El Camino Frances

The Traditional Route from France

Eastern Meseta

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Frómista to Carrión de los Condes

28 May 1993 and 14 June 2002

Camino with bollards

There is not very much to say about the short stage between Frómista and Carrión de los Condes. It is almost entirely alongside a road although in recent years a purpose built dirt track has been made for walkers. This has bollards set at intervals to deter farm vehicles from using it and cutting up the surface in wet weather.

meseta

There are a few villages along the road for food and accommodation if needed and a short shady stretch along a river bank between Villovieco and Villarmentero. The countryside here is known as Tierra de Campo and the views are prairie like of unending fields of cereal.

Thankfully Carrión is an interesting small town with a choice of refuges and hotels.

1993. Our gang arrived before noon and went straight to the church of Santa Maria. The refugio is an annex of the church and was run by the priest’s housekeeper (and sister) Maria. The building was old but new bunks had recently been installed and the hot showers were needed after tramping along the hot asphalt.

The large garden, which also served as the priest’s vegetable plot, was made available to us to dry our laundry and to eat our picnic lunches. We had to fend off three friendly kittens that were skilled at stealing any food left unguarded.

The afternoon was spent around the town buying food and medical supplies and resting in a pleasant park by the river.

Bridge at Carrión

There was a lot of bustle about the church in the afternoon because they were expecting a visit from the local bishop for a special service. We settled down to make repairs to feet and clothes and welcome latecomers who had to use a bunkroom upstairs when ours was full. The kittens had come indoors by now and were begging from anyone who opened a packet of food.

I was feeling particularly tired this day and had just settled down for a siesta when the room was disturbed by a very noisy group of visitors. I turned around and only just prevented myself from saying something inappropriate to a bishop in full regalia.

2002. On the way into town is the Convento de Santa Clara which also serves as a refugio. For an additional price we decided to take single rooms which had been converted from nun’s cells. These were small but very well equipped with en suite bathrooms and very peaceful.

Carrión Convent

Jann had twisted her ankle on this stage and combined with other problems thought it best to take things easy for a few days then meet up with us in Leon. She was able to limp with us to a restaurant for a meal (quail for me) then went back to the convent while the rest of us bought medical supplies and food for an evening snack.

After siesta we went slowly back to town for a quiet drink. There was no curfew at the convent and we had been given a front door key. As we passed the other refugio at 10pm Maria was already at the door waiting to lock up when the last stragglers returned.

In the street there is a large digital thermometer which was showing 38C and rising at 2pm and was still 23C at 11pm when we returned from the bar.