CAMINO DE SANTIAGO - PART 13 - CARRION DE LOS CONDES - TERRADILLOS DE LOS TEMPLARIOS - HERMANILLOS DE LA CALZADA
Early morning light on way out of Carrion De Los Condes.
The photo above pretty much sums up the days walk into Terradillos de los Templarios. I had expected the “flat middle bit” of the Camino, i.e. the Meseta, to be easy. It wasn’t. The days were long and tough and there were sometimes long stretches between coffee stops but I did love the big skies and wide open space of Meseta. Very good thinking time.
Terradillos de los Templarios was formerly a stronghold of the Knights Templar. It is also officially the half way point between St Jean Pied Du Port and Santiago. This turned out to be one of my favourite stops. It was memorable for a few reasons. The first was a history lesson, given in Spanish (Catalan dialect which is apparently quite difficult to understand) by Antonio, interpreted in German and then translated into English for me (by Philipp). We simply called that conversation “lost in translation”. Secondly, I finally met the three South Africans I had been hearing all about. Thirdly, I “threaded” Craig’s monstrous blister for him - I decided that this was a real mile stone in my becoming a “proper” pilgrim as doing something like this would usually far exceed my “squeamish capacity”. It certainly cemented our friendship. And finally, as with so many Camino days, the main highlight was the camaraderie of sharing a meal together at the end of the day. There was a dining room at the albergue so everyone staying there ate together.
The walk from Terradillos de los Templarios to Calzadilla de los Hermanillos was character building and, once again, the right company at the right time turned a potential nightmare stretch into one of the best of the Camino for me.
The day started badly. I was just tired and uncomfortable and it was cold. I listened to my iPod, which I didn’t do a lot but on this morning it helped somewhat. I took the detour to the Virgen del Puenta church. It was very lovely but not a good day to add on extra miles! The walk from there into Sahagun was on a gravel road covered with tiny little stones that really hurt my feat. To say my spirit was low when I reached Sahagun is an understatement. As I walked into town, I saw Philipp and Kristoff waving at me from the coffee shop. I will not even try to explain the relief of seeing those two smiling faces.
We walked the rest of the day together. We passed through Calzada de Coto which really felt like a ghost town. In fact from the outskirts of Sahagun we really saw noone until we reached Calzadilla de los Hermanillos, a distance of around 14km. It got hot and very very long and yet I am not sure that I have ever laughed as much as I did in those 14km. I cannot say what we were laughing about - something about a crazy Camino mascot (which we thought was a mouse but is actually meant to be a lion); a completely abandoned homestead; an empty swimming pool literally in the middle of nowhere; a very eerie playground (perfect setting for a horror movie) and the fact that the area we were walking through what looked like the bushveld in South Africa (see photo below). Had I been on my own, this stretch might have been impossible but the company made it one of the most memorable days of the journey.
I was privileged to spend a lot of time exploring wilderness areas in southern Africa from a very young age. I got my first camera when I was 6 years old and I have been passionate about wildlife and landscape photography ever since.