Day 16 Fromista – Carrion de los Condes – 19km or 21km
Day 16 on the Camino Frances is an easy flat walk continuing along the meseta. The roughly 19km today will take about 5 hours walking at an a easy pace, many will take this opportunity of easy walking to complete a greater distance, instead of only Fromista to Carrion de los Condes. Walk your own Camino, don’t be constrained by guide books. The books are helpful to know where to stop and what to see, but walk at your own pace as some days you will have more energy than others.
After Poblacion de Campos there is a choice of two routes, however the second is much less travelled and less well marked. The map highlights the lesser walked route as the main route follows the road. The first 3.5km of today is along the side of the road, P-980. It is a flat and easy underfoot purpose built path for pilgrims, this path continues all the way to Carrion de Los Condes.
At the entrance Poblacion de Campos there is the 13th century Romanesque Hermitage of San Miguel which once belonged to the Knights of Malta. The Hermitage is contained within a small park and picnic area.
3.5km Poblacion de Campos, water, bar, food shop
The Municipal owned hostel is run by the hotel next door. Municipal Albergue, Paseo del Cementerio, €4, 18 beds, B, M, K W, Bike,Tel: 979 811 099, open all year. Website – http://www.amanecerencampos.com/
This is a small farming village with one hostel, a hotel, and several bars where you can eat. The hotel has a restaurant attached. The village was first inhabited in the 9th century and at one time had a population of nearly 1,000. Today the population is estimated at 200.
The Baroque Church of Santa Maria Magdalena dates from the 16th century. Inside there is a Romanesque baptismal font and a 13th century image of the Virgin del Socorro, (Our Lady of Help).
Further along on the left and below the level of the street is the Hermitage of La Virgin del Socorro, it was restored in 1973.
As you leave the village just before the bridge over the Rio Ucieza there is a choice of routes. The main route follows the road on a man made path with very little shade, the other follows along the river and has some shade from the trees that grow along the side of the river. The Roi Ucieza path is quieter and more pleasant however there is only one village with no guarantee of water or food being available. Additionally along the river is the only place on the Camino Frances where I was bitten by a mosquito. There are no markings along the river route, but there are no choices to be made it is a simple path within sight of the marked route.
On the second route make sure you have enough food and water from Poblacion de Campos as you will be walking along uneven paths for the rest of the day with nowhere to collect more water or food.
Just as you are leaving Poblacion de Campos turn right before the bridge on Cruz de Malta follow the road for about 200 meters and then join the dirt path. You will have the river far away on your left until Villovieco. The river route is about 2km longer than the road route
3.4 km Villovieco, water, cafe
At the end of the village just after you turn left over the river there is a cafe, however I passed at about 8am and it was not open during the summer. There is a fountain in the village for water, the last opportunity to fill up for 13km.
There is the Renaissance church of Santa Marie in the village. The alter is decorated with several Santiago motifs.
Leaving Villovieco turn right after you cross the river and continue on the dirt path now with the river beside you on the right. After 4.9km there is a small road where you can see the Hermitage of Our Lady of the River, inside there is a image of Santiago. At this point you can choose to join the road route at Villalcazar de Sirga by walking up this country road. Otherwise turn right onto a path just after the Hermitage. This path will take you the rest of the way to Carrion de Los Condes across fields.
From Poblacion de Campos cross the river, the path along the side of the road will pass through Revenga de Campos, Villarmentero de Campos, and Villalcazar de Sirga.
Revenga de Campos 3.3km, water, bar
This is one of those many Spanish hamlets that you will pass through that will leave little impression on your memory. Baroque parish Church of St Lawrence.
Villarmentero de Campos 5.2km, Water, bar
Albergue Amanecer, 2 Calle José Antonio, private, €6, 32 beds, K, M, B, @, Bike, Tel: 662 279 102, https://www.facebook.com/jesus.burgos.752861 open Mar to Oct inc
Parish church dedicated to St Martin of Tours. This town celebrates the day of St Martin on the 4th of July based on the old Spanish calendar’s summer date, rather than on the 11th November the traditional date of his death.
Villalcazar de Sirga 1.8km, all services
Albergue Villalcazar de Sirga, Plaza del Peregrino, municipal, donation, 20 beds, K, W, D, @, bike, Tel: 979 888 076, open Apr to Oct inc.
Albergue Tasca Don Camino, 23 Calle Real, private, €8, 20 beds, B, M, W, @, bike, Tel: 979 888 053, http://www.casas-aurea.es/ open Mar to Oct inc.
There is a bar which is popular with pilgrims opposite the church.
This small town’s skyline is dominated by the Romanesque Church of Santa Maria la Blanca, (St Mary the White, Virgin Mary). The church, built in the shape of a latin cross, started construction in the later part of the 12th century by the Templars and was finished in the 14th, it is now a Spanish national monument. As can be seen from its structure this is a fortress church. This church is definitely worth taking the time to see, especially the enormously tall porch with its richly carved portal. Inside there is a retable portraying the life and death of St James and a 16th century figure of him in pilgrims clothes, it is most comprehensive retable of St James along the Camino Frances before Santiago. The retable illustrates St James meeting Jesus, his martyrdom and him being moved to Galicia.
Villalcazar de Seirga is an example of the Camino de Santiago route being moved. The Codex Calixtinus does not mention this town, as the Camino route was north of here via Arconada. However due to the news of the miracles attributed to the Virgin Blanca the road to Santiago shifted over time and Villalcazar became a minor pilgrimage destination. The miracles attributed to the Virgin here are said to be of pilgrims on their return from Santiago: a German crippled pilgrim was healed on his way home, a French pilgrim could not enter the church until he begged forgiveness of the Virgin, another French paralysed pilgrim recovered use of her body, a blind man recovered his sight.
If you decide to stay over night in Villalcazar there is an excellent restaurant opposite the church on the plaza called Mason de Pablo. The restaurant is well known for its excellent food, banquets in the evening and it is decorated with pilgrim paraphernalia.
Carrion de los Condes 5.2km, all services
Albergue Parroquial de Santa Maria, 31 Calle del Clérigo Pastor, parochial, €5, 58 beds, K, W, D, @, bike, Tel: 979 880 768, open Mar to Oct inc.
Albergue Espíritu Santo, 4 Plaza de San Juan, private, €5, 50 beds, W, D, @, K, Tel: 979 880 052, open all year.
Monasterio Santa Clara, 1 Calle de Santa Clara, parochial, €5, 30 beds, W, D, tel: 979 880 134, open Mar to Nov inc.
Carrion was first settled by the Romans and was known as Lacobriga. Later the Visogoths held the city, their existence is evidenced by the tombs in the cliffs north and south of the town. The Moors conquered the area circa 713 and built the first castle which has been replaced by the Church of Bethlehem, (Iglesia de Belen). At it height Carrion de los Condes had 10,000 inhabitants and 14 pilgrim hostels, it was an important way point on the route to Santiago de Compostela. Now there are 2,000 inhabitants and three pilgrim hostels; however all services are available.
Please note that there is likely no access to banks for two days after leaving Carrion.
The Church of Santiago built in the 12th century was destroyed during the war of independence against the French in 1809. An 1845 reconstruction saved the facade. The archivolt, curve of the arch, shows 24 figures of different trades among them a tailor, cobbler, violist, and of course soldiers fighting. Inside there is a small museum with a statue of Santiago the Moor slayer.
The Monastery of San Zoilo was founded in the 10th century and dedicated to St. John the Baptist and was renamed in 1047 when the relics of the Cordoban martyr San Zoilo were brought here. At one time they controlled 7 pilgrim hospices. The monks quarters have been turned into a hotel similar to a Parador. One of the most interesting features is the cloister with over 200 carved arch keystones, it is a high quality collection of Renaissance busts that include Santiago and the best examples that you can see on the road to Santiago de Compostela.
The Church of Santa Maria del Camino constructed in the 12th century church was built to celebrate the defeat of the Moors at this site. It has an interesting facade that depicts the Adoration, the Epiphany, Herod, the 3 wise men, Samson and the loin, and a knight who is said to be Santiago. The legend of 100 virgin is associated with the Church of Santa Maria. It is said that the Christian King Mauregato was required to surrender 100 virgin to the Moor rulers. The Christians prayed to to free of this burden and a heard of bulls attacked the Moors and chased them off. A capital on the south porch, a painting, and inside a plaque commemorate this event.
Key: W = Washing, D = Drying, M = Menu, @ = Internet, K = Kitchen, B = Breakfast, V = Vending, Cred = Credential, Bike = Bike Storage
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The elevation map below shows a distance of 21km. However if you walk the Road Route it is only 19km.