Thursday, September 8, 2011

The Road Less Traveled

See any pilgrims on these medieval cobble stones? I saw three today, one more than the number of loose dogs I encountered.

As for pilgrims, I walked briefly with two men from Poland leaving Altepascio, until they shopped to have their passports stamped (our ability to chat with their limited English was about exhausted).

Then I later walked with a French woman, a four-time diplomate of the Camino who had left her home in France three weeks ago to walk to Rome. We instantly got lost because of some recent slashing of new dirt roads that disrupted our trail. Luckily, after backtracking from a path that deteriorated to brambles, we followed her "let's go right" instead of my "it must be left." (Defer to the senior pilgrim.)

As for the dogs, I handled that badly. The official Via F. route wanted me to leave the highway out of Fucecchio and double back to walk along the Arno a bit. I could see two dogs acting territorial about the concrete plant I had to skirt. So I picked up a handful of rocks.

Unfortunately, the smaller dog hurled himself at me with no preliminaries. Luckily, I got off two rocks and the second one hit him in mid-air a few feet from me. He yelped and pivoted in mid-air (don't ask me how) and they both retreated to bark at a distance. Unfortunately, I hadn't got my backpack balance yet and it pulled me over when I leaned back to buy time to throw the second rock.

I should have just stayed on the highway and away from the dogs. Junkyard dogs can't help being junkyard dogs (any more than lawyers can help. . .).

At first I thought the left wrist I landed on was just twisted. But pretty soon I couldn't bend it or do anything with my hand, and some localized swelling appeared that's sensitive to touch. So now we're doing ice and aspirin while I type this with my right hand. Sure hope it's better in the morning.