Saturday 2 September 2023 – As we retired after yesterday’s lovely sunny day, the prospect of rain seemed distant. At 0430, with the rain stuttering down on the velux in our room, less so. It was clear we were in for a Wet One. The forecast included high winds and storms, but not starting until later in the day, so we hoped that by leaving reasonably promptly we would reach Castrojeriz and that le déluge would be après nous.
If you’d like just to see the summary and some photos, you can watch the Relive video. Otherwise, read on….
Accordingly, at 0740 we donned rain jackets for us and rain covers for our backpacks and set out.
It was raining, but not heavily or unpleasantly; and it was quite cool. We had a long, steady but not too steep climb for about 3km until we reached a plain, across which the wind fair whistled.
It became clear that wind was, indeed, the third crop of the area alongside wheat and sunflowers. The wind accompanied us for the whole of the first half of the walk, together with brief and fairly light rain showers, as we crossed this plain, being overtaken by someone who was slightly better equipped than us for the conditions
being, apart from anything else, under sail. His heading along the path was approximately a broad reach, which anyone familiar with sailing will know is the fastest bearing.
The scenery over the plain was pretty much unvarying and devoid of many photography-worthy instants, so I was reduced to trying to find interesting studies of the ubiquitous wind farms
and generally making the most of thin gruel, photographically speaking.
We passed an isolated albergue, San Bol, which is in the middle of nowhere and apparently a really sought-after stop on the Camino, presumably for people who like to Get Away From It All,
and it turned out that it was just as well that we hadn’t planned to stop at the first coffee bar indicated on the map.
However, the second possible coffee stop, at Hontanas (the only village on the route) turned out to be a goer. The village is in a valley,
which gave us a rest both from the relentless wind and the sameness of the landscape.
The rest of the walk was in more sheltered conditions and led past some noteworthy landmarks. First up was a ruined tower
and this was followed shortly after by a ruined convent, the convent of San Anton, which is altogether a more dramatic affair.
It was owned by a community of monks of the little-known Hospital Brothers of Saint Anthony, or Antonines, a Roman Catholic congregation founded in the late 11th century, with the purpose of caring for those suffering from the common medieval disease of ergotism, or Saint Anthony’s fire.
I particularly like what they’ve done to disguise the water tank and the vending machine.
Very shortly after leaving the convent ruins we caught our first sight of Castrojeriz, with its hilltop castle and the Museum of the former Collegiate Church of Santa María del Manzano seen on the right-hand side of the picture.
The collegiate museum is a substantial building
with an important collection of cultural and religious artefacts and an imposing interior.
There is some early printed music, which I find particularly interesting to see.
And then we were in Castrojeriz, a sizeable and, for the most part, handsome town.
The cross on the left, above, is a Tau Cross, which was a variant of the traditional version adopted by the Antonines.
Our accommodation is the delightful Emebed Posada, located on the Plaza Mayor. We were welcomed by the charming Margarita, who let us check in despite the fact that we were early, showed us around and provided the makings of a Nice Cup Of Tea, which was extremely welcome. The hotel is a refurbished 19th-century lord’s house, and has some original furnishings and a lovely lounge with a spectacular view, where I currently sit writing this.
Margarita also recommended a local restaurant for lunch, based in a hotel, El Mesón de Castrojeriz. We got there and it was clearly very full.
We actually arrived at the same time as moaning Minnie and a compatriot, and somehow or other managed to simultaneously (a) avoid having to talk to them and (b) score a table to ourselves in an overflow area, where we were served a Nice Lunch with excellent and brisk service. We’ve been very well looked after everywhere here; it’s-a nice-a place. The promised storms didn’t materialise and it turned into a lovely golden evening.
Here’s the stats update. Today was 21.6km, bringing the total to 323.4km – 201 miles. Crikey!
Tomorrow we have a slightly shorter walk of about 19km, to Boadilla del Camino. It looks rather as if it will be somewhat tougher going than today; once again the weather is forecast to be pretty rough tomorrow afternoon, so we hope to get there before we get a soaking. Poles out, rain jackets at the ready! Check back to see how we got on, won’t you?