Where We Be
|The Meseta: Camino Halfway Point
|Standing at the halfway point of the Camino, even as physically demanding
as it has been, we can't help feeling it's one of the best things we've ever done
|During this stretch we hiked three days from Boadilla to Sahagun, with distances as follows:
12 miles to Villalcazar de Sirga, 14 miles to Calzadilla de la Cueza, and 14 miles to Sahagun
|Hiking Day 21: Boadilla to Villalcazar de Sirga
|Three miles into a 14-mile hike we stopped for breakfast in Carrion de los Condes, where we watched
common swifts flying around the church. Swifts are noisy in a wonderful way, flying and calling in
tandem, and they're a constant in nearly every Spanish town or city you come to along the Camino.
|There are hard days and there are easy days on the Camino, and for us this was a hard one. It was a
long slog along a straight-as-an-arrow Roman road on a hot day with no shade or water and little to see.
|The last 10½ miles were literally without town, water, restroom, rest stop, or food.
It was flat, featureless, boring, and hot. Even finding a picnic bench was difficult.
|Hostal Camino Real (€40 with private bath)
offered a decent window view to open fields
|We stayed at Infanta Doña Leonor hotel, a good value at €40 with private bath
|Today was a happy, easy day. We hiked 12 miles over flat terrain. The smartest thing we did was
take the alternate route along the river, which was much more pleasant than following the highway.
|We passed through several blink-and-you'll-miss-'em Camino towns along the way
|And we heard so many birds singing and frogs
croaking that it made the whole hike more pleasant
|Near Villalcazar we came across this tiny underground bodega (wine cellar)
|We arrived in Villalcazar around 2 pm, feeling relaxed and happy
|At Palomar del Camino (on the way into town) we had the most
amazing “Salad Palomar” for €7 -- fresh ingredients and huge!
|We liked this statue in Villalcazar called "Descanso del Peregrino," which means
Pilgrim's Rest. In the background is the Church of Santa Maria la Blanca.
|Hiking Day 22: Villalcazar to Calzadilla
|A better day: just as long at 14 miles, but easier because we
were in a better mental state and there was more to see and enjoy
|The Hermitage of La Virgen del Puente marks the halfway point of the Camino
(technically the halfway point within Spain only, from Roncesvalles to Santiago)
|These two carved pillars adjacent to the hermitage
mark the halfway point. Time to celebrate!
|The carved stone says in English: "Sahagun -- Geographical Center of the Camino"
|The Arch of San Benito in Sahagun was once the facade of the Monastery of San Benito --
the most powerful Benedictine monastery of the Middle Ages in the Kingdom of León
|Statues and carvings point to the religious importance of Sahagun in the Middle Ages
|Happy just to sit and relax after a long day of hiking.
Our lodging for the night was Hostal Alfonso VI (€40).
|Statues of pilgrims (peregrinos) are another constant -- you'll find one in most towns
|Hiking Day 23: Calzadilla to Sahagun
During this stage we crossed the halfway point
to Santiago, so this seems like a good time to
assess progress. Our overall assessment is
that the Camino is tougher than we expected it
to be, especially with our pack weight. Hiking
this many consecutive days is more physically
demanding than we'd realized in terms of sore
muscles, blisters, achilles tendonitis, and so
on. But we still find ourselves looking forward
to each day and are both strongly committed to
finishing. We're averaging about 12 miles per
day now, our initial goal, except when distances
between towns require compromise.
Speaking of towns, the Spanish towns along the
Way are terrific, and everywhere we go locals
call out “Buen camino!” and seem to mean it.
We see little acts of kindness each day, like the
woman at a cafe this evening who bought a
plate of serrano ham specifically to feed to a
lame cat. Pilgrims help each other in small ways
and big, whether with words of encouragement
or information or aspirin. Cameraderie among
pilgrims is a real thing and definitely something
special about this journey. The Camino seems
to attract people of a certain mindset who take
real pleasure in looking out for one another.
|We passed through four different villages before reaching
the outskirts of Sahagun, our destination for the day
|But we soldiered on and eventually made it to Calzadilla, sore, tired, and a little grumpy
|Only in Spain would pork rinds
be considered a dried fruit!
|C'mon, smile! We're halfway there!
|Two perfectly named Spanish
reds to try along the Camino!
|Be sure to fill up your water bottles in Carrion
de los Condes -- it's a long dry stretch ahead