I left Castrojeriz in the dark at 7:00 after a breakfast of toast, jam and coffee in the crowded kitchen at Albergue Rosalía. Outside of town, I joined a broad earth track that ran alongside the Roman causeway and crossed a bridge over the río Odrilla. Almost immediately, I started climbing steeply. It was 41ºF, but I warmed up quickly with the climb up to Alto de Mosterlares. Just past a pilgrim shrine, we started our steep descent.
Castrojeriz to Alto de Mostelares (3.5km)
The views over the flat Meseta with the harvest moon sinking on the horizon were magnificent, and quite daunting. The endless plain stretched away to the town of Frómista and even beyond.
Alto de Mostelares to Fuento del Piojo (3.9km)
It was soon cold again as the wind was gusting and biting. I was glad to have my fleece, which I’d considered tossing many times. I had also used my sleeping bag last night as it got down to 40° in the albergue.
Because the sun hadn’t risen above the mountain behind us, it was icy cold in the valley’s shadows. It was a long haul, 12km to the first town of Itero de la Vega.
I ran into “grit”-challenged Anna this morning. She had bought some new sandals and had decided to go ahead and walk to Frómista rather than take a taxi. I told her my shoes must be good because they have a big toe box. She said that sounded kind of creepy, like a serial killer: “Here’s my toe box, here’s my finger box.” 🙂
We passed the Ermita de San Nicolás (Chapel of Saint Nicholas) directly on the Camino before the bridge. The original pilgrim hospice was founded in the 12th-century and later a Cisterian monastery was added. The Ermita’s 13th-century buildings were restored by an Italian confraternity who used candlelight as the source of illumination, adding to a healing atmosphere. A ritual “washing of the feet” was supposedly offered here. Sadly, I missed it.
Fuento del Piojo to Ermita de San Nicolás (1.5km)
Before we reached Itero de la Vega, we crossed the río Pisuerga over the 11-arched Puente de Itero in the province of Palencia, or Tierra de Campos, an extensive agricultural area served by rivers and canals that irrigate the rich soils for cultivation of wheat, with some vegetables and vineyards. The river is a natural historical boundary between the kingdoms of Castilla and León.
Ermita de San Nicolás to Itero de la Vega (1.7km)
In Itero de la Vega, I stopped for a second breakfast — potato tortilla and coffee — at the bar, Puente Fitero. I saw the two Danish ladies, Marianne and Mette, Karen and Chun-Yu, a Korean lady I’d spoken with briefly, Haddas from Israel, and others. I also met another Danish lady, Sisse; we had passed each other on the Meseta earlier, back and forth. She thought she heard me speaking Danish to Marianne and Mette, and thought I might be Danish. I had to admit I didn’t know a word of Danish.
Itero de la Vega to Boadilla del Camino (8.5km)
We walked on a wide farm track past the small village of Bodegas with a wind farm on the ridge beyond. Wine cellars, or bodegas, are hobbit-like structures built into the sides of hillocks. They’re used to store local wine in a relatively cool subterranean enclosure.
After we crossed the Canal Pisuerga, the farm track continued up a gentle incline.
At the top, I could see the village of Boadilla del Camino. It looked so close but was so far over a very rocky path.
I finally checked into Albergue Titas in Boadilla del Camino, where Pablo, who had only one hand, said when he saw my passport: “Donald Trump! America First!” I shook my head and said, “No. He is not my president!” He helped me to phone ahead for an albergue in Calzadilla de la Cueza for the night of the 28th. It was hard to make reservations myself because of my pathetic Spanish, so I appreciated the locals who helped me out. I had hotels booked for the following two nights, after relatively short walks, 16km and 10km respectively. Villages on the Meseta are quite spread out; I didn’t want to miss out on a bed and have to walk another 10-16km! (Although, I wouldn’t walk; I’d take a taxi. I hadn’t had to do it yet, but I wouldn’t have hesitated to do so).
Albergue Titas was somewhat new and very small, only 12 beds. The other one in town, Albergue En El Camino was quite nice; I wished I had stayed there except I wouldn’t have met the helpful Pablo.
Boadilla del Camino (pop. 160) looked quite derelict and neglected. Apparently, it once had a population of 2,000 that served several pilgrim hospitals.
I went to look for some lunch at Albergue En El Camino, where I ate lentil soup, bread and limon y cerveza. I stopped to admire the fine medieval column, or Rollo, in the square complete with scallop shell motifs.
I walked around the 16th-century parish church of Santa María, but it was closed so I couldn’t go inside.
After updating my Instagram, I ordered pizza outside my albergue and sat with Karen and Simon from Britain, who I’d met in Atapuerca. I also met their married friends, Linda from Norway and Peter from England. We talked about their recent wedding and how she had proposed to him after he’d asked so many times, he gave up. I felt a bit on the outside, as they were all good friends, so I excused myself to collect my laundry.
It seemed I most often connected with solo pilgrims, as I found many of the married couples were too inward-focused. This would NOT prove to be the case with Karen and Simon in later encounters. However, I found this often with other couples.
Today’s stage in the Brierley guidebook was from Castrojeriz to Frómista, 24.9km, or 15.5 miles. That was simply too long for me. I was trying to keep my walks to 16-20 km, or maybe slightly over that. I kept my walk today to 20.2km by stopping in Boadilla del Camino. I met a number of other pilgrims at Albergue Titas, where I was staying, that were going on to Frómista but regretted not stopping here. I had learned my limit the hard way; the days I pushed over 20km were very hard on my knees and feet.
I felt a bit isolated in the evening as most of the people I’d been walking with went onward to Frómista. They would certainly leave me behind over the next couple of days with my planned shorter distances. I hoped Darina would catch up with me.
I saw my loved one still hadn’t unblocked me on social media, nor had he apologized, but he hadn’t been in contact with my husband either. I didn’t feel as bothered as I was before, but I was determined he would have to apologize to me. I honestly couldn’t connect with him at this point, so it was just as well to leave it alone.
Today’s walk was beautiful, but I was feeling a bit bored and homesick as well. I couldn’t wait to reach the halfway point. I still had 432.5km to Santiago, or 268.7 miles.
*Day 22: Tuesday, September 25, 2018*
*31,001 steps, or 13.14 miles: Castrojeriz to Boadilla del Camino (20.2 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: Serra Do Topo to Fajá Dos Cubros.
The emotional ups and downs are immense, Cathy- even just following along. I start out enthralled by the rising sunlight over the sweeping planes, only to get depressed by their endlessness, and then beam at the sight of that river and finally Boadilla, which seems a pretty little town, but I think I may well have burst into tears along the way. I don’t think endurance is me, Cathy, and I’m impressed that you did this. 🙂 🙂 Thanks again for sharing.
Thank you, Jo. This day didn’t feel particularly emotional to me, at least not that I recall from what I wrote in my journal. Mostly, it was daunting looking at and thinking about the path ahead. It did seem endless for sure. But in one way it was awe-inspiring seeing that path and knowing that in the end, I would walk the whole distance. Maybe you would have burst into tears at some point along the Camino, especially if you were sharing deeply with other people and listening to their stories, or if you were going through tough things yourself. The Camino is all of life rolled into one: physical, emotional, spiritual. There is no escaping any of it on the Camino. I do think you could do it, if you had the desire! Anyway, it’s up to each person to decide. 🙂 Thanks so much for reading. 🙂
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I agree with Jo. Deep admiration for both the way you cover demanding country, and your willingness to share emotional ups and downs. I love the early photos of the moon and the plains, especially the first one: horizontals appeal to me every time, as do those lovely muted colours. I was amused by the serial killer comment, although I love the idea of a generous toe-box in walking shoes – nothing worse than squished toes.
I prefer my friends single, I must admit, partly because I like one-on-one encounters anyway, and for the reasons you suggest: either inward looking, or subliminal bickering.
I hope it gets sorted with your loved one. It’s obviously giving you lots of grief.
Strange reading this, knowing you’ve been on at least two adventures since!
Thanks so much, Meg. As I mentioned to Jo, the Camino turned out to be a microcosm of life, with all the physical, emotional and spiritual things we experience in our lives. It’s interesting in that way, and I wasn’t expecting that. I too love the horizontals and the big skies, maybe one of the reasons I’m planning a road trip to the Dakotas this September. It will be flat, flat, flat! I loved parts of the Meseta for all the reasons you mention: the muted colors, the flat land, the moon over the plains.
As for the toe box, Anna’s comment was funny, but I know that toe box saved me from blisters that were experienced by so many other people.
I too like my friends single for the same reason you mention, even though I am married myself. We have never had married couple friends who have endured, but all my closest friends (the enduring ones) are single. I also enjoy one-on-one encounters, and am rarely a group person. Especially on the Camino, I found so many couples focused only on themselves or on other married couples.
My loved one has moved back home with us now and we are taking one day at a time. Right now he’s doing well, but many days are stressful for all of us, just worrying if things could go haywire again. I try not to think too much about what could happen, but often it’s in the middle of the night that the worries rear their ugly heads.
Yes, I’m sure it is strange reading this much after the fact, but for me, to write about it and re-experience it gives me a reason for reflection. It allows me to think about things that happened and consider how the experience has shaped my life since. It was one of the most growing experiences of my life. I still feel a warmth inside whenever I go back and immerse myself in those days.
Thanks so much for reading and for your thoughtful comments. 🙂
Great post 🙂
Thank you so much! 🙂
Oh my goodness, this is not even half way! As others have said, and I have said before, I admire your stamina and resilience.
Yes, not even halfway. However, my total walking days were 44 (47 with the three stops in towns), so as far as days walking, I was exactly halfway. Though many of my latter days would be longer in distance…. 🙂
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What a contrast in scenery from the flat plains and stunning sunrise to the tree lined river and beautiful bridge, calling out to be sketched. Those shoes with a toe box sound a great idea, never heard of them before. Your foot comfort is a number one priority on this challenging walk. Gosh still 400+km to go, quite daunting.
Yes, Pauline, too bad I had neither time nor energy to sketch, plus I’d never sketched anything at that time! I’m glad the toe box on my shoes gave me plenty of wiggle room and helped me avoid blisters. Yes, it was all quite daunting! 🙂
[…] (Camino day 22) Castrojeriz to Boadilla del Camino […]
Loving my travels with you, Cathy. I had it in mind to ask you two questions one of which you answered today – that is how far in advance do you book accommodation. The second question I had related to luggage… did you carry everything with you (what weight)? or did you use some form of luggage forwarding service?
Thanks so much, Albert. As for how far in advance I booked, I usually just booked one-two days in advance, except a couple of times when I booked further ahead. When I got to Sarria, the last 100km, where the crowds pick up quite a bit, I booked all my accommodation a couple of weeks ahead for the whole last 100km. As for my backpack, I used a luggage transport service for most of my Camino. I only carried my full backpack two days out of 44 walking days. Carrying it was too hard on my knees and feet! 🙂
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Thank you for that .. was the luggage service complicated to organise and or expensive? I imagine given the numbers of walkers its well organised at least.
Most of the time, the albergues organized the service for me. But later in the walk, this wasn’t the case and it got to be more complicated. As for cost, it was 5 euros each day to have it transported until I got to Galicia, where it suddenly became 3 euros (a nice surprise). I was walking for 44 days so less than 220 euros.
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Thanks for that Cathy.. the transfer costs seem quite reasonable — compared to other places I have seen. I guess they are transferring for lots of people so it keeps the costs down. Certainly beats lugging a full pack!
I thought the fees were quite reasonable, Albert, and transporting my bag made my Camino so much more enjoyable than it was on the few days I carried it!
I am always astounded by your beautiful early morning photos in each new post, Cathy. They are so lovely and peaceful and the soft colours are delightful. I wonder if you have a Danish doppelganger!
The mornings on the Camino were so beautiful that they made me want to keep starting early, Carol. It was a very peaceful time, and the sunrises were amazing. It’s funny how I never get up early enough for sunrises anywhere else. Maybe I do have a Danish doppelganger! 🙂
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The early morning views are sublime Cathy. Though that route from Alto de Mostelares to Fuento del Piojo seems endless and almost alien, but such lovely muted colours. Beautiful photos. I wonder if people thought you were Danish because of your white hair? I think Jo and Meg have said everything. Like them I admire your persistence and find it hard to believe that you are only half way at this point – you seem to have been walking forever.
Haha, it seemed I was walking forever, Jude, but now that it’s so far behind me, it’s hard to imagine I ever did it. That’s why it’s so much fun to write it and relive it, remembering each moment. I so loved those early mornings, with that cool air and the sunrises. That view with that path going off into the infinite distance seemed overwhelming, yet I traversed it all in the end, and more, just by putting one foot in front of the other. Strange how that was! Maybe people did think I was Danish because of my white hair, although most of the Danish people I met were blondes. 🙂
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I found this leg of your journey particularly beautiful. That light – oh my that amazing light! And the open spaces. And the murals. And the less formal architecture. Love, love, love.
Thanks, Marsi. It was one of my favorite stretches of the Camino! 🙂
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Climbing steeply at 41ºF… that is incredible! Thank you for the tour.
Beautiful photos, especially the early morning sun captures! 🙂
Haha, you really caught me on that one, Amy. It’s funny how we can’t sometimes see how our writing can be read in a different way in which we meant it. 🙂 Thanks so much about the photos. 🙂
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