(The old ruins on the hill above the village are in fact a castle!)
The old man on the bunk above me coughs and moves all night but somehow I manage some sleep. As I wake I can see the sun is just about to rise, the morning skies looks clear. Amazingly no one has got up stupidly early today. I pack my things and get ready to make a start. Despite clear skies the morning is still fresh and so my jacket gets it’s use once more.
Our path heads out of the village of Castrojeriz and directly towards the only hill in the vicinity. Despite the cool morning air, the climb brings a sweat to my brow. Soon enough we reach the summit and find it is another plateau of the Meseta. Shortly afterwards our path drops away suddenly and a huge bowl-like valley appears before us. Our path is visible far into the distance.
I can see that within a few weeks the Meseta will be the dusty dry landscape I’d heard about and imagined, farmers are beginning to cut crops and meadow land, harriers scan the newly cut fields for prey.
We cross a river and pass from the province of Burgos to Palencia. Soon after we pass through a small village before crossing once more a great expanse of land with three small peaks ahead to guide us. The next village comes into view as we reach the small summit, once at the bottom we reach a small canal and follow it to the next village. Birds and butterflies are in abundance along the canal and despite the odd cyclist racing past us, the walk is tranquil and enjoyable.
The next 6km are a mix of canal and road. But we arrive in Frómista without any problems, it’s midday, just gone. I had planned to walk to the next village but this town appeared fairly nice. I’d seen a restaurant serving paella and the church looked nice to. It was the paella that won it?!!
We checked into the albergue and settled into our routine. After some exploration I decided to sit outside a bar in the square and write my blog. (See this is where it all went wrong…)
I order a beer and make the mistake of accepting a grande size. It’s warm, the beers cold, it’s refreshing after walking 25km. It goes down easily… As I begin to write my blog, (yes I did start to), two Dutch guys sit at the next table and begin a conversation with me. Ennio is Italian but moved to Holland forty two years ago, he’s in his sixties and his wife passed away some years ago. He’s hilarious, telling me stories of his youth and giving me his slant on politics. He buys the next round. Gus stops to join us but isn’t drawn in by the beer, (sensible), I buy the next round. Next Jonathan, Neville & Carlos show up and join us, Gus goes off to explore more. Conversation flows and so do a couple more beers, (oh dear). The guys head off to freshen up and Gus comes back to tell me the restaurant serving paella is open again. It’s just gone six (I think), I have a noodle type of paella, iced coffee and another beer. To be honest they could have given me stale bread I’d have eaten it. It was tasty but I was drunk… I went to bed shortly after and at one point jumped off my top bunk in my sleeping bag, (to get my phone) and then proceeded to hop back to my bed and up the ladders!?!
(At least I didn’t try to get naked and pole dance….)