18. Carrion de los Condes – Ledigos (24km) | Camino de Santiago

This stage of Camino de Santiago is reputedly one of the hardest just because of the fact that after Carrion de los Condes there is a stretch of around 17km without anything. By “anything” I mean villages, bars, fountains, etc, or civilization in just one word. From Carrion de los Condes until Calzadilla de la Cueza the Camino de Santiago continues flat and although crops change from year to year it seems that in this area sunflower fields are really abundant, for the delight of the many pilgrims who fall in love with this flower in Camino de Santiago.

Trees and shade don’t exist and in summer months this area can be roasting, up to more than 40 Celsius, so if walking the Camino de Santiago in summer it’s really advised to get up really early before sunrise to get this part done before the heats start. Actually what we had planned to do here was a night walk, in other words completing another stage of Camino de Santiago during the night. Finally that was postponed for later and we ended up getting up quite late, as usually. So we got caught by the torrid heat, which was ok and really beautiful too. One should be fine as long as one carries a good hat, sun screen cream, plenty of water and some food such as dried fruits or even some “bocadillo” (Spanish word for a big sandwich, made in a Spanish style. I think this word is the most pronounced by non-Spanish speaking pilgrims in Camino de Santiago, and the one that brings more smiles).

We had a lazy picnic lunch in a small park in Calzadilla de la Cueza, eating the food we were carrying followed by a long (and lazy too) siesta. And when the day cooled down a bit we continued walking a bit more until Ledigos. Like Calzadilla de la Cueza Ledigos was again a small and poor village not having even the medieval high category and splendor of their neighbor Carrion de los Condes. However there was a nice big albergue with a really big backyard with grass and I remember lying down on it for long in the dark night watching the stars.

I never mentioned this before, but if you are a start gazing lover this part of Camino de Santiago will be your paradise: the light pollution is nearly nonexistent as so is the noise pollution, the air is clean and the fact of being at around 1000m (3000 feet) of altitude above sea level makes thinner the atmosphere and the stars bright very strongly. It’s really a good point to admire the Milky Way which because a white shiny Camino in the skies following the direction of the Camino de Santiago itself.

<< 17. Fromista – Carrion (19km) | 19. Ledigos – Bercianos (26km) >>

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“Today is a good day to wake up really early and walk for a while under the moonlight, and then contemplate a wonderful sun rising.

This is my favorite time of day. The sun creeps toward the horizon, the air is cool and the moon hangs bright in a muted sky. Colours are gentle, everything suggests the impending daybreak but pretends not to, everything continues in a resolute hush until the warm, golden rays officially paint dawn into day.”

Contribution of Helen

The pilgrimage route to Santiago de Compostela