Fromista to Carrion de los Candes – 19 Kms, 27,507 steps
I left this morning after a good night’s sleep, despite having had a monster G&T at yesterday’s cocktail hour. The Spaniards really know how to give you your cocktail money’s worth. Check it out:
As you may remember, the Brierly guidebook is the unofficial Bible of the Camino and everyone uses it. Today’s entry, however, highlights a bias of his that isn’t very helpful. The original Camino path runs next to a two-lane highway. Not right next to it, there’s a ditch and some dividing land. But in his first sentence about the route, Brierly describes this adjacent path, known as a senda, as “soulless”. He makes it sound like the adjacent road is packed with fume-spewing cars and trucks and lobbys for an optional route along a canal, which adds neary 2 Kms to the walk.
Well, I can testify that the original route is perfectly pleasant. It’s safely separated from the roadway, it’s flat, and its surface is packed sand and pea gravel (a huge improvement over the awful rocks of the last few days). Yes, an occasional car or truck comes by, but the frequency is something like one every ten of fifteen minutes. This is not a heavily- traveled motorway. Several pilgrims I spoke with expressed their surprise at the guidebook’s heavy-handed take on this route.
So, almost needless to say, I had a really nice walk today. So flat I almost didn’t use my hiking poles at all. The absence of shade along most of the way was not a big deal, it was sunny but temps were in the low-70s by midday. For me, it was the perfect distance and conditions for returning to the Camino after a rest day.
I passed through the town of Revenga de Campos and took my mandatory halfway-there 30-minute break in Villarmentero de Campos at a nice hippy-ish cafe. They had a big yard, with lots of murals, and hammocks. The goose shown above wandered about freely, obviously an old hand at working the crowd for handouts. He was huge and had a really loud, grating honk.
My five plus hours of walking was through the now-familiar farm fields of The Meseta, with little to break the monotony outside of the few towns. Nonetheless, the weather was glorious and the footing easy, so not a bad way to spend the morning.
As I’ve mentioned before, I’ve passed by thousands of acres of sunflowers. This morning I managed to see some of them being harvested. The big machine is a called a combine and has a special cutter-scooper on the front that harvests the plants. There are some interesting videos online that explain how it all works and how all the non-seed plant material is filtered out.
I finally arrived in Carrion de los Condes and had no trouble locating my lodging. It’s called Comfort Suites but has no connection to the Choice Hotels chain of the same name in the U.S. As I was a bit early and no staff was there, I had the fun challenge of checking-in using a wall-mounted kiosk, which involved, among other things, feeding my passport into a scanner. All went well but I’m bracing for a deluge of junk mail now that I had to provide my email address in order to get a receipt. My room is really quite nice, very large, and equipped with a U.S. style air conditioner and giant TV. Is it too soon to take another rest day?
Tomorrow is a 17 Km walk to a place called Calzadilla de la Cueza. We’re warned that there is nothing at all for 17 Kms going there, so we need to bring food and plenty of water. There might be a food truck at the halfway point, but I’m not counting on it. Cheers.