Day 16, 9th October 2014: Castrojeriz to Fromista, 26.2 kms

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October 9th 2014
Published: October 11th 2014
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This day was meant to be an easy walk but seemed to be mentally difficult for some pilgrims. Sue was keen for it to end,as were a few younger walkers with very few pain issues. I think the first 7 kms were testing and set the tone for the day.

We left Castrojeriz at about 8am to the sound of doves cooing in the ancient eaves of the church, as it was a short leg to walk, but after a steady couple of kilometres with a few ups and downs, we crossed a long stone levy bank/sort of bridge, we faced a 12 degree, which looks more like 45 degrees when you see it, mountain to climb. It left the rio Odrilla and rose 110 metres over about one kilometre. I like to set a pace, take steady deep breaths and keep going; it works for me. Once you're at the top, dry off, get your breath and go again. Many people stopped to admire the view and it was amazing.

If you doubt you can do this, you only have to look around. Sure there are fit young people laughing their way across Spain, but you have to look at how they walk. It's hard to disguise badly blistered feet because people limp, walk more cautiously, or just slow down to accommodate their pain. Today there was an elderly Korean woman using an umbrella ang a walking stick to make this ascent while a younger man waited at different spots for her. Earlier in the day, a guy was walking so slow I had to gauge him against a power pole to be sure he was moving. Ok, maybe a slight exaggeration but you know what I mean.

At the peak of Alto Mosterares there is a small covered area to rest in before continuing on the flat of the Meseta for a kilometre before descending into Itero de la Vega. The path down was concrete, had good grip, and some people zig zagged their way to the bottom to relieve their legs and knees. I tried it and it seems to be easier. I have no issues like this but I figure, why not save the strain.

As we entered Itero we were approached by a woman spruiking the benefits of her bar in the village. Prices, products, quality; she was a human billboard. Roz from Melbourne was with us at this stage and she is great company. Roz gave us her Melbourne details and we will certainly be looking her up on our return. The bar in town was just OK but stopping gave us a chance to check feet, have a coffee and just rest.

After Itero there is bare countryside until Boadilla del Camino, a small village where we stopped for lunch. We made rolls with olives,cheese and jamon and had them in an overgrown picnic area. After a while it became evident that this nice spot was also used by locals to walk their dogs. Roz appeared again and walked with us to the edge of town where we stopped for an ice cream at the most unfriendly place so far. It was almost an inconvenience to serve me. Fromista was now only 6 kms away so we headed to an intersection, turned right, and proceeded in the wrong direction.

Now, it's not often you can go the wrong way on the Camino and not pay the penalty but we were lucky. We crossed an ancient stone bridge, well worth the diversion, turned left, and were walking along a
Ermita de San NicolasErmita de San NicolasErmita de San Nicolas

13th century pilgrim hospice
lovely canal with a shady grove of oak trees to our right. After 3 kms or more I mentioned to Tim that I had not seen any footprints in the light mud on the track. It was as though we were the first to walk it today and there were certainly people ahead of us. Then two cyclists passed us......on the opposite side of the canal. Then we saw yellow arrows.....on the opposite side of the canal. We checked the guide and while we were on the wrong side, we decided they meet in the same place and we just won't have to cross the river.

The tracks today were smooth gravel with just a few rocky sections and we arrived in Fromista after 7 hours of walking including breaks. the hostel we booked in at El Estrella was adequate with vinyl mattresses and pillows, so out come your protective covers. A shower, rest and we went for a look around and a coffee. The Romanesque church in Fromista is meant to be the best example in Spain but like so many churches we see, it was closed. That night we had the pilgrims menu at a local restaurant
Puente de IteroPuente de IteroPuente de Itero

Its11arches cross the rio Pisuerga to lead us into the Province of Palencia
which was the usual 3 courses and drinks for 10 euros. Pretty good value but the quality does vary. We have been looking for local 'hangouts' as this is usually the real deal, food wise. With an early start the next morning, we were in bed by 9pm.

Additional photos below
Photos: 10, Displayed: 10


The Meseta plainsThe Meseta plains
The Meseta plains

The same for hours.
The wrong wayThe wrong way
The wrong way

Crossing this bridge placed us on the wrong side of a canal adding 1km to our day. Lucky really.
Beds for the night. Beds for the night.
Beds for the night.

One room, 30 beds, 4 toilets and showers. Cosy!

11th October 2014

Love the updates.
Hey Steve and Sue. Great blog And terrific pix. Almost feels like we are there. But without the blisters! Keep going guys. Love your walk!
11th October 2014

Hang in there Sue...
just pop some painkillers! And you too Tim, although it doesn't sound like you have the same degree of blister problems.
11th October 2014

The painkillers just aren't doing it anymore Bob. I'm feeling guilty for getting over the blisters ! We need to rest the worst ones as there is still 2 weeks to go. There will be no stopping after Leon, regardless! Cheers, Steve
11th October 2014
Ermita de San Nicolas

Love these old medieval buildings and bridges!
After Leon, there's a little blister stop. In Astorga, there's a private refugio where I was a hospitalera for a couple of months. It's near the cathedral in an old mansion and has a fountain of salt water for soaking your blisters. The town is charming with intact Roman walls, a bishop's palace by Gaudi, a great chocolate museum and a beautiful cathedral. Hope you fine the refugio and Sue has a good blister soak. Buen camino.
11th October 2014
Ermita de San Nicolas

Sounds good Tara, thanks
12th October 2014

By the way...
you are Blogger of the Week. I hope this provides you with a bit of inspiration to keep going, but at a cautious pace.

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