Welcome to the 6th post about my Camino de Santiago Pilgrimage by bike which happened on the 30th of May 2015. I did his stage of 70.29 Km or 44 miles from Hornillos Del Camino to the tiny village of Calzadilla de la Cueza in 6h and 29m, of which 4h 41m were of moving time.
I need to clarify a few things before I move on to report the day.
- The distance travelled is likely to be between 5 – 10 Km greater than the 70 Km measured by my Garmin Edge Cycling computer. This is because some 4 Km after Castrojeriz I stopped at the top of a mountain to appreciate the view and take some pictures and turned the Garmin off forgetting to turn it back on as I left. I only noticed the mistake as I arrived in Fromista some 15 Km later (zoom the map above and look for a straight line).
- I rode alone this day as Fernando decided to leave early and travelled more than I did that day.
After these two points, there is nothing else to add, thank you for your visit…
Just joking 🙂
I´ve added to the start of the video a short clip I took just before leaving the Hostel in Hornillos. Not a cloud in the sky, really beautiful and warm day.
I think 60% of the day´s route were “off-road” this day, and by that I mean dirt roads and some tracks. It means the speed is less, but the beauty of the landscape compensates in full.
I any attempt to describe the path in words will be a poor replacement to the pictures, so watch the video and ask me anything you want to know that is not in here.
The first stop after Hornillos was in the little village of Hontanas. I stopped at an establishment that is a café / restaurant / hostel that I had already seen pictures of before starting the pilgrimage: The El Puntido. Had just an egg sandwich and a coffee. Hontanas is small but has a certain charm and like many os the Spanish villages along the Camino is heavily dependent on the economy promoted by the pilgrims. There are likely more Pilgrims crossing it every day, than there are residents.
Breakfast done, I moved on in the direction of Castrojeriz, but this before Castrojeriz I crossed another milestone in the Camino, the ruins of the Monastery of Saint Anthony (according to Google) or San Anton according to the link (take your peek).
As with many of such architectural landmarks along the Camino it had served as a Hospital for Pilgrims and was the palace of King Pedro I in the past until the Ecclesiastical confiscations of Mendizábal which left it to ruins.
Castrojeriz is a place I wished I could have spent some time. I think a short walk up the hill where the Ruins of Castrojeriz Castle are would be a very interesting thing to do. The view of the small place by the church also offers nice views to the valley below.
After Castrojeriz you are in for a 3 Km climb at an ascent level of 12%. I had to push my bike most of the way up. I think it would be doable to ride it up, even on a loaded bike, if it wasn´t for the fact the dirt road that takes you up there is full of fine gravel, stones and sand, which provided little traction on the wheels. It takes a while to get up there.
At 1050m this is the highest point along this route. If you are following my posts, you´ll know there were crossings higher than this in days before, but this is is particularly challenging because of the road conditions.
It is by far, however, not the worst climbing conditions I had to face on the Camino, but this is a topic for future posts (probably day 12 post, when I will write about the crossing of the devilish “El Cebreiro”). I stopped there to film the surroundings, take some pictures and rest a little. The descent on the way down is even steeper, but easier because it is all cement paved. Make sure your bike brakes are good.
Few kilometres later I passed by the San Nicolás de Puente Fitero pilgrim´s hospital and had to stop for a moment to take a picture and think of my son, also Nicolas. Few meters later I crossed the 11th century built Itero del Castillo bridge over the river Pisuerga and found myself in the province of Palencia. I then rode to Itero de la Vega e turned left towards Boadilla del Camino.
Short after Boadilla you will ride about 2 to 3 kilometres alongside the Canal of Castile (Canal de Castilla) until you reach the locks in Fromista. Beautiful place to walk / ride a bike.
The sun was high and the day was hot, so I stopped in Frómista for about 1h to rest and eat something (a pizza, which was not very appetizing actually).
From Frómista I took the P-980 road to Carrion de los Condes passing through several small villages along the way.
Carrion de los Condes is one of these small towns along the Camino that probably deserves a longer stay as well, but I decided to move on and only stopped to take a few pictures and ask for directions.
After some 4 – 5 Km on a small asphalted road, the PP-2411, I rode another 12 Kms on a dirt road all the way to Calzadilla de la Cueza.
I had the intention of riding all the way to Ledigos this day as this was the place Fernando told me he would stop for the night, but when I arrived in Calzadilla I saw a Hostel advertised for 5€ that had a swimming pool. What more could you want, right? I was also no feeling very well (probably too much sun and too little sunscreen) so I decided to stay there. The problem, however, was that there were 2 hostels side by side. The municipal hostel (without a pool) and the hostel Camino Real, the one with the pool. They both charge 5€ a night, but I end up staying in the municipal hostel, which despite not having a swimming pool was very good also.
Good shower, with warm water and gave me the opportunity to wash some clothes by hand and the bike, which was extremely dirty from all the dirt roads I took this day.
I had dinner in the “Camino Real” restaurant down the street and met Cristina and Pete from Holland and we decided to share a table and have dinner together. As we started to talk we were joined by Michael from Devon in the UK, an experienced pilgrim, who has walked the Camino many times before and said he planned to do it every year, since he was retired and had the time to do it. The year before he did it in 29 days and this year he was giving himself 39 days.
I wish I had the means to contact some of the people I met, but strangely I have never written down their phones or email address. Hope they are doing well.
Well, that’s it for the 6th day. If you are following my Camino posts you have my promise that I will write all 14 post I plan to, but it may take some time.
Thank you very much for your time.