Wednesday, May 11, 2022

Day 18 - 10 May - Fromista to Carrion de los Condes

As Bobby Pickett famously sang:

I’d done walking in Spain, one afternoon               

When my eyes beheld an eerie loon                  

Igor from his desk, all hunched and short 

Demanded that I “geeva me your passaport”

It was the mash, it was the monastery mash         

For not much cash, we thought we’d give it a bash  

With hindsight yes, our decision was rash.            

It was the mash, it was the monastery mash            

Sad to say that Fromista rivalled Cirueña for poor choice of overnight stop but we were in good spirits as we passed by the town’s best feature;

Mrs C’s shin splint issue had calmed down. With hindsight we think yesterday’s long, steep incline early on in the walk had aggravated the problem but today we had a nice, level walk ahead of us.

We passed over the roundabout and along the    P-980 road that would eventually take us to Carrion de los Condes, twelve miles ahead. After a mile and a bit we diverted off the straight road into the village of Poblacion de Compos where we stopped for a coffee. After yesterday’s crap villages, Poblacion was a bit ramshackle but authentic. Quaint no. Genuine yes. And the coffee hit absolutely the right spot.

We had the option of a more scenic route after Poblacion but one of us needed the certainty of facilities en route on a “just in case” basis so two miles later, along the very straight road, we were in Revenga de Compos. We found a bar and as it was nearly half past ten, I had a little beer. On then to Villarmentero de Campos, a further mile up the very straight road where we weren’t thinking of stopping but we did, enticed by a rather hippyish watering hole where the lady owner sat strumming a guitar, there were big sculptures in the gardens and a couple of geese attacked a peregrino. Here we met Carlos from Canada who, it transpired, was at Orisson the same (first) night that we were.

After Villarmentero we took a short hop cross country to pick up the aforementioned scenic route alongside a small river which was delightful and much nicer than the P-980. This diversion eventually emerged at the Ermita (church) de la Virgen del Rio where a new-age young chap was strumming a guitar and selling cold drinks on a donativo basis. It would have been rude not to.

Then on to Villalcazar de Sirga where we stopped for a light lunch. Thereafter the final three and a half miles were completed walking alongside the still very straight P-980 into Carrion.

Accommodation along the Camino seems to have been in fairly short supply so we have been booking one, sometimes two, nights ahead. Last night, by telephone, I had secured a double room at the Real Monasterio Santa Clara for fifty euros. Later, I received a voice message, in broken English, suggesting a problem (?) but they could still fit us in. So anyway, we turned up at the monastery hotel/albergue to be greeted by Igor -  probably not his real name but it should be. He shuffled across the courtyard to meet us, unlocked the door to the reception and ushered us in. Our fifty euro hotel room is now an eighteen euro twin cell in the albergue, provide your own sheet and towels. With accommodation sparse, beggars can’t be choosers. Igor explained the rules - this is a monastery after all. 

I had previously done a bit of googling about what monks actually do. This seemed to amount to not much more than praying, meditation, chanting, growing vegetables and singing. Take out the vegetables and it sounded just like being a football fan to me. 

Anyway, Igor continued his shuffling, giving us the royal tour. Cell. Latrines. Exercise yard etc, after which we were let out on parole so we strolled to the town centre where we parked up at a bar, in the sunshine and stayed there for two and a half hours, meeting variously with Carlos again, Tony and Pat (UK) and Tanya (USA). 

We have a sixteen mile day ahead of us tomorrow and only one town, after ten miles, between Carrion and our destination of Ledigos. Accordingly, we are planning our escape for six thirty so that we can get the bulk of the miles in before the temperature gauge hits twenty nine degrees. With potential watering holes tomorrow notable only by their absence, I have been adopting the camel principle by filling up today. As we speak, Mrs C is sowing together mail bags which we intend to knot together to make good our escape tomorrow. We would have preferred bed sheets but you only get those with the fifty euro room option.

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