Camino de Santiago de Compostela - Calzadilla de la Cueza to Sahagun

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September 13th 2015
Published: October 18th 2015
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Nick, Karen and MargieNick, Karen and MargieNick, Karen and Margie

The rock arrow showing the Camino direction in the rain.
13 September 2015, Sunday. stage 19. Caladilla de la Cueza to Sahagun

GPS 14 + miles about 5 hours walking time and 7 hours and 10 minutes overall time to complete days walk.

Fitbit: 13.55 miles, 30,955 steps, 50 floors/stairs

We are now following parts of two different stages in the Brierley guide book. We had gone the partial distance yesterday from Carrion de los Condes to Caldadilla de la Cueza which is about 3/4 of stage 17. So today we complete this section and half of the next stage, 18, on to Sahagun. Our Hostel and Restaurante Camino Real was right on the camino but farther through town from the albergue. The town is said to have a population of 60 and our Hostel sleeps 80 plus all the beds in the other places in town. We had an upstairs room above the bar but the pilgrims dinner last night was extremely good value.

As we started out the weather looked stormy and shortly along the way we put our rain covers on the backpacks. It was a wet and windy day - actually our first really inclement weather of the trip. We had some intermittent rain before and after Pamplona, but this is now a steady rain with wind. As we walked the wind was to our left at about 90 degrees, not in our face, thankfully. We had a short, but at times steep, climb before dropping down into Terradillos de Templarios - so named because of the knights of Templar. Little remains of the vestiges of this order but the spirit and there is a plaque honoring the last grand master of the order, Jaques de Molay - a name I remember from the de Molay groups during high school.

It is along this route that we pass a tree and memorial to the Rev. Philip Wren, a Methodist minister and pilgrim who died here on May 2013 on 'THE WAY.' He had walked The Way several times and this was said to be the way he wanted to die, while walking the Camino. He had served several churches in England.

Just past San Nicolas del Real Camino we cross the boundary between the Palencia region of Castille y Leon Province into the Leon region. There are some who write on walls their wishes the Leon and Castille be separate provinces
Margie at the tree and memorialMargie at the tree and memorialMargie at the tree and memorial

Planted for the Rev. Philip Wren, Methodist Pilgrim from England.
but they have been united since Alfonso V centuries ago. This uneasy, historically forced union is even reflected in the difference in topography! We enter the eastern side of the province in the Tierra de Campos--the flat, agricultural meseta, much of the land being irrigated. Villages are made of adobe and appear bright red under the blazing sun. Continuing west we will enter Leon, the capital. We will find a most artistic and creative city with the centerpiece of the city being the cathedral. Pork reigns here as well as local cheese and quince jelly called Membrillo. A wonderful dessert, after a heavy meal, is the local cheese with a slice of the jellied quince. Continuing to move west across the province we enter the region of the Maragatos (more on that culture later) and finally run into Montes de Leon, the mountains of Leon. Quite a change from the endless flatness of the meseta in the province of Palencia.

There are several streams we cross on this relatively flat portion of the camino. The last before Sahagun is the Rio Valderaduey where we followed the path (senda) along the river a short distance to the church of the Virgen del Puenta. It was 2 o'clock and they were ready to close the church on this Sunday afternoon when we arrived. The lady very patiently let us walk around inside and take photos through the inside door. Just outside the church is the monument signifying the halfway point on the ancient Codex Calixtinus - the first written description of the Camino to Santiago. This was written in the 12th Century by a Frenchman, Aymeric Picaud, in five volumes, after Pope Calixius had instituted the Compostela Holy Years.

As we walk past the large grain silos entering Sahagun, we find an open garage out of the rain to consult the map and see where our lodging is located. I see that if we are still on the camino route we need to cross over the railroad tracks and then take the second street to the right. Out of the garage, around a small bend, we see the road turn and pass over the railroad and 'voila' in the first block is a sign to the tourist information center and the name of our Hostel La Codorniz. The bar and restaurant are hopping with Sunday afternoon patrons. We wait more than ten minutes for someone to come and check us in. I asked about bags and the man says he only speaks Spanish. But they are 'fonda.' No clue what that meant so I walk up the passageway and start opening doors. In a banquet room I found our bags. A lady comes and seems disturbed that the door was open. So I get our bags to take to the room and she immediately locks the door behind me.

A French couple was checking in just after us and they spoke no Spanish or English. They also had bags in the room. Across the hall a Canadian couple, Lawrence and Elaine, explain about the half way certificate we can get. After warming up with a great bath, I go to the tourist office which is open at 1600 and get a map. The only place open this Sunday afternoon is the museum and restored Convento de San Francisco. This is open until 2000 and where we can get the halfway 'Compestelas.' We meet Nick and Margie and walk through town to this wonderful complex. The original mud brick structure is being restored. The lady who sells the tickets and does the certificates of halfway, sells us a ticket then asks if we are over 65, "sesenta y cinco" I say setenta y dos but she understand it as sesenta y dos. So I say in English 72. She takes back our tickets, refunds 2 euros and gives us two tickets for jubilados (retired folks). The statue of the Virgin Mary as a pilgrim is very beautiful. There is a room with Moorish tiles and mudejar decoration from when the Moors occupied this town and the outside structure houses a display of Spanish Civil War photos by DeCamp. We spend an hour or more here just before they close.

After our visit we are afraid of rain so walk through the main plaza and back to the hotel where we have another nice pilgrims' menu dinner.

Additional photos below
Photos: 15, Displayed: 15


Outside the door of the hermitage - Our Lady of the BridgeOutside the door of the hermitage - Our Lady of the Bridge
Outside the door of the hermitage - Our Lady of the Bridge

Ermita Virgen del Puente was just closing as we arrived.
Part of the marker signifying the halfway point to SantiagoPart of the marker signifying the halfway point to Santiago
Part of the marker signifying the halfway point to Santiago

From St. Jean France to Santiago this was half way according to Codex Calixtinus.
Iglesia Senora La Peregrina at Convento de San SahagunIglesia Senora La Peregrina at Convento de San Sahagun
Iglesia Senora La Peregrina at Convento de San Sahagun

The four of us with the statue of the Virgen dressed as a pilgrim.

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