As forecast, the day was cloudy and it looked like rain. Another subdued day but a day none the less for walking. Its easier walking in this type of weather but not so good for photography being less inspiring with the flat light. It was starting to drizzle when I left the village of Boadilla del Camino but at least the Way was flat. It followed the Canal de Castilla for many kilometres. It was a pleasant walk in the cool damp morning air. I walked alone while a few cyclists sped past. For a short time I had a problem with my right foot. It was really painful and came on suddenly and unexpectedly. As soon as it appeared, it disappeared. Probably a trapped nerve.
Near Fromista, there was a canal lock system consisting of quite a few lock gates. It seemed disused but was an impressive piece of engineering. At one time it was an important commercial mode of transport, no doubt now overtaken by the motorway system. As I entered the town it seem deserted and as unused as the canal. The cottages along the road into town were made of red brick and reminded me of the buildings of Belgium and Northern France. It was like being immediately transported to those environs and a strangely surreal experience.
Fromista is the end of the sixth stage of the Aymeric Picaud‘s Codex Calixtinus, a five volume 12th century guide to the Camino. I stopped for coffee in a small bar. The coffee was so good I had another while talking two two guys cycling to Santiago. One from Germany, the other Italian, they chatted enthusiastically about their trip and after the obligatory ritual of taking each other’s photograph, they headed off. Cyclists definitely move at a different mental as well as physical pace to us walkers.
What followed was another flat straight walk with a succession of small villages. The sun was starting to come out and the heat starting to build. It was not particularly inspiring country and I was surprised to see that €402,000 was being spent on upgrading the road near Revenga de Campos. There was no traffic on it! I continued the steady slog along the track to be woken occasionally by Spanish cyclists shouting ‘Buen Camino’ as they flew past. There were flowers everywhere and the land started to come to life as the sun broke through. There were some wonderful floral displays. The only sound was the occasional blaring of an air horn from the local baker doing his rounds.
I stopped for lunch in Villalcazar de Sirga and as I was heating some mushroom soup, Lorenzo arrived. He was again having problems with his feet and sighed a huge relief as he removed his boots. We ate and chatted to some other pilgrims before looking round the town. It had clouded over again and it seemed a good idea to sample some good Rioja as spirits were low. Jasmin, who I had seen at Espinosa del Camino, turned up on her own without Simone. She joined us for our second glass of Rioja. Wanting to spend some time on her own she would catch up with Simone later.
Seven and a half kilometres later we were at Carrion de los Condes where I had planned to spend the night. It was a surprisingly vibrant small town with twelve churches. In the past it had been an important stop on the way to Santiago but today is a small and pleasant market town.
After bumping into Pascal and Bernard, I checked into the Albergue Santa Maria before heading off to the supermarket. Returning to the albergue, I met Alex and a bunch of his fellow walkers. Alex was preparing a huge meal and invited me to add my ingredients to the mix. The rest of the evening was wonderful. We sat in the garden and dined on Alex’s and everyone else’s contributions to the meal. This was ‘slow food‘ and its such a change from the crazy fast food that has become so omnipresent in Western society. Of course Rioja wine was involved and we all had a great time with may laughs.