stop: Lusitano Hotel, Golega     👍👍
Dist (Day/Total): Sick Day
High Temp:

From about the 2nd day I had started feeling sick and progressively feeling worse each day.  They were flu like symptoms.  In Santarem, I had loaded up on over the counter medication and spent the night constantly sucking on cough drops so that I wouldn’t cough thru the night in the dorm.  I also knew that I couldn’t stay in hostels or at least a dormitory until I could get rid of my cough.  By Golega, the cough was really bad and I felt miserable.  The over the counter medications didn’t seem to be doing any good.  And on top of that, my left knee, which I had hurt in Nepal a couple of years ago was starting to give me a trouble also.  Thankfully, I had brought my knee brace with me.  I decided to take a day or two off in Golega.  This was a small town with nothing to do.  The hotel was great; an oasis for relaxing.  This would be perfect.  With the weekend over, there were plenty of rooms.  I booked another night at €88.  I slept in.

For those of you with a delicate disposition may want to turn away at this point, skip the next couple of paragraphs.  But I feel like I need to do this as a public service for overweight, middle aged male hikers.  As if having the flu (I don’t know what it was but I’m going to call it that) and a bum knee wasn’t bad enough, I had started chafing; along the thighs, groin and butt cheeks.  It had gotten worse each day and by now was extremely painful.  I was constantly adjusting my underwear and starting to walk like a duck.  And taking a shower . . .  Ouch!  Ouch!  Ouch!

I’ve done plenty of long distance hiking and this had never happened before.  I was starting to wonder that something was seriously wrong and around the most sensitive areas.  I finally decided to Google my symptoms and found out that this is not rare at all; especially if it is extremely hot (check) and if you have fat thighs (check).  The problem is friction.  And if it is extremely hot and you sweat a lot, the sweat pours down your butt cheeks and the salt in the sweat rubs with your underwear to cause the chafing.  And if your underwear had an strategically placed seams, that makes it even worse.  It’s like a knife cut.  I check my underwear.  Seams.  I start wearing my underwear by turning it inside out.  I also find out that there is something specifically made to help with this, appropriately enough, called butt cream.  I wonder if they have this in Portugal.  But the articles I read online state that you can also use creams made for baby diaper rash.  And they certainly have babies in Portugal.  I actually find a really good product specifically made for hikers at the pharmacy.  It worked wonders and I could tell a difference immediately and it fixed the problem.  Putting it on became part of my morning ritual.  I did stop turning my underwear inside out.

Road Into Golega

. . . and welcome back my delicate disposition readers.

The hotel restaurant had a great breakfast buffet.  None of that continental stuff.  Bacon, eggs (fried and scrambled), potatoes, toast, etc.  The dinner the previous night was great also.  I had a late breakfast and skipped lunch.  Spent most of the afternoon on the restaurant’s shaded patio catching up on my writing and planning ahead.  I took a nap.  It was dark when I got up from my nap and headed to the restaurant for dinner.  It appears darker than normal and I wonder what time it opens.

So, a comment about hotel restaurants in Europe.  I’m not talking about large, chain hotels in big cities.  They are not like hotel restaurants in the States.  They don’t open for breakfast and they stay open all day until they close after dinner.  There are set hours for breakfast, lunch and dinner.  This is actually true for a lot of restaurants and bars in France.  You can’t just saunter in at any time and expect a meal, you friggin’ heathens.

I walk into the restaurant.  Empty.  No employees around either.  Tables are bare.  Not a good sign.  I go back to the front and, yes, the restaurant is closed on Sunday nights.  No problem.  Does the bar serve food?  Yes, it does, basic stuff like sandwiches but not tonight.  At this point I lose something in the translation.  The bar is normally open on Sundays but is closed tonight for a private party or is normally closed on Sundays and is only open as a special case for a private party.  Either way, I’m not getting a meal in the hotel tonight.  And, by the way, the restaurant is closed on Mondays (tomorrow) also.  Well, that’s a kick in my chafed butt.

I debate skipping dinner as I wonder which is correct – start a cold, feed a fever or feed a cold and starve a fever.  I decide to walk the couple of blocks to the town square and try out the Central Cafe.  Evidently this is a famous restaurant and has a lot of good review from across the world.  Although relatively early, the restaurant is nearly full but there is only one waiter and he is not in a good mood.  And the service reflects that.  The food isn’t bad but it is way too much food.  A lot of flies, also.  Golega is the horse capital of Portugal.


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