I got into our hotel in Frómista about two hours ago. I still haven’t seen Linda, but the owner told me that she arrived a good two hours ahead of me, and soaked to the skin. Knowing how much she loves wind (and there was plenty of that to accompany the rain today) I can only imagine her enthusiasm for walking in a downpour. Probably a good thing I’ve not seen her yet … 🙂
Despite the threat of rain when we left Hontanas just before dawn this morning, I had determined to break up the distance of today’s walk into manageable portions. It just so happens that Castrojériz, the first village after Hontanas, is 10 kilometers down the road, so that was a good place for “second breakfast”, as the hobbits say, and a chat with the man behind the bar about Ernest Hemingway (once he’d found out that I live in Pamplona), Paulo Coelho and classic films. Can’t say I care all that much for either Hemingway or Coelho as writers, but it was more interesting than your average village bar conversation.
Leaving Castrojériz, the next challenge in today’s Camino was crossing the Alto de Mostelares (the Mostelares Height). It looks a lot more intimidating on approach than it actually is, and I choogled up the trail to the top pretty quickly, snapped a couple of photos while chatting with a couple from New Zealand, and then pushed on, determined to cover the 6.5 kilometers to Itero de la Vega ahead of the rain that was already looming on the horizon, forcing to put on my rain cape in preparation. I made it to the bar ahead of the rain alright, but while I was knocking back a cup of hot tea for energy and warmth, the sky opened up and it poured. I decided to see if I could wait out a break in the rain before setting off again, so I ordered another cup of tea and a plate of ham and cheese, and pulled out the paperback copy of the Confessions of St. Patrick that some pilgrim had left behind in San Juan de Ortega for a read.
Half an hour later the rain had still not let up, so I decided there was nothing for it but to push on and deal with getting soaked. As I left the bar, I discovered that in addition to now pissing down rain, the temperature had also dropped a good five degrees. I pulled my hood up, bent my back to the task at hand and just pushed on. It was pretty miserable, I won't lie to you. Boadilla del Camino, the next town, was 10 kilometers down the road, and Frómista another 6k beyond that. In other words, I still had half the day's distance to cover.
The rain let up just before I rolled into Boadilla. I had originally planned to make a final rest stop there before the final push into Frómista, but now I decided to take advantage of the fact that it had stopped raining and that the blowing wind was actually helping to dry me off now and push straight on to Frómista, asking God to hold the rain off till I made it to the hotel. I broke my resolve to not use my Mp3 player while walking since the final 6 kilometers were turning out to be a harder slog than I needed, so I made my way into Frómista to the sounds of Van Morrison, Nanci Griffith, Paul Simon, Neil Young, Johnny Cash and Tom Petty.
Frómista is another dusty (well, soggy today …) meseta town, famous for the Romanesque Church of St. Martin, the finest example of Romanesque architecture on the Camino. But I've visited it numerous times by now and really, there ain't all that much else in town to tempt me out of my nice, warm hotel, so I will probably just hit the evening Mass in the Church of St. Peter's just across the way before dinner, and then hunker down here for the night. We have been promised that the weather will improve tomorrow, but hey, we are pilgrims, so we'll just have to take it as it comes.
Cos the way we roll on the Camino …