I knew I had a shorter walk today, so I took my sweet time getting underway, leaving close to 7:30. The walk between Boadilla del Camino and Frómista was the prettiest part of today’s walk: a farm track through the Tierra de Campos along the Canal de Castilla under a peaceful elm-lined path. Owls hooted morning greetings as the sun rose, while birds twittered in the rustling trees. Ahead of us, the moon floated downward to earth. As we left town, a pack of dogs barked vociferously behind us and I kept looking back to make sure they weren’t coming after us. Ornamental grasses danced along the canal, and I loved the trees from the opposite shore reflected in the canal. It was peaceful and soothing.
Temperatures this morning were about 45°F, but were forecast to get to 85°F by the afternoon. It was hard to dress for these extremes in temperatures.
Boadilla del Camino to Frómista (5.8 km)
The 18th-century Canal de Castilla provided transportation of cultivated crops as well as power to turn the corn mills. With the advent of motorways, its use is now restricted to irrigation and leisure. There is a plan to restore the the canal system with all its original 50 locks.
In Frómista, with its declining population of 840, I found the 11th century Romanesque Iglesia de San Martin. With its round towers flanking the main entrance, it is supposedly one of the finest examples of pure Romanesque in Spain. Built with a mellow stone, its proportions are exquisite. It has an octagonal cupola above the cross, while its cylindrical towers, acting as belfries, give it a fortress-like appearance. Its exterior has 300 corbels each carved with a different human, animal or mystical motif. Sadly, it was closed.
Frómista was an important pilgrimage stop for pilgrims heading east to the Holy Land. There were several hospitals here in medieval times, such as the Hostería Los Palmeros, the palmeros referring to pilgrims to the Holy Land whose symbol was a palm leaf rather than the scallop shell representing the Santiago pilgrimage.
Frómista comes from the Latin frumentum (cereal), as it provided huge amounts of wheat to the growing Roman Empire.
After Frómista, the path flattened out and hugged the road; this part is what people consider the soulless sendas (trails) that run alongside the pilgrim autopistas, or motorways. It seemed the terrain before us was flat as far as the eye could see.
This was where the heat kicked in.
I made a brief stop at the 13th-century Romanesque Ermita de San Miguel in a shaded glade along the road, and then I continued on into Póblacion de Campos.
Frómista to Población de Campos (3.4km)
After that, it was a 5.4km slog through a boring, hot, featureless landscape, crossing a bridge over the río Ucieza, to Revenga de Campos, where the residents seemed to be having an early siesta. The village has a pilgrim statue and the 12th-century Church of San Lorenzo. At the Church of San Lorenzo, I found two nuns reading from tiny prayerbooks.
Población de Campos to Puente (0.5km) to Revenga de Campos (3.3km)
Then I walked on to Villarmentero de Campos, with cornfields stretching away into the distance left and right and nothing else to be seen. In town, there wasn’t much except my hotel, La Casona de Doña Petra, the private albergue Amanecer, and the Church of San Martín de Tours, which seemed permanently shuttered.
Revenga de Campos to Villarmentero de Campos (2.1km)
After settling into my hotel, I walked across the street to Albergue Amanecer for a drink. There, I met Karen and Simon from Norfolk, UK. I had met them the previous night, and before Burgos in Atapuerca. It seemed they would be on the same schedule as me for at least a couple of days. They are the nicest people. Simon told me he lived in Egypt for a while, training IT teachers. We talked about how the U.S. and Britain have mucked up things in the Middle East.
Albergue Amanecer had a quirky but shady outdoor setting, with donkeys, geese, sheep and dogs wandering around the grounds. They offered bunk beds, hammocks, tipis, wooden tents and other unconventional beds, including concrete piping scattered about on the lawn. A girl with dreadlocks teetered back and forth across a tightrope.
I ordered wine and French fries, which I offered to Karen and Simon. The day before, I had given them half my pizza at Albergue Titas, where they’d stopped in for a drink.
The donkeys enjoyed poking their heads around on our table, almost upsetting our wine glasses. We enjoyed quite a few laughs over the bold creatures.
Later, I had dinner at the hotel with Karen and Simon. The three of us and another couple from Portland, Oregon, Carrie and her husband, were the only ones in the hotel restaurant. We all got in a big discussion about the disaster of Donald Trump. Karen and Simon were upset about Brexit. That conversation went on for a long time.
I got a note this evening from a good friend of mine letting me know that a childhood friend of ours, Tammy, had killed herself the previous weekend. I had many fond memories of Tammy, from going to see a Rolling Stones concert with her to attending her fun Christmas-caroling parties. I was saddened to hear that she took her own life.
*Day 23: Wednesday, September 26, 2018*
*24,960 steps, or 10.58 miles: Boadilla del Camino to Villarmentero de Campos (15.9 km)*
You can find everything I’ve written so far on the Camino de Santiago here:
On Sundays, I post about hikes or walks that I have taken in my travels; I may also post on other unrelated subjects. I will use these posts to participate in Jo’s Monday Walks or any other challenges that catch my fancy.
This post is in response to Jo’s Monday Walk: Ponta Delgada.