Day 13 – What Goes Up, The Camino Way


Castrojeriz to Fromista

25 kilometers – Long, long kilometers – 15 hot miles.

More Meseta. More sun. More agony.

Today was a long day—like backpacking on the moon after climbing up to touch it.

 

The Walk Up

We left Hotel Emebed Posada in Castrojeriz at 8 am. The sky was clear. The air already warm.

It was a sign of what to expect this day.

The route to the  high plateau out of Castrojeriz. Note the trail moving from lower right to upper left

The route to the high plateau out of Castrojeriz. Note the trail moving from lower right to upper left

Within three kilometers of leaving Castrojeriz, we undaunted Pilgrims face the dramatic climb to a high plateau, which overlooks the village. It is a dramatic climb. The entire route is in sight as the climb begins, and ends nearly 450 feet higher after only approximately 800 yards.

We are in much better physical shape than we were ten days ago, but this is a tough climb. It’s a real workout for every Pilgrim.

Not nearly as long a climb as that to the Alto del Pardon, but this climb got in Jim’s head. He didn’t admit it to Jackie, though, until this climb was finished.

Jim – I was alright for the first two-thirds of the way. We were in better shape and Jackie was doing great. But suddenly, I had a terrible anxiety attack and instantly wondered what would happen if I just decided I couldn’t make it. I didn’t know whether they would send a helicopter, or if I would have to climb on my hands and knees, or just curl up in the fetal position.

I said a prayer and asked for some strength. I stopped looking up or down and just looked at my footsteps. Eventually, slowly, we made it to the top. I didn’t tell Jackie until it was done. I was petrified.

 

At The Top

At the top of the plateau, a young man was selling drinks of water and soda, and some fruit. Jim admitted that he had been very anxious and was so glad to be at the top.

When his breathing and hear rate settled to near human norms, Jim left the stone for his son, Jeff near the top of the climb on a small mountain of stones at a memorial left by pilgrims. That position overlooks Castrojeriz.

Jeff's stone added to the monument above Castrojeriz

Jeff’s stone added to the monument above Castrojeriz

 

Jackie grinning before the sun grinds her down.

Jackie grinning before the sun grinds her down.

 

Refreshment stand after the climb to glory

Refreshment stand after the climb to glory

And Back Down

In Camino de Santiago style, what goes up, must go down, and sure enough, after another kilometer, this road dropped quickly to the lower plateau level.

We didn’t witness bikers making the descent, but wondered how they could have done it. It dropped way to fast to walk comfortably. It is a nasty descent.

Down!! What was that first Pilgrim thinking? Oops, I shouldn't have climbed that plateau?

Down!! What was that first Pilgrim thinking? Oops, I shouldn’t have climbed that plateau?

 

The Balance of the Walk

It really was another “keep your camera stored” kind of walk.

Field after field. Very little shade, and small, unimpressive villages.

Pilgrim's Hospital

Old Pilgrim’s Hospital

We did pass an ancient Pilgrim’s hospital, and eventually the 11-arched Puente de Itero bridge.

Puente de Itero Bridge

Puente de Itero Bridge

The far side of that bridge marked the start of the Kingdom of Leon.

Trucks like these are important to residents on the Meseta. Here, the female customer buys cleaning detergent. The gentleman shops for trousers.

Trucks like these are important to residents on the Meseta. Here, the female customer buys cleaning detergent. The gentleman shops for trousers.

 

Painted vacant house on Camino

Painted vacant house on Camino

Fromista

Pilgrims, hand in hand, Fromista

Pilgrims, hand in hand, Fromista. One boasts the menu and one less impressed with the menu

 

We finished our walk in the town of Fromista, which has barely more than 1,000 residents, but two national monuments, the first is the 11th century Iglesia de San Martin de tours church, built originally as part of a Benedictine monastery.

Inside

Inside Santa Maria

The other national monument is that of the Iglesia Santa Maria del Castillo.

Santa Maria - Fromista

Santa Maria – Fromista

San Martin as been de-consecrated, and Santa Maria appears to need repairs.

There is a third Catholic church in town that is used by the parish for normal functions.

It is a farming town, with tractors passing on the main streets. There are a number of restaurants and bars—with a strong emphasis on the Pilgrim trade.

We did a little supermercado shopping tonight for dinner and stayed in.

The pilgrim meals and “meals dia day” have both of our stomachs in knots.

We have a beautiful room atop the Hotel Dona Mayor, and are hoping to beat the sun tomorrow.

Door Knocker--Fromista

Door Knocker–Fromista

Until then, Buen Camino!!

 

 

Categories: Uncategorized

2 comments

  1. Brings back memories of the steep ups and downs one finds in the meseta… loved those little one- or two-man refreshment stands. Loved the little towns. Enjoy and Buen Camino!

  2. Jim & Jackie,
    It’s Sonrisa & Mark here! Since we met you in Azofra, we spent some time in Madrid and are now back in Barcelona. You are in our thoughts as we wish you Buen Camino! Unfortunately, we leave Spain in the morning. We will keep following you from home in Arizona. While vacationing in Spain, we were not looking for the Camino…perhaps the Camino was looking for us. It was a pleasure meeting you both.
    Mark & Sonrisa

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