Saturday, February 20, 2016

4th Leg of Camino Providence La Rioja: Viana to Carrion

Sept 16, 2015 -- Viana to Navarette  14 Miles / 22.5 Km

Another day to be thankful. I met several new pilgrims today - Anna from Belgium, Irene from Denver & Barbara from Ohio.       One hill to climb - 500 feet / 150 meters in elevation. 

 Blessed with beautiful sunrise and skies


 Often I would see
 rock arrows to mark the way...
and praying that this was 

truly the correct way; and not
someone playing a joke on us


 A quiet resting spot...
                        Walkway over roadway
                         Path parallel to roadway - Seldom were there many cars / trucks on the road
                          Approaching tunnel.... path for walkers only, no cars on this road.
                            Shared the road with  many snails along the road
                   Buen Camino - the greeting shared with another Pilgrim -- "have a good journey"
         Always heading east on my Camino -- looking at my shadow along the way
         Approaching the first village of Logrono.........

                                4 miles / 6.5 Km to our first town of Logrono Population 145,000.  

As per usual, Nancy and I started out together, and Nancy being a faster walker was at least 30 minutes ahead of me. Our plan was to meet at the first bar after crossing the Rio Ebro. If we lost contact with each other we could message each other via WhatsApp as long as we had ViFi connection.

 Churches in Logrono

    I met Nancy at the first bar that was across the river -- actually I was somewhat concerned because the first bar was more of a meeting place, and she was not there. So I kept walking, and at an outside sitting area at a bar, several blocks into the city; I found her with others having Coffee con Leche - strong coffee, warm milk and sugar... and bread with cheese....Yum, Yum

                   Pilgrims that we had lunch with... a group of 5 who met along the Camino and they traveled together most of the way.

Sites in Logrono.....
Children on a field trip.


On the road to Navarrete - Plans to stay at A la Sombra del Laurel Albergue -- Nancy walked her fast pace, and I walked at my pace - enjoying the beautiful countryside.


                      Memorial site

Long paved roads -

play ground


 The path lead me around this lovely lake

Looking back towards the lake

                   then through vineyards...


                        Past ruins of a hospital

                                       Wild Flowers ---   or perhaps wild weeds...

                         Entering the town of Navarette...  final destination for the day - 
This is one of my favorite photos !

I stopped and asked 2 older Spaniards where the A la Sombra del Laurel Albergue was located -- I was tired and did not wish to back track if I missed the Alberque. After a few attempts, I was able to have them understand what I was looking for, and I was able to understand their hand signals that the Alberque was located on the far end of town. 

                             What a treat to have respite in this lovely peaceful Albergue.   

 Beautiful courtyard...



This is the
Laural Tree

We shared wine and a meal with our newly found Pilgrims - Irene and Barbara.

            The family of this Alberque owned a vineyard and made there own Very Good wine
                           -- the family was very gracious and took good care of us.

                            They had a pet rabbit and puppy

The son spoke English well and he ensured that
we had everything we needed -- Nice bed, food, wine and relaxation... A typical 20 year old. After dinner he was off to meet his friends.


Each village has a Church, some large, some small - the Church in Navarette was just as        lovely as most of them; and it's difficult for a picture to do it justice.

Church of Assumption built in the 16th Century -  photos of church from internet
Parish Church of the Assumption, Navarrete, Rioja, Spain

Sept 17, 2015 -- Navarette to Najera  10 miles / 16 Km

 The family provided Coffee and Carbs (typical Spanish breakfast) and sent us on our way.....

The walk today - slight elevation, and decline of 360 feet /  110 meters towards the end of our journey. Vineyards and Clouds followed us all day long. 


                 Rocky decline...........


 Entering Najera.....


it took me
awhile to get

my bearings
and find the
Albergue Herberge
( this picture
taken from window
of the Albergue).

Once I found the
Hotel connected 

to the Alberque, the
hostess walked me
to a comfortable
6 bed room, which we shared with Irene, Barbara and 2 ladies from France.

Happy to be 

putting my feet up......

                               I started seeing some really cute signs on the bathroom doors..

   Explored places to eat...

     Ummmm -- what to order???

  There was a festival in town, most of the activities were at night - a marching band came around every hour or so. And if you are not aware of this --- the Spanish people start parting around 9 PM and finish at 4 AM -- needless to say, we did not get much REM sleep as our Albergue was on the main road for the marching band. The French ladies rolled in around 4 AM - they were not too happy with us, as we were up at 6 AM...

 Sept 18, 2015  --  Najera to Santa Domingo  13 Miles / 21Km

Today we walked through country that looked a lot like my home state of Iowa. On the trail by 7 AM, after breakfast : yogurt, orange, coffee con lache and sweet roll. An easy walk with temps were 50 - 55 degrees in AM, & in the 60's by 11 AM & sunny.

                We started taking selfies --- our daily tradition ..
      Lovely morning fog

                The first village we passed through was Azofra (population 500)
               My shadow at 10 AM
                  Long straight road.............
             then  downhill
                   Row of trees, standing tall

The crops have already been harvested - not certain what crop had been harvested... the fields appear to have been plowed and we saw several tractors and plows today

Markings to
show our way

Long easy road
enjoyed the day

as this reminded me
of Iowa

                           Getting closer to the mountains.

                Looking back ------ remembering to look behind me and see how far I had walked.
 Coming into Cibuena - a more modern village, with a golf course -- we did not see any Spanish people here - appeared to be a 'vacation' village.

Leaving the village - signs of the Camino...........
             More farming country............
        Most days I saw several other Pilgrims -- Nancy is far ahead -- destination: Santo Domingo
 Entering Santo Domingo de Calzada

I wanted to stay at a convent,
so we stayed here..
As I walked into the city, I met Nancy walking towards me -- we had called and made reservations at what we thought was the convent tele number; but it turned out that the number in our guide book was incorrect, so not sure where we had reservations. The convent had 2 beds left, so we were happy to have a bed. The accommodations were not as private as what we had in the past (Nancy is a very light sleeper; plus we had decided to stay in a private room with 2 beds to allow for a good night sleep and hopefully prevent us from catching antyhing -- virus or bed bugs).

Stairs to our 5 bed room 

Here we slept with 
Di and Paul from South Africa - we first met them in Pamplona and were happy to have met up with them again. 
Also slept with  Peter from Ireland -- we had a 'lovely' conversation with him re: Donald Trump running for president in 2016. I had talked to other non- USA people about politics and it appeared that they were much better educated about USA politics then I was. And we did have some good times talking about world events and other countries way of life. 

 Cost was 6 Euros per person. Bed only, no towel.

My calves were burning -- which was the most aches I have had on my Camino. What a blessing to be here with Di - she use to be a massage therapist and she volunteered to massage my legs.

Again I am provided with exactly what I need !!!!!
 View from the convent window

     3 PM snack --- egg tortilla, red pepper with cheese on bread and beer for me; vine for Nancy

 Evening meal at 7 pm (siesta time between 3 pm and 7 pm, so the kitchen staff are gone)
          with Di and Paul; plus we ran into Barbara and Irene again....

                                Our waitress
  Pilgrim meals were 3 course meal consisting of
all the bread and wine, first course salad with tuna & olive oil / vinegar was always offered and this was often  my choice (other options were pasta with or without meat balls, soup, and as we came closer to the ocean: calamari or octopus); main course: fish or pork or chicken or sometimes beef and always french fries (one had to ask for ketchup)

 ... Our waitress / waiter  along the way spoke enough English for me to get my or I would point to the menu which was usually in Spanish and English. 

Cathedral with tomb of Saint Dominic

We spent time in the Cathedral and the museum next to the Cathedral, plus went to Vespers
(praying and singing by the nuns)

 Nun at organ and there were 5 other nuns singing and praying
Views in the Cathedral
    There were several alters / chapels

 Not sure the significance of the
alligator with a 
  One of the Stations of the Cross

  Some statues that were in the museum.. 

             St. John the Baptist

Sept 19, 2015 - Santa Domingo to Belorado 14. 2 miles / 22.9 km

 Today we walked through more farmland, saw trees: almond, Brazil Nuts and walnuts. 
            On our Way by 7 AM, left in the dark - Nancy had a head lamp - 
                                             a glorious morning to be walking. .

Memorial marker...
 Walking into first village of Granon --  This morning we are staying together...

               Church of John the Baptist

 Continued on our way - 9: 30 AM --  next village, off in the distance: Redecilla del Camino
            the road bypasses this small village

                  3 inclines to go up and down today...  Nancy is ahead of me some place -
I imagine that I'll find her at the next bar
     along with some flat land - farmland, need for water sprinklers - looks like alfalfa or hay fields
  Sunflower field that has not yet been harvested.

   Plants look like a type of cabbage

         Entering Castildelgado 

 Pilgrims continue to 
stack the rocks along the way

Entering  Viloria de la Rioja

    As I enter the village, off to my left is a Spanish man walking - I pause to watch him..
                     From afar, I sense his grace in his walking .

 I found Nancy at this Albergue - in the outdoor area having coffee con leche 

Inside the Alberque - food and bed were by donation only. A very lovely couple who were owners. 

As we sat here, my Spanish man comes walking by -- he stops and looks at us - I get up and ask him if I can take his picture - I wish I knew Spanish so I could have asked him about his life -- he gives me the European greeting - kiss on each cheek --- I want to stay in this quite village ............. for days, but we must move on it's only 1130 AM.
Church located in the village
 Another picture of one of my favorite villages
 More farmland and now have arrived in Villamayor
 One of the Albergues in the village

 Sign indicating 
that I have left the town...

Long lonesome road - time for Hail Marys and Our Fathers
 final destination: Belarado -- 

 The day was sunny and warm
 - 75 degrees, and I was more then ready to be finished with my journey today.

More trees as I entered Belorado


 I found Nancy in the center of town - a nice comfortable Plaza around 2 PM
 Enjoyed a glass of Sangria  and chatted with other Pilgrims.

  We stayed at Casa Waslala -- (had reservations)
This Casa is for sale, if any one is interested....
2 bed room, with small sitting area.  Bath / shower down the hall that we 
shared with another couple : 21 Euros per person -- had our own bath robes and towels.

 I attended Mass at Santa Maria Church


We made 7 PM dinner reservations at Cuatro Cantones Albergue -- Di and Paul were staying there, so we had the pleasure of visiting with them again. Nancy and I were 'assigned' to a table and had the pleasure of eating with a lovely couple from Germany

Outside the Albergue where we ate...


After dinner, 9 PM, we are heading back to our Casa for the night, and discovered there was a festival in town - so we danced in the streets before finding our Casa 

Sept 20, 2015  -- Belorado to VillaFranca Montes De Oca 

             After much discussion between Nancy and I we decided to only walk 7.5 miles / 12 Km today....    The other option was to continue on to St. Juan de Ortega, which was another 7.8 miles / 12.5 Km  with no villages the last 7.8 miles plus 3 mountains to climb up and down.  We also talked about options, which meant that Nancy would continue on and I would catch up with her in a day or two.  I was not willing to go that last 7.8 miles with 3 mountains at the end of the day. We had planned approx. 49 days to walk our 500 miles; and I was not to be in a hurry.  Nancy decided to stay with me and stop in VillaFranca Montes De Oca.

We woke up to fog and a temp of 55 degrees - the coldest that we have experienced, so far.
   We started on our way at 9 AM. By 11 AM, it was toasty warm -- near 80 degrees.

                  Our Morning Selfie---

Foggy,  ..

Long , lonely looking road
yet very peaceful................

As the sun burned off the fog,
we were blessed with greenery and rocks

Entering the village of Villambistia where we stopped for lunch.

Then more open fields and farmers.

                   Approaching Epinosa del Camino - small village off in the distance

  Approaching VillaFranca Montes De Oca at 1:30 PM


Stayed at San
Anton Abad Hotel

where we had
a fabulous dinner
of Lentil soup, 
orange chicken, french fries, bread and wine.


 We took the afternoon to wash cloths and relax - meet more pilgrims and enjoyed the afternoon.

Sept 21, 2015 --   VillaFranca Montes De Oca to Orbaneja 
         17 miles / 27.3 Km

We woke up at 6:15 AM, had Coffee con Leche and carbs... On the trail by 7:30, after it was light enough - Temp is in the low 50's. We are now seeing more pilgrims on the trail and our plan is to take the river road into Burgos to avoid some of the city walking. So we studied our guide book and saw that we needed to take the optional trail to the left after the cross on the top of a hill after Atapuerca.

 Yup -- the Mountains were steep

I took my time --  Nancy is soon way 
ahead of me...

Area with multiple rock and monuments.

Entering San Juan de Ortega (population 20)

St. Jerome Church

Inside the Church

 Nancy was at the Bar in St. Juan and she
was enjoying her time with 2 bikers and a brother & sister who were walking. 
     We experienced several Pilgrims on bicycles and we determined that biking was much more difficult then walking. One had to be alert for a bicyclist coming up behind, as they were often quiet and there were a few bike / walker accidents along the way.


Lovely trees and
 gradual downhill  to Atapuerca
 Some of the Pilgrims who had never been around cows (including Nancy) were concerned that the cows would start chasing them -- me being a farm gal, loved being so close to the cows and calves -- and there were no bulls to be seen -- those are the ones one needs to watch....
 Entering Atapuerca - There are prehistoric caves here and the earliest human remains were discovered here dating back 900,000 years.

 This village was small and quiet - I met 4 other pilgrims in the Bar where I stopped for something to eat.  I still had a fair distance to travel and it was 12:45 PM. Temps were in mid 70's with a cloudless sky. I was blessed with occasional breezes. 


Once through the village, the path turned to gravel with a steady uphill elevation 

At the tree line, I turned around to see how far I had come.

 This next stretch was a steady uphill climb, and the path became more rocky as a walked ..... 2 pilgrims passed me - I slowed my pace, mostly to conserve my energy plus there was a potential for slipping and the rocks became larger and more densely distributed.

  There were fences to my left - this is looking back towards Atapuerca, 
which you can see in the distance

 1:30 PM -- I reached the top of the incline to find a cross -- this gave me hope as I continued on -- I determined that I had at least another 2 hours of walking..

I stayed to my left and followed the fence line and found the route that we had decided to take, watching closely  for signs so I would not loose my way. 

The way lead to a long gravel road, the sun was hot and I stopped to massage my feet, apply Vaseline and change my socks  - a very necessary tasks to prevent blister. By now I had one small blister, but it was not giving me any pain and mole skin was beneficial for it's healing .  I also have been using adhesive tape on the balls of my feet and my big toes, as this is where I was feeling my hot spots. I was amazed on how well the adhesive tape helped. I munched on a protein bar and apple along the way and I had an ample amount of water with me. 

This was one of the most beautiful valleys - the beauty and peacefulness sustained me and my energy level was surprising high. 
 I loved the creativity of this posting for the Albergue
 - this is not the place where we had reservations.
 I passed through the village of Cardenuela - it was siesta time, and I did see one Spaniard in his yard. I could see 2 pilgrims far ahead of me during the last hour, so I know I was not alone. There were 2 cars that traveled past me.  I was in a very peaceful place.

I walked into Orbaneja, at 3:30 PM - a very small village with 1 Albergue with a bar - there were several local residents there; otherwise the bar was empty. I sent a message to Nancy via WhatsApp and attempted to find the Casa Rural (bed & breakfast) where we had reservations. I was unable to find the Casa; so I went back to the Bar and ordered a beer and cheese sandwitch. 

No WhatsApp message from  Nancy - so I was thinking she was probably in the shower and enjoying life....... well.....

after about 30 min, guess who comes walking into the Bar with an expression of exhaustion and happiness at seeing me.   Nancy did not stay to the left at the fence line, so she took the road that was leading into Burgos -- Her angels took care of her as she started walking with 3 other pilgrims - one of them was from Spain and he used his GPS on his phone to help Nancy find a side country road that lead her to Orbaneja.  We were both elated to see each other... !!!!!!!

 After 2 beers, - we called the owner (Patti) and she said she could be there in 30 min.  So we decided to wait for her. Our other option was to stay in the Alberque and we would have shared a room with several other Pilgrims -- Because we needed a place of respite we waited for the owner and we were very happy that we did. We had the Casa to ourselves -- Patti provided lentil soup, egg tortilla, bread, yogurt and wine for us. The cost was 50 Euros each -- we had good WiFi and a relaxing evening.

                            We had more food then we could eat -- it was Yummy  !!

Sept 22, 2015    Orbaneja to Burgos 8 miles / 12.8 Km

Our plan was to take the river road into Burgos and avoid some of the city -- but we missed the sign and ended up walking through more of Burgos then we had planned. Yet the business of the city did not take away any of our calm country Camino that we were carrying with us.  We had read  blogs and in our guide book on how the city can burden you down -- so perhaps with that in mind, I did not let the noise of the city affect me and welcomed in the differences. 

7 AM Sunrise, as we walk out of Orbaneja. 

            Selfie as we entered Burgos
          In the cities we did see a few American companies --
                                         there menu was very similar to in the USA

Bathroom doors
:)              :)

 We stayed near the Cathedral at El Jacobeo Hotel. The rooms were very small; but comfortable. 

 There are several churches in Burgos. One that we stopped in was Iglesia de San Lesmes (Church of Saint Lesmes).   St. Lesmes was born in Loudun, France, located between Poitiers and Angers. Although he had the privilege of being born in a good family and had an excellent education he didn't become well known as a scientist or man of letters but as as man who made extraordinary things out of the ordinary and dedicated his life to those in need. His virtues and character became known to Queen Constanza, the wife of Alfonso VI of Spain, who begged him to come to the court, believing that his example could change some of the bad behaviors there. This is how St. Lesmes arrived in Burgos ca. 1081-1083 and never abandoned this town. After working for some time as the spiritual adviser to the queen he was given the Chapel and Monastery of St. Juan to establish a Benedictine community. After a year the monastery became a priorate under the Burgundian Abbey Casa Dei which was in charge of the education of the monks and very importantly to place them alongside the “Camino de Santiago”. Although the king appointed St. Lesmes as the Abbot of the monastery he rejected the position in order to follow his mission, to live a complete ascetic life dedicated to help the poor and the pilgrims. St. Lesmes died in 1097. (from:


St. Lesmes is buried here.

 Catedral de Santa Maria (Cathedral of Mary)

Plaza near the Cathedral -- we found a couple bars that served really good Tapas (appetizers)

We planned on staying in Burgos, to have a shorter day of walking; plus to have time to visit the Cathedral. Nancy's one blister was more painful so we (after much discussion -- or I should say, after I insisted she go to the hospital for evaluation) we walked 8 blocks to the hospital that the the tourist office suggested; but they only took people with Spanish insurance. So they called us a taxi and sent us to a hospital across town (15 min. ride - 6 Euros). The doctor was experienced in treating blisters. The nurse lanced it and applied antiseptic and a dressing.  Cost was 66 Euros. Amazingly inexpensive. The doctor recommended not walking for several days -- Have you ever known a nurse (which Nancy & I are) to follow doctor's orders ??  I think they know that was not going to happen !! At least it was not infected, so that was a relief. We found a pharmacy and purchased betadine which was suggested applying twice a day.  We had to write betadine on a piece of paper, as the pharmacist did not know what we were asking for. She knew what we wanted seeing it on paper. 
 We went back to the center of town where we were staying and took a bus tour around town.

Pictures of Burgos from the bus ---

Sept. 23, 2015 -Burgos to Hornillos del Camino 13 miles / 21 Km

 We took off as the sun was rising - at 7:30 AM. Not much in the way of food at the hotel, so we settled for coffee con leche with sugar of course to get us moving on our way.
 Early morning Selfie --
 Leaving Burgos-----

 Open fields as we make our way to first village of Tarjados  6.2 miles / 10 km. We are now beginning to cross the Meseta which can be very hot and rainy.  So far we have been blessed with no rain and temperatures in 60's and 70's.

 10 AM: Coffee con leche and cheese sandwich in Tarjados

                White rocks embedded in the side of the hill.

                 Nancy -- re-dressing her toe -- today, we are walking the day side by side

 After another 1.5 miles / 2.3 km we are approaching Rabe de las Calzados

                    Then the road continues ..  wheat fields that have been harvested
                                               and one can see for miles.

 We came to a section with miles and miles of white rocks - it must have
taken years for the farmers to pile the rocks on the edge of their fields, so they could plant.

 Each time we came over a ridge, we were hoping to see Hornillos -- the road
seemed to go on and on -- We were blessed and delighted with this one tree on the hill.
It's the little things in life that make me smile.  Like Nancy's question during the end of the day "Got any jokes"  Well , I never did - then one day I made one up
 -- it was really stupid, but we laughed until we cried.
              The white rocks almost look like snow
Hallelujah  -- we see the village of Hornillos -- It was like seeing paradise  !!!

We still had a long hill to walk down, and the
village was another 35 min. walk away; but we were jazzed...................

 There was 1 Albergue and 1 Casa Rural in town -- we decided to stay at the  de Sol a Sol Casa

 The owner, Samuel, was very gracious - we had our cloths washed in a
washing machine and dried for 3 euros. We discovered that
Samuel's sister was married to
Emilio Estevez's son. Estevez is the producer of the
movie THE WAY.

We had our pilgrim meal at 7 PM at one of the bars with Nicolet from Vancouver Canada and Mike from Santa Cruz Calif.  - We would be meeting them again on the days ahead.
------very good meal ----salad with tuna and beef stew (which means meat balls and potatoes... 

Resting our weary feet

 We first met Patti and Dave at the Casa - we would be spending some very nice time with them on our days to come.

Samuel with Nancy and Bette

 Sept 24, 2015 --  Hornillos to Castrojeriz 12.6 miles / 20.2 Km

Today we continue to cross the Meseta -- it will be up to 80 today and this morning we are very comfortable with light layers of clothes.
                                  Samuel fixes us coffee and Carbs.. and Nancy added the peach.

 Morning Selfie --  Left our Casa at 7 AM Temp - 50 degrees

At the top of our first hill - we see the cross -- for me a reminder to be thankful for all my blessings on this Camino and for the people I have met and for a great walking companion in Nancy. She has some discomfort with her toe; but it is healing.

        More piles of rocks - wind turbines on the top of the hill
         Long decline of a hill...
       After 3.6 miles / 5.8 Km we took a short detour to San- Bol Albergue. There is a well here, and the waters are said to have healing properties and to cure aching feet.  Needless to say, I did not put my feet into this very cold water; but said a prayer for healing of my arthritic knees. (As of yet, I have had minimal discomfort with my knees; and I was praying for that in my future). The owner of the Albergue was cooking bacon and eggs -- too bad we were not hungry, or we would have stayed... There were several pilgrims waiting for this delicious breakfast.  This is the first Albergue or bar that we found serving traditional American breakfast... Yummm the bacon smelled delicious.  
   One small grove of trees along the way
          Followed by more open fields..
Time to change socks
   Coming down the hill into Hontanas --

 Changing socks and putting on Hiking Goo at the bar

then, more wide open roads


Up a short steep hill 


More long open roads
 Young man we met on the way -- he was from Arizona 
-- this terrain and warm temperature he felt like he was at home.
       After the long open roads, the trees were a welcome site
 San Anton Albergue - This was the ancient monastery and hospice of the
Antonine Order founded in France in the 11th century and
connected to the work of the hermit Saint Anthony of Egypt. 
I talked to some pilgrims who stayed here. There are 12 beds, no heat, no lights;
but much grace filled this place.

 Entering Castrojeriz
 -- By now we were hot and tired... 
The village seems so close; 
yet so far away.  Mother Earth gave us a nice breeze as we entered the village.

 The castle on top of the hill, was built in the 9th century The origins of the castle are pre-Roman times, but it is said in legend that it was built by Julius Caesar or Pompey.  The Muslims and Christians fought over the hill for centuries, but eventually the Christians won the hill.  The castle was rebuilt in the middle ages by the Condes de Castro and was later the home of the D√≠az de Mendoza family.
Iglesia de la Colegiata


The place for the choir -- 

We stayed at the first Albergue we came to -- ready to rest our weary feet.  The owner was standing at the side of the road, doing some good marketing to get pilgrims to stay at his Albergue. We agreed to look at his Albergue and found it to be very comfortable -- 2 bed room - sharing the bathroom with 3 other rooms.  The Albergue was next to a RV park.

  The owner who brought us to this lovely Albergue. Cooking leg of lamb.

Patti and Dave ended up at the same Alberque as us; and we spent time getting to know them. They established an after school day care for the children in a Mexican town after their only daughter, son-in-law and 2 children were instantly killed in a head on car crash 10 years ago. They ordered the Leg of Lamb

 Nancy and I had Salad with tuna plus chicken with red  and french fries -- and of course -- wine..

Sept 25, 2015 Castrojeriz to Fromista 15.7 miles / 25.2 Km

We started at 6:45 AM - 50 degrees. We used Nancy's headlamp to light our way .
We wanted to be at the Alto Mostelares by sunrise.

The path started out with a open road, down hill slope, 
then continued uphill with a 15 % grade
  Half way up the "hill" we started seeing gorgeous sunrises.Looking back towards Castrojeriz  you can just barely see the castle on top of the hill
 At the top of the "hill" we were blessed with brighter skies

At the top of the Alto,
we had a flat gravel road
before coming to the

18% downgrade

       One could see for miles and miles --  This is where Nancy trekked ahead of me, as
I was very slow going down this 18 % grade

 The first 12.4 miles / 20 Km there is no village - only the Mesa

Until we reached the rio Pisuega 


 Coffee con leche, bread and egg tortilla at bar near
the river, where I caught up with Nancy.

 Now we start seeing 
sunflower fields,
hay fields, cornfields,
many fields
that were already harvested

   Temp in the 80's by noon ---

 We are starting to see the fall
colors after leaving the village of Boadilla del Camino

and the road soon starts 
parallel a Canal de Castilla
             Resting by the side of the road - nice breeze with shade trees.  Today is the first day I
                              listened to my music -- I needed a little extra boost of energy.

 The  breeze helped my walking, along with the music - there are very
few pilgrims on the path with me and Nancy is ahead of me -- a very peaceful path

          As I get closer to Fromista, the fields are greener, with some irrigated fields.
                Memorial Marker along the way

  I arrived on the outskirts of Fromista at 3 PM.
This is the Albergue we planned on staying in; it was on the edge of town,
as I crossed the canal I saw Nancy up ahead, walking towards me and we decided to
find a place more in the center of Fromista

   We stopped at the tourist office to find a place to stay and get a bit to eat. 
 Hostel of our choosing -- it was siesta time; 
so we rang the doorbell and a lady was soon there to help us

 Great afternoon for drying cloths
   -- which were washed out by hand

 Iglesis de San Martin
         We found a lovely court yard to sit and relax before having our Pilgrim meal at 7 PM.
            We always had smiles and gratefulness at the end of the day

 Sept 26, 2015     --  Fromista to Carrion de Los Condes
                                                 12.7 miles / 20.5 Km

Always good to start our day with Coffee and Carbs.

  The way was flat and an easy walk - we found other groups of Pilgrims
to walk with and share our stories.

       Just outside of Villovieco we came upon a shepherd and his sheep

  Selfie --

We found this Pilgrim in the
village of  Villovieco

The next village was Villarmentero
the country side was much like
the state of Nebraska -- flat
and flatter --- 
When we came upon this bar
I thought perhaps we had made a wrong turn and truly were in Nebraska !! This was a tent camping area.

Chickens, geese and ducks all over the place...   We had Coffee con leche and a bite to eat, 

   then, we continued on our way -- a few trees, otherwise, long path ahead of us.....

     We passed the village of Villalcazar de Sirga
                   then, more open fields.

        The afternoon was warm (75 degrees); but we had a nice breeze,
                                                                     so the day was very pleasant.

        Approaching Carrion around 2 PM.  It has been a hot day; but we are feeling good.

                            We found a room at Hostel  Santiago

                                                                 We loved the low ceiling...

   Some of the sites of Carrion....

There were many Pilgrims to talk to at the Bar
                     Tom and Patty from Ireland

      More Pilgrims - Ethna, Tom, Patty, (all from Ireland), Clare from Seattle, Paul, Mike
While we were sitting at the Bar, a Spaniard came by and asked us if we wanted to
                          buy a farm -- Fortunately, Clare knew enough Spanish so we knew what
                                      he was saying.  He was gracious to agree to take a picture with me.

        My afternoon and evening was very special -- there were several things that happened
              to make this a spiritual ending to a fabulous day.

Nancy and I attended the gathering with the Singing Nuns.

        Mass at one of the two churches in town with a special Pilgrim blessing. "You are the light,
Let your light shine. Thank you for walking the Camino. May you be blessed on your way. Mother Mary is watching over you"
       After Mass, we enjoyed entertainment from an Irish Pilgrim
   The final blessing was a gorgeous sunset

Next blog;  Carrion to village of  Laguna de Castilla

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