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LIVE from the Camino A short walk continued...

Discussion in 'Camino de Madrid' started by timr, Nov 25, 2017.

  1. timr

    timr Active Member Donating Member

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    Wednesday November 22 2017
    I'm resuming my short walk from Madrid. You can find it here
    https://www.caminodesantiago.me/community/threads/a-short-walk-from-madrid.47865/
    In May 2017 I walked from Madrid to Puente Duero and then to Valladolid from where I flew to UK for family business. (That's why it was a 'short walk' from Madrid!) Happily I'm grabbing the opportunity to finish now.

    Day 1 Dublin to Puente Duero. Distance lots but walking 0.

    As always an early start 0300. Ryanair to Madrid 0625 arriving 1000. Plane full as always. Ryanair is going strong!

    I had booked bus from T4 which takes the hassle out of getting into town. 1130 to Valladolid arrived 1430. I love ALSA buses. Complimentary cold water, snacks and headphones, reclining seat, entertainment screen with excellent wifi. Ryanair take note! Although I think without bag check fee Ryanair was cheaper!

    The bus to Puente Duero does not leave from the bus station. It is a local bus, shoppers and schoolchildren but easy to find with Google maps, away from centre of Valladolid, past El Corte Ingles. And for €1.50 is a bargain.

    I arrived at albergue (where I had stayed with 'the five Belgian ladies' in May) to find gate padlocked but a neighbour took me under her wing and phoned the number for me. She spoke to the famous Arturo, whom we had met in May, and he revealed how to get in - if I told you, I'd have to kill you :).

    It is essentially a large wooden shed, but very homely with instant hot water, and electric heating and some supplies in fridge, and fine coffee. And an astonishing library or perhaps archive of Camino literature. Donativo.

    The famous Arturo, while most hospitable, had lots of rules. Being here alone felt like sneaking into school at night and 'being naughty'!:)

    There are three or four bars, non serving food in the evening and a useful shop half way up the town on the right opposite church. Also a pharmacy.

    Much quieter than it was in May.

    Slept well.

    Pilgrims met 0.
     
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  2. Kanga

    Kanga Moderator Staff Member Donating Member

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    Yes, Arturo is a character. He was very upset with some pilgrims who got up and left in the morning without folding their blankets. You have been warned! Leave the room neat.
     
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  3. nycwalking

    nycwalking Veteran Member

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    Buen camino. Keep us posted please.
     
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  4. timr

    timr Active Member Donating Member

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    Thursday 23 November 2017 Day two

    Puente Duero to Peñaflor de Hornija. 28.6 km Total 28.6km

    'Anchoas y Jamones'

    Wonderful breakfast of coffee and tostada and mermelada all made by me! When Arturo is there you aren't even allowed to turn on the tap without supervision!:eek:

    Key hidden and off I went, along the Duero river to Siamancas with a fine church - open - and a bar for coffee. Two major items on the TV news, neither related to the UK budget yesterday with big implications for the catastrophe that is Brexit. (Other opinions are of course available.)

    No! Much more important than that. Two unrelated robberies in Spain. One was of 500kg of anchoas (anchovies) and the other of a large quantity of jamones (Serrano ham on the bone). The latter was recorded in eery monochrome CCTV. Much telepunditry.

    At my age, and with my predispositions, I'm unlikely to take up a life of crime. But if I did, I can think of few things I would rather steal than jamon and anchoas! Food for thought!:oops:

    Siamancas a fine town with 32 million documents in the national archive among its attractions.

    Suddenly as you leave Siamancas you are back on the meseta, a vast plateau devoid of trees which in season produces wheat and sunflowers. Ploughing time right now with some winter wheat just appearing, but essentially the landscape is featureless. You either love it or hate it. I love it. It is bit like walking on Mars if the film 'The Martian' is to be believed.

    Ciguñuela next - a church might have been visited or a bar, but an elderly widower waylaid me for a bit of Spanish conversation practice - me not him. He wanted to show me a modern sculpture of a pilgrim reading a map which I would surely have missed. He took my photo and I took his.

    From there across the flatlands 7km to Wamba.

    There are two common deceptions on the meseta - a town whose church you can see in the distance at least an hour before you arrive and a town which nestles hidden in a hollow almost causing despair that you will ever find it. Wamba is in the latter category. Lovely caña and bocadillo in Bar El Rincón. And a coffee for good measure.

    Then 7 km to Peñaflor de Hornija which is in the other category - you can see it for ages, but wonder if you will ever reach it. Towards the end I missed an arrow and found myself a ploughed field away from the path. I don't like walking across a ploughed field especially as there was a man nearby raking a huge field and removing large stones. So I circled around the perimeter of several fields before escaping. My gpx trace looks like figure skating. During the night I dreamt of a woman whose job it was to put the stones back into fields!

    I found the albergue and found the hospitalera. Not much else to find. I visited the church in which three ladies 'of a certain age' were having choir practice. I found the bar and was delighted he was able to rustle up a bocadillo. Again. This Camino route is far from the cafe con leche and menu del peregrino ambiance of the Francés.

    There is a supermarket - but it was closed.

    There is a frutería - but it was closed.

    A good night's sleep.

    Total pilgrims met - 0
     
    Last edited: Nov 26, 2017
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  5. jsalt

    jsalt Jill Donating Member

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    Love your posts, thank you! Looking forward to following in your footsteps in March.
    Jill
     
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  6. marilyn van graan

    marilyn van graan Member

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    Enjoying your post - reliving my camino in May - we were at least 4/5 pilgrims - loved that Church at Wamba - keep posting and buen camino
     
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  7. timr

    timr Active Member Donating Member

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    Thanks Jill. The fact that the ladies of the choir were practising in November makes me think you will find something liturgical if you pass by Peñaflor de Hornija in Semana Santa. (I am a priest:).) I wasn't able yesterday or today to get into the Semana Santa museum in Medina de Rioseco but it looks imposing! It's my 11th time on Camino and it is high on my list of favourites.
     
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  8. 4d3fect

    4d3fect New Member

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    Utterly fascinating, thank you for such enlightening posts.
     
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  9. NualaOC

    NualaOC Veteran Member Donating Member

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    Hi Tim, just noticing this now. Great that you're continuing your Camino de Madrid. Your posts are great, as always. Buen Camino!
     
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  10. Magwood

    Magwood Veteran Member

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    Camino del Norte & Camino Ingles (April 2016)
    I think Arturo might be a 'ladies' man'. He was charm personified to we three peregrinas but really upset our male companion.
     
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  11. VNwalking

    VNwalking Veteran Member Donating Member

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    I'm really enjoying these posts, Tim, thanks!
     
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  12. laineylainey

    laineylainey Active Member Donating Member

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    Love the stories of your Camino. Brings it to life for me, thanks!
     
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  13. timr

    timr Active Member Donating Member

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    I remember reading his comments at the time I think - certainly one of your companions @Undermanager :)
     
  14. timr

    timr Active Member Donating Member

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    Friday 24 November Day 3

    Peñaflor de Hornija to Medina de Rioseco 36.4km Total 65km

    The 'Holy Family' a 'Sacred Thorn' a town 'with nothing' and a town with less.

    I woke refreshed and had coffee (instant) and a banana. Note that this reduced my total carried supply of comestibles to a small tin of liver paté. No other molecules apart from a couple more sachets of instant coffee. And some blood pressure tablets. Shops very hard to come by on this Camino. The liver paté not exactly gourmet and only for use in periculo mortis.

    I had got up early - note that useful daylight is not until about 8am here - because I planned a long day because I wanted to divert to the ancient monastery of La Santa Espina which would add about 10km.

    After 3km I came to the diversion which said, alarmingly 8km to Castromonte and 18km to La Santa Espina but I checked and found this was the cumulative total to Castromonte via LSE. So I committed. Pure meseta again. No human. One or two large agricultural machines. The odd tree. After an hour or so I began to hear the monastery clock chimes before I could see it. Finally I saw the huge stone wall enclosing the monastery and then the gate house.

    The monastery of La Santa Espina, to this day preserves a thorn from the Crown of Thorns (hence it's name) given by King Louis IX of France who bought it long ago and built the Sainte Chapelle in Paris in which to keep it. The monastery was begun in 1147. There are no longer any Cistercian monks there. They were scattered in Napoleonic times, somehow preserving the relic which made its way to Rome for safe keeping. But the Abbey building was restored by a minister in the Franco government. The buildings had meanwhile become an orphanage and more recently an agricultural college. The politician Raphael is buried there with his wife in huge sarcophagi in the Chapel of St Raphael.

    In the absence of Cistercians there are Brothers of de la Salle, a well known educational order. There are just four or five left, all very old.

    I went in and looked around sheepishly sering no one. The church closed. I bumped into an old stooped cheerful man, shuffling along. Brother Josémaria. A big welcome. Yes he could bring good me to the church. Wait. He took out a Nokia, surely 20 years old and with stiff fingers picked out a string of numbers one by one. He roared into it, 'Tim is here, sacerdote, apocopo de Timothy' (short for Timothy). We waited and along came an older and shorter brother, Jesús. I had them all - Jesus, Mary and Joseph. Jesús had learned English in Cork 'forty years ago' and had not forgotten it. He showed me around the majestic though simple Cistercian style church. He had a great grasp of the history and the art works. And he brought me to see the sacred spine, the thorn from the Crown of Thorns. It came back from Rome with a certificate stating it was the one that had come in mid nineteenth century. It's tiny. The size of a splinter. Is it real? I don't know. Does it matter??

    I bade an affectionate farewell to Josémaria and Jesús. They begged me to stay for lunch but I had distance to travel. They are a dying breed of very committed men. Jesús asked where I would go next. 'Castromonte' I said. 'A town with nothing' he said.

    The road to LSE is very well signposted. Broad farm tracks all the way.There is one place where you cross a minor tarred road and a mojone would have been expected. But it is obvious you should cross over and carry straight on and the is an arrow after a while again.

    The road to Castromonte from La Santa Espina is easy enough. Leave the monastery gate and turn right and follow the wall around. There are arrows. You will walk along maybe 2km next to a (dried up) river and then reach an embalse with plenty of interpretative signage. Cross over the head of the dam to walk up the right side of the reservoir. There are arrows. There follows a beautiful walk along the water's edge, on a distinct footpath with wonderful birdie. It must be fairly well used as not overgrown. Going on the path gets less and less convincing after the far end of the reservoir. And eventually it stopped abruptly at the edge of a ploughed field! There had been no arrows for while!

    I could hear the odd car on the road not far away to the right. I climbed up the not too steep ridge (the valley 'wall' up through trees - only about 100m) and then over a low stone wall and there I was, as previously, 'the width of a ploughed field away from the tarred road.' This is the meseta. Fields are BIG.

    I had no option but to walk across the field on this occasion feeling very guilty. Turn left at the road and on to Castromonte.

    In retrospect there was a place after the end of the reservoir where there was a track to the right and higher up on the right an enclosure with 30 or 40 beehives. I feel sure that that must lead to the road without trampling on the winter wheat.

    I eventually arrived. Church closed. Strangely the previous day, San Clemente, had been the town fiesta. But of this no sign. I did find a bar in the right. 4 old guys playing cards. After about 20 mins a cadaverous and cheerless barman came and served me a beer and I ate a handful of complimentary crisps. 'A town with nothing.'

    @KinkyOne @Undermanager @peregrina2000 I MISSED the bar with the two centenarians. I'll have to go back!

    9km to Valverde de Campos. If Castromonte was 'a town with nothing' this was a town with less. Nada. But for some it is home.

    From there it is 5km to Medina de Rioseco. A long 36km for me. Getting chilly when I arrived. You can see the town with its many churches long before you arrive.

    The first building in the town is the Poor Clares Convent. I've written about it here, heartachingly.
    https://www.caminodesantiago.me/community/threads/black-friday-on-cdm.51797/#post-569273

    I did get to the supermarket! Remember I had only had instant coffee, a banana, a San Miguel, and a handful of crisps in my 36km. I bought bananas and mandarins and chocolate and olives and bread and cheese and chorizo and tuna paté and vino tinto and sparkling water and albondigas in tomato sauce, and pasta. I ate well and slept well, woken by torrential rain. Jesús would be happy. He had told me they had had no rain for six months.

    Total pilgrims met - 0.
     
    Last edited: Dec 4, 2017
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  15. kirkie

    kirkie Active Member Donating Member

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    Oh my goodness, Timr, and my paltry local walk was rewarded with a wonderful mug of homemade sopa de puerros. I am enjoying your posts, very much so.
     
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  16. timr

    timr Active Member Donating Member

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    Saturday November 25th Day 3

    Medina de Rioseco to Villalón de Campos 29.5 km Total 94.5 km

    No room at the albergue - but room at the inn

    The following morning after a restful night disturbed only a little by the noise of heavy rain I joined the Sisters for Mass at 9am. After Mass the Sisters told me that they would move to Valladolid finally on December 8 2017 because of age, infirmity and falling numbers. The convent was built in 1491-2. Sister Maria Concepcion talking to me told me she had been there for 64 years, since before I was born. It is a big step. After 525 years the Convent will be abandoned. The fate of the albergue remains unclear, though in the short term it will close. Quite possibly I will be the last person ever to stay there.

    The road out of town is easy to find and there is a choice of ways but I took the obvious one and walked along the Canal de Castile. An elderly man looked with concern at my shoes before assuring me it would be OK, but it would be wet at times. There are reports of troublesome mosquitoes during the summer but there were none to be seen or heard.

    I presume many people know that a canal has a beginning/end - I am not sure that I did. But there it is in the town - a curved 'end wall'. It is a very beautiful and scenic walk and where for the first time I encountered, as the man in town had implied, mud! There had been heavy rain during the night. Large numbers of birds on the water, geese, ducks, herons etc. After about 5km the canal takes a quite unnatural 90 degree turn to the right, but the pilgrim does not, and so leaves the canal behind, making its way to Boadilla or thereabouts. There is a lock on the canal at that point, called an esclusa in Spanish, and helpful interpretative notices explaining how it works. The canal level is rising as it turns right.

    The walking pilgrim is now back on the meseta, and soon arrives at the sleepy town of Tamariz. With a fine big strong (closed) church (S. Pedro) and next to it a quite modern tiny plaza and a casa consistorial. There is also a remaining tower, very impressive, of an old church of St John the Baptist. In the modern square which I guess is the plaza mayor is a strange looking little building in the corner with chairs outside, but all locked up. After my excursion to Carrefours-extra in Medina, unlike the enclosed Sisters, I am like a travelling kitchen and I have queso and chorizo bocadillos (my own recipe), and olives and chocolate and banana and apple for lunch. In splendid isolation. But I notice a quite elderly man under the balcony of the Casa Consistorial who gives me a wave. The clock on the Casa says 1pm and the clock on the church in exact synchronization chimes once. Which is strange as my ultrasophisticated Garmin running watch, communicating with ten or a dozen satellites, tells me that it is in fact 12:50. Both cannot be right.

    Such speculation is curtailed when a car pulls up and a man gets out and proceeds to the curious little building. Tamariz comes to life in a flurry of activity. The man under the balcony shuffles slowly out across the tiny plaza mayor, followed by an older and slower man who also greets me. Remarkably, and 'against the run of play' as the sports commentators say, the bar is about to open. At 12:50 local time. The shutters are raised, the heating is turned on, and the two customers beckon me in. The bar is a single square room with about three tables with chairs. We chat for a pleasant quarter of an hour. The seniors drink wine and I have a bottle of San Miguel with a ring pull cap - never seen before by me! The older of the the two customers is like a stern oral examiner - he only talks when he has an olive in his mouth, which does not aid my comprehension, and he relies on the younger senior to translate from olive-Castellano to Castellano for me. They are all lovely and very encouraging of my endeavours.

    I head off and decide to stay on the tarred road, in the complete absence of any traffic. Let me confess, heretically, that I don't mind asphalt and in fact quite like it. I am a road runner when I am not walking. I do distinguish between concrete and asphalt, preferring the latter. But I don't get excited. And don't get me started on 'the cobbles of the Portuguese Camino'. If, manifestly, octogenarian beldams in bedroom slippers can manage to walk on cobbles, I can too. I am conscious that other opinions are available on these road surface issues.

    So another 8-9km and the larger town of Cuenca de Campos. There is a municipal building, perhaps a town hall, and I think the albergue is in it. There is some kind of community function taking place, perhaps a children's show or some kind of fundraiser in the hall, but I don't linger as it is getting cold. I didn't see a bar, though I feel sure there must have been one. Probably.

    From there it is a short, easy, unexciting walk into the larger again town of Villalón. Is it a city? How would I know? It has lots of shops and banks and bars and several churches. And it has a municipal albergue, 'open all year' described as 'highly recommended.' It is down a sort of side street away from the town and away from the camino - how to find it very clearly explained in the CSJ guide. It is of course closed, but looks lovely inside through the windows. The only notice says "We open at 1500." It is now 1700 and getting noticeably chilly. And there is no sign of life. I find two phone numbers on a website: +34983761185 doesn't connect. +34 983 740 011 gets through to the ayuntamiento with a recorded list of numbers to press, for administration, library, turismo etc. I press 4 for turismo. After a crackle I am rewarded with music - Mozart's Requiem. Hard to complain about such beautiful music but it is not encouraging in the circumstances. I try half a dozen times but never get past the music. There is no one on duty on Saturday afternoon.

    By now it is very cold and I am shivering. I need to cut my losses. There is a smart upmarket hotel across the road, with rooms at €39 which is beyond what I need so I walk back 200m into the town and check in a bar if they have rooms. They do. A cheery and pleasant young teenage lad communicates I guess with his mother on a mobile and she guides him through the process of signing me in. We find interestingly that we share a birth date, though in different centuries! The room is nice and warm and is en suite. They are going to serve me a menu at 9pm. This seems good, though €25 is a bit steep. I investigate a few shops. At the 'bread and milk' shop the shopkeeper beckons me when he sees me looking in the window. I buy a baguette and we chat. He tells me the Irish coalition government is about to collapse, which is news to me, but he finds the story in today's paper and shows me. He's correct, although in fact it does survive.

    I am looking for Mass. Neither church I investigate has any information but the main and imposing parish church in the large, terraced, plaza mayor, I imagine, will have either vigil Mass on Saturday and/or Mass on Sunday. The aged website suggests 10am on Sunday. I repair to a different bar from "mine" to use the wifi. And get warm again. Church bells ring loudly and continuously at 7pm, but no one appears and no doors open. [I learned later that this will have been a half hour warning and probably Mass was at 7:30, but I don't venture out again]. I have the menu at 9pm. Nutritious, strictly, but not in any way delicious.

    Next morning, I feel I should be celebrating the Sabbath with a lie-in, then breakfast, and then I will wait for 10am Mass. It is the Solemnity of Christ the King, an important liturgical day. I go on a photo-tour of the town centre, lots of interesting details - shop windows and doorways. And I stumble on the Tourist office with a sign in the window saying it is open from 1700-2000 on Thursdays to Sundays. There is no indication if this applies in November. There is nothing to indicate the age of this notice.

    I recommend if you plan to arrive at the weekend, especially outside of the summer season, to ring the ayuntamiento and connect to the tourist office in working hours on a weekday. I feel if you did you would get into the large albergue. Or you will find the tourism office easily in the main square on the opposite side from the church: stand on the bottom step of the church entrance and with the church behind you it is on your left.

    There is an illuminated clock over a pharmacy which reports that the temperature is 0 degrees. It feels less. It is VERY VERY cold, though clear and dry and not windy. I wait for Mass at 10am. No bells, no people, no celebration. I leave at 10:01.

    But it is a very nice town and I am sure would be very lively on a week day.

    Total pilgrims met - 0.
     
    Last edited: Dec 5, 2017
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  17. kirkie

    kirkie Active Member Donating Member

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    And?
     
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  18. timr

    timr Active Member Donating Member

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    Sunday November 26th Day 4

    From Villalón de Campos to Santervas de Campos 16.2 km Total 110.7 km

    I found Ponce. Ponce found Florida.

    So with the temperature at 0 off I went after a good night’s rest and plenty to eat. There are directions in the CSJ book urging you to turn left at Santander Bank which I did, rather than continuing straight on to the other church (closed) and the albergue (closed) and the smart hotel, which the yellow arrows want you to do. And even though I know that the arrows continue on past the albergue, because I saw them yesterday.

    The recommended way is not crystal clear - maybe an arrow was frosted over, but I find myself crossing a bridge and then on a road with a sign saying it will go to Santervas. I stay on the tarmac, having explained above that this is not a burden to me. It is Sunday morning and there is no traffic. The road is wide-ish and fairly straight. And I can see that the senda is, as has happened to me twice already in the past few days, ‘the width of a large meseta field away from me’ on the right. Obviously I should have turned right after crossing the bridge. I am not going to go back! There is a man riding in a field on a very large horse, possibly hunting, though I am not sure what for. The road is going to Fontihoyuelo, with ‘no facilities.’ I ask a passing man if I am going in the right direction and I find I am unable to pronounce Fontihoyuelo in a way that he can understand. But I am quite certain I am right.

    Walking on the road, as opposed to the senda, means that I pass after 4km a very large church right on the left side of the road, but otherwise in the middle of nowhere. Of course it is closed. There is a big picnic area around it. It is from XVIII and there is an interpretive sign. It honours a patron. It looks well kept externally. Strange location.

    Fontihoyuelo is soon reached after 9 km - a medium sized village, but as predicted it has no facilities, apart from a bench outside the church where I take a little rest. But it is so cold I need to keep walking. Once I AM walking, I do not feel the cold.

    From there on it is a short hike to Santervas de Campos, another 7 km. I stay on the asphalt road. There are a couple of turns, well marked and even a small roundabout coming into the town which is slightly elevated from the flat. The arrows lead you in to the church (closed) and you will notice the Social Club (open at midday when I passed) behind it. You have passed a statue to Juan Ponce de León coming into the town.

    Where I come from, 'Ponce' as a first name just does not work at all!!:);):(:p Schoolboy titter-inducing. I have heard of a Mexican composer called Manuel Ponce also. But it doesn't work any better as a surname where I come from!!

    He was the first Governor General of Puerto Rico and the ‘discoverer of Florida’. Hmm no I didn’t know either that Florida had ever been lost, but let’s not go there. He was an associate of Christopher Columbus. So anyway he is the most famous son of Santervas. From the church you will see a sign for the Ponce de León museum (closed at least on Sunday), which is part of the same building which is the albergue, to the left of what seems to be the museum. Attached further again to the left is the modern bar Ñam Ñam, in the care of the patron, Emilio.

    I have to report that I was delighted to find that my intuition that ñam ñam is Castellano for ‘yum yum’ is correct, though it seemed too good to be true. Contrary to what it says in the CSJ book it seems Emilio is the hospitalero. The way into the very modern albergue is through the back of the bar complex, not in the front door of the albergue. Plenty of beds, smart showers. No kitchen - just a microwave, not even a sink in the kitchen. There IS a kitchen, but it was in private use. Possibly a family was living in part of the building, I couldn’t quite work it out. There were certainly people using the kitchen, but they were not pilgrims.

    But not to worry - there is a smart comedor off the bar, and I ate a fantastic menu at 2:30pm. A mixed seafood crepe, merluzo in salsa verde and plenty of postres to choose from, wine, bread and water for €11. Exceptionally good food for such a tiny place, well above the average and infinitely better than last night. Not only that but I had a beer on arrival and it came with a little taster of garlic soup.

    Emilio very friendly indeed. Great solid fuel stove in the bar and good wifi. Maybe 8 or 10 locals turned up for lunch. The bar was still open at 10pm when I went to bed. Sitting by the fire, drinking not very much, I was still treated with tempting tidbits from the kitchen - garlic soup again and torreznos (pork crackling) throughout the evening. Slightly worryingly I heard later that the bar is not always open. I am not sure what would happen then. I didn’t go looking for a shop. There is another bar in the Social Club which I didn’t investigate. Very efficient central heating in the bedroom and bathroom which meant I could dry my clothes too.

    A nice place to stay. Not in all honesty a very exciting place to visit though!

    I enjoyed a restful night’s sleep, in preparation for, sadly, the last day of the CdM as I shall reach Sahagún tomorrow, though I am not quite finishing my walk there.

    Total pilgrims met - 0
     
    nycwalking, NualaOC, Bala and 3 others like this.
  19. Bala

    Bala Active Member Donating Member

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    Camino(s) past & future:
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    Camino Frances (Burgos-Santiago 2018)
    Enjoying following your journey very much. Thanks for sharing it.
     
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  20. timr

    timr Active Member Donating Member

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    Location:
    Co Wicklow, Ireland
    Camino(s) past & future:
    Several and counting...
    Monday November 27th Day 5

    From Santervas de Campos to Sahagún

    22.6 km 133.3km Total

    Another two Dr Livingstone experiences

    Rather sadly the last stage of the Madrid route is at hand. I had coffee, fruit and bread and set off from Santervas de Campos. It was chilly but clear.

    You start off along a quiet road and after 2 or 3 km turn right on to a farm track. As I walked along just before the turn, I heard a car slowing down behind me and then it stopped. I didn’t look around and so was extremely surprised to hear a voice saying “Is that Fr Tim?” It was our own @Rebekah Scott

    Rebekah and her husband Paddy, as many will know live in Moratinos in the ‘Peaceable Kingdom’ offering generous support, extreme kindness, and a wonderful welcome to all-comers. I had arranged to meet up with them (for the first time) that evening. Rebekah during these days had a small team of volunteers, the ‘ditch pigs’ staying with her. They are spending a week picking up litter along parts of the Camino Frances and Madrid, which they have done for several years - a tremendous service. She had dropped some off and had an empty car and offered me a lift but - of course - I refused. Having walked from the church of Santiago and St John in Madrid, starting in May, I was not going to bail out now! I arranged to join the work-party for lunch in Sahagún.

    8km brings you to Arenillas de Valderaduey, a very small town with no facilities. My gpx trace shows that I went round and round the town looking for the way out. It was a little confusing! You need to get to the far end of San Tomaso church away from the main entrance and pick up the farm track again behind it then.

    Another 7 km along the track brings you to a bridge and you can turn right (if you wish) to enter the village of Grajal de Campos. The bridge has an abundant array of arrows contradicting each other. If you don’t wish to visit Grajal you should turn left at the bridge and you avoid it. I went in to the village to have a look and chatted with a couple of local workers leaning on a gate who told me they had seen some ‘strangers’ in the past half hour. There is a church (closed) in the village and there is reported to be an albergue but I saw reports that it is closed at the moment for renovation. By going in and walking around a lot I added about 2km to the day’s total. I should be honest and admit that for a brief moment I thought I had arrived in Sahagún although I was baffled to see it was coniderably smaller than it was the last time I was there!;) I was looking for a bar for a coffee, and walked along past an obvious bar but one which looked very much as though it was closed.

    I was just about to cut my losses and head back to the bridge and on to the real Sahagún when a tall man popped out and said “Are you Fr Tim?” This was becoming a habit! I had found the ‘ditch pigs’ or they had found me. James, Keith, Mike, and Mary Louise were warming up after a morning’s litter picking and made me very welcome.

    We started walking towards Sahagún where they were eventually to have lunch and soon Rebekah appeared offering a lift, saying the work of the morning was finished. I declined - of course - and James and I walked to Sahagún to join the others for a splendid menu del dia.

    And so really that is that. Sahagún marks the end of the Camino de Madrid. From there you normally turn left and continue on the Camino Francés. In fact I turned right but I will come back to that.

    Total pilgrims met (not counting the ditch pigs) - 0

    Total for all of Madrid Route 133.3 + 243 = 376.3 km

    16 days total walking Average 23.5/day

    Adding in my earlier experience as detailed in the thread A short walk from Madrid:
    https://www.caminodesantiago.me/community/threads/a-short-walk-from-madrid.47865/

    For the entire route:

    Total pilgrims met - 6
    Total pilgrims temporarily mislaid - 5
    Total of temporarily mislaid pilgrims relocated - 5
    Number of close encounters with bulls - 1
    Number of sheep/goats who died at very close quarters -1

    I will sum up my feelings of the route later. [Spoiler: my feelings are VERY positive!]
     
    Last edited: Dec 6, 2017
    Bala, jsalt, camino07 and 5 others like this.
  21. Bradypus

    Bradypus Antediluvian

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    Too many and too often!
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