What have the Romans ever done for us?

Day 16 Carrion de los Condes to Terradillos de los Templarious

257 miles to Santiago

The big news today is that there – hidden in a footnote in my guidebook -is the not unimportant revelation that I am officially half way.

Well the Romans built the causeway on which we walked for 15 sun sapping km Probably the hardest day of them all today. More of which later.

So last might I decided to pay double the odds to get a single room in the convent of Santa Clara. Which meant forking out 20 Euros for a bargain.

The doorkeeper was clearly there on some sort of local job creation scheme.

He looked me up and down inspecting my legs rather too closely several times , asking me if I’d had bed bugs.

“They are big problem”

“yes I l know but these are mosquito bites,”.

Cue impression of Mosquitos which involved me making biting motion with my hand above my nose

He looked doubtful but agreed to sell me a single room

He showed me 3 keys and gave me a quick tour of the convent

“This door number 1 has number 1 on the key…you turn key this way”

Resisting the temptation to tell him I knew how keys work I followed him up a dark flight of steps along a corridor to the next door

“This is the second key and has number 2 on key. You turn it this way..”

Up more steps. Another corridor festooned with religious works of art and another door .

“This door to your room. Third key. It has number 3 on it you put it on and…”

“Don’t tell me let me guess…you turn it that way right?”

“Si”

I put al l my luggage on floor. He left. Then a knock at door and he pokes his head back in

“You sure you no have bed bugs?’

So today you knew you were on the right road. The real , centuries old Camino

Because it was on the route of the original Calzada (causeway) built above bogland and running for 15 km with the Cantabrian mountains way away to the North

Talk about straight It went on and on as the sun got hotter. By 11am
It was uncomfortable and there were still 2 hours to go. Every fountain we passed was dry

Armies of centurions walked this road well before the pilgrims arrived, poor sods. Come to think of it wasnt Russell Crowe a Spanish Legionnaire in Gladiator?

“at my signal, unleash hell ” he said as he ordered his men on another bloody Camino route match

My walking buddies sensibly started earlier and were well settled at a hostel in this tiny village named after the Knights Templars by the time I arrived, I staggered in , gabbling incoherently about the insane heat and ridiculous task we had set ourselves

I heard Danish Aaron say to Sciottish Alan :” so did you sleep on the kitchen table all night?”

Apparently he stayed at some religious hostel where they had to talk about their reasons for doing the Camino, and then sing a song from home for all the others

He sang Flower of Scotland and Amazing Grace, asked the Nuns why they were there , then climbed on to the table and fell asleep. One of the Nuns put a blanket over him

I should say before this we’d been drinking huge but very cheap brandies together in one of the local pubs…

Early night tonight. Because this place is very very quiet.

Just as well really

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Moor trouble

Week 3. Im still standing
Fromista to Carrion de Los Condes

Miles to Santiago: 257

Well Fronista apparently has the best example of a Romanesque church in Europe

That may be so but I never got to have a look inside. It was closed when I got there and closed when I left in the morning. They are almost always closed

Last night we stayed at a municipal hostel. The guy who admitted us was a right miserable git

I booked a breakfast for the princely sum of 2 Euros. It wasn’t worth 10 cents. I had a cup of lukewarm coffee Upon asking for a second he sneered at me and shouted :

“una una” which even i know means “one”

There was a clearly exhausted couple trying to get a lie in(which in these parts means up to 8 am

This guy came up and started shaking their beds to get them to move

I don’t know a fat lot of Spanish or Italian but I’m pretty sure I heard the word ” Badtardo!” hissed after he awoke them too roughly and I concur.

Tonight I’m in the village of Carrion de Los Condes.

I’m in convent with a clearly unhinged doorkeeper (maybe more on that tomorrow)

But this village used to be at the centre if the conflict with the moors. Each year the village would have to supply 100 virgins to placate them

Can you imagine if Nottingham were under threat and had to supply 100 virgins to the enemy?

“So Simeon , you are back from a parley with the enemy..tell us how you have saved our lives with honour…”
“Great news Mayor , the Moors have agreed not to destroy Nottingham if…..

“yea brother Simeon..?

“If we provide 100 Nottingham damsels..”

“Oh righteous day thou has savest Nottingham and thy name will be celebrated amongst…..”

“virgins”

“eh?”

“They want them all to be virgins.

” Simeon. Thou art a prat..”