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.