Stage 17: Sahagún to Calzadilla de los Hermanillos (Curtis)

Darling, what do you expect to me to do all day with only 14k to walk?

‘Twas a bit of a short walk today, it was …

We had breakfast at our hotel in Sahagún this morning and set off along the Camino as always. This time out, I had programmed an “alternative route” for us, alternative in the sense that never in all the Caminos I have walked have I taken the route that splits off and follows the line of the old Roman Via Traiana from Calzada del Coto to Mansilla de las Mulas. I don’t know why exactly, but I suspect that a lot of the reason has to do with the fact that all of the modern guidebooks that I have used over the years indicate the other route (Calzada – Bercianos – El Burgo Ranero etc.) as the “Camino Francés” and this as the aforementioned “alternative”. But really, the fact that this is the old Roman road makes it very clear that this was the main route for the early pilgrims travelling westward to Compostela. Medieval pilgrims weren’t given to detours and ambling after all; they looked for the quickest and most direct route possible, and this would have been it. Seems the local government has worked very hard to promote the other route (which was undoubtedly the real alternative), but the framed, 19th century map on the wall of the place I’m sitting writing this indicates the road we walked this morning as the ancient pilgrim’s route, so there you are.

Calzadilla's main street

In any case, Calzadillo de los Hermanillos is only 14 kms. from Sahagún, and even trying to drag it out we rocked up in town well before 10.30 a.m. So we’ve had a lovely rest day and all, but my body is muttering unpleasant things about getting fat again if I don’t get my arse in gear and get back to doing some real walking, starting tomorrow.

The two main agricultural activities in Calzadilla are sheep herding and wheat farming, which pretty much sums up the economic activity of the meseta in general. There’s something essential to the Camino experience about staying in these little farming villages; in my stroll around town this afternoon, I saw lots of older folks out taking some sun and everyone of them (accustomed to pilgrims as they are) said hello to me. And unlike some of the crumblier towns we’ve passed through over the past week or so, you can see that there’s a bit of money in this one. The town’s broad, asphalted main street is spotless, as are all of the the brick and stone houses; even the traditional adobe houses are in perfect repair here. The town also boasts two pilgrim’s albergues, a municipal and a private one, as well as the casa rural where we are staying.

So, it’s pretty much been a rest day today. I’ve holed up in the casa rural for most of the day while Linda caught up on her e-mails, resting (TWO naps today kiddies; I seldom get even one lately), reading and having a lovely home cooked lunch. Our hosts, Leo and Gema, are fantastic; Leo is an absolute hoot, and you couldn’t ask for a cooler place to spend the day.

A little dispute erupts over the cost of the meal ...

Tomorrow we’re off to Mansilla de las Mulas, and then we meet Mike, Alex and Aidan in León on Friday. Looking forward to that and to the dynamic of “re-grouping”, which will make the trip seem brand new, although, truth be told, I could carry on like this for another month or two, since Linda is so easy to travel with.

I know you are all breathlessly awaiting the latest photos of us doing that pilgrim thing, but the computers lately have not had USB portals that I could plug my camera into, so you’ll just have to hang in there and put up with the generic ones till I can get to a better ‘puter, peeps. In León for sure, if not tomorrow …


With our fantastic hosts Leo & Gema in Calzadilla de los Hermanillos


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