El Camino Frances

The Traditional Route from France

Eastern Meseta

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Castrojeriz to Frómista

27 May 1993 and 13/14 June 2002

The Camino leaves Castrojeriz and for a very short while crosses flat farmland and then a bridge over a small river. Here in 1993 I came across a man making bricks from clay and straw (adobe). These are left to dry in the sun and I took this as a sign of fair weather to come. We were both unlucky in this respect and I finished the day in full waterproofs.


After the river there is a long steep diagonal climb up to the Colina de Mostelares. This climb can be quite difficult after rain because the clay soil sticks to your boots but from the top there are good views back towards Castrojeriz. In 2002 I had set off early and watched the sun come up over the town.


This high plateau is less than a kilometre across then there is a steep descent into the valley of the river Pisuerga which forms the border between the provinces of Burgos and Palencia. A couple of kilometres before the river there is a fuente next to a road junction. Here in 2002 there was a campervan parked and John from Croydon was selling coffee and biscuits. He was spending the season travelling backwards and forwards along the Camino providing this service in locations away from villages.

The river Pisuerga is crossed by the ancient Puente Fitero but, immediately before the bridge it is worthwhile stopping at the Ermita de San Nicolas. This old building has been renovated as a refugio by an Italian group and there is a new toilet block at the rear. This refugio certainly looked inviting but it was too early in the day for us to stop. A german couple, Bernhard and Judit who later joined our group, were celebrating their honeymoon by walking the Camino. They were given the honor of sleeping on the large altar in this old ermita.


Itero de la Vega is soon after the bridge and it may be possible to obtain supplies and accommodation here. Another 8 km of meseta leads to the village of Boadilla del Camino where there is a choice of places to stay and eat.


In 1993 I only paused here for a drink before going on to Frómista but, in the heat wave of 2002, the private refugio (Albergue de Peregrinos en el Camino) was so inviting I decided to stay here for the night.


The refugio is in a large enclosed garden which also has a restaurant and country hotel (Casa Rural). After lunch we lay on the lawn in shady spots and watched the other walkers come in during the afternoon. Some of these had obviously been caught in the sun for too long and were well pleased to sit in the shade with a drink.


The village was in fiesta, another good reason to stay, and we were entertained by the owner and a friend with music on pipes and drums. The evening was spent mixing with the locals in the village bars and dancing in the streets. Our tallest girl was popular with the shortest men in the village. We made our way back to the refugio by torchlight after sampling too much Pacheran but we still managed to be up by 5.30 to reach Frómista in time for breakfast at 7.15.

Fromista Church

The short distance to Frómista is partly along the towpath of the Canal de Castilla which is crossed via lock gates just outside the town. In 1993 I arrived very wet at the refugio near the Plaza Mayor and was able to arrange for my clothes to dry while waiting for the rest of the gang to arrive. They had stayed in Hontanas and were extremely bedraggled and tired when they eventually turned up. We went to the priest’s house for our stamps then on to a restaurant that was advertising a special pilgrim’s menu.

There are some rather eccentric people who walk the Camino but one guy we met in the refugio was exceptional. Paco from Madrid had no luggage except for a plastic carrier bag containing a diary, notebooks and an electronic calculator. He was walking in old trainers without socks or laces and he had no changes of clothes. It was advisable to stay upwind of him and we left him behind within two days.