Stage 14: Frómista to Carrión de los Condes (Curtis)

I made the mistake of teasing Linda before she’d had her first cuppa of the morning, and very nearly lost my head in the process. The hotel at which we stayed in Frómista, while lovely and managed by a magnificent young couple and their little daughter, committed the unspeakeable crime of not having black tea at breakfast for Linda the leaf junkie, and so, well, let’s just say that we’re fortunate someone didn’t lose a limb before eight in the morning.

We remedied the situation at the first bar on the way out of Frómista, and set off on our measly 19k walk to Carrión. I was concerned about the threat of rain, having got thoroughly soaked the afternoon before, but thankfully this didn’t come to pass. What did happen, a bit beyond Población de Campos, was a a thick fog that settled in around us and obscured the countryside for most of the morning’s walk. Not a bad thing altogether, since walking in the fog is way cool, and since, well, let’s face it, one only needs to contemplate so many wheat fields in one short life. It also meant that the distance seemed to fly by. Around 10.45 or so, I rocked up into Villalcázar de Sirga, where I made a brief visit to the magnificent church built by the Templar Knights (“La Virgen Blanca”) and stopped for almuerzo in the bar; the young lady there made me the most fantastic omelette with chorizo while I chatted with a Spanish pilgrim who had arrived in Frómista the day before via an alternative route from his home near Murcia.

I rolled out of the bar to knock off the final 6 kms to Carrión around 11.30; by 12:30 we were making our entrance into the city. Linda and Candy (another lovely young Australian pilgrim we’ve met on the Camino) had come up behind me on the final stretch, along with Irish Terry; they nipped off to the nearest bar for some refreshments while I scuttled off in search of morning Mass with the promise of hooking up with them afterwards. This I did, and then had lunch with a Spanish couple that we had seen in our hotels for several days running before heading off to our hotel in the Benedictine monastery of San Zoilo. After a hot shower and a two hour nap, I didn’t much feel like popping back up into the town, so I just hung out in the hotel for the rest of the evening, reading the Sunday papers until dinner time.

Dinner was marvellous: fresh pureé of vegetable soup followed by baked trout and a dessert of wine soaked pears. I decided to turn in early, around 10.30 p.m. or so, and got an unbelievable 8.5 hours of sleep for once! Fantastic, and it meant that I was ready to tackle thefollowing day’s even measlier 17.5 kilometers with energy to burn.