Frómista to Carrión de los Condes, 19.3km
I am a person that doesn’t mind taking the “ruta alternativa.” Sometimes it works out and sometimes the rational, normal way would have been a better choice. That has been true in most of my life’s choices and certainly true for me on the Camino.
Early in this morning’s walk and on the outskirts of Población de Campos, there are two options on the trail – the traditional route and the slightly longer, Ruta Alternativa. Nearly all of the pilgrims this morning took the traditional, not me…
It turned out to be a great decision! The traditional route is fully exposed to the sun and runs alongside the highway connecting Frómista and Carrión de los Condes. Heat, road noise, and exhaust fumes.
The Alternative Route ran alongside the Río Ucieza and was shaded most of the way. I could see the majority of the pilgrims trudging along the Traditional Route as I walked along the shady trail. The two routes converged in Villalcázar de Sirga after 10km or so.
The remainder of this easy hike was uneventful. I did run into two German pilgrims in Villalcázar that we walked with nearly daily in the beginning but I hadn’t seen them since Atapuerca. Despite the language barrier, we had developed a nice friendship with them. It was good to see them and carry on a bit of a conversation.
I arrived at my destination at noon, it was a short day and I had an early start. On the recommendation of a friend traveling a few days ahead of me, I decided to stay in the Hostal Albe in Carrión de los Condes. I have to brag on this place – for 20 euros I got a private room, with a private bath and the owner machine-washed all of my clothes. All three of these are luxuries on the Camino, for 20 euros!
To top it off, the owner’s husband owned an adjoining grocery store…for another 5 euros, I bought enough food to feed me for two days. It is amazing to me how inexpensive food is in Spain, especially fruits and vegetables. Seems they don’t want to overcharge for the “grace of the earth.”
Settling was different today. Normally it is reserve a bed, hand-wash clothes, shower, and take a nap. Today, because of the hospitality it was: take a steaming hot bath and then nap while I waited for a bag of thoroughly cleaned clothes.
Rested, cleaned, and wearing clean clothes, I went out to explore the town. I settled in at the Bar Restaurante La Cerve for a few Estrellas and an American cheeseburger. The burger was the best one on the trip so far, the Spaniards don’t specialize (or even put forth a great effort) on burgers, they just make a meager offering to the American pilgrims.
While in the Bar, I finally met another American from Utah and had a long conversation in English for the first time in three and a half days!
This is the original Stage/Elevation map we received from the Pilgrim Office in Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port. It is significant today because Carrión de los Condes is the last town on the front page. Tomorrow, I flip the paper over and begin the second half!