Leaving Castrojeriz early at dawn one can enjoy a sunrise as spectacular as the sunset in the castle. Just after the Castrojeriz, the Camino de Santiago continues along a quite steep and prolonged slope leading to a flat plateau. If you are lucky to have got to the top by the time the sun is rising you’ll understand why I’m saying this. By the way, Castrojeriz is approximately the middle point in the Camino de Santiago, The Way of St. James, if you started in St. Jean Pied de Port. So be aware that you are now starting your Camino’s second half, you must be an experienced pilgrim by now. Only joking.
In this stage of Camino de Santiago, we’ll continue along the flat cereal fields and small villages. There is a nice hermit right before the cute village of Itero del Castillo. This is the hermit of Saint Nicholas (San Nicolas) and its function is to be a pilgrim’s hostel (albergue). San Nicolas’ albergue is run by La Confraternita di San Jacopo di Compostella from Perugia (Italy) from May to October. We didn’t stop there for the night since it was still very early in the day, and we had walked a small distance, but we stopped for breakfast which an Italian couple prepared kindly for us asking only for a donation. The temple (and the albergue) doesn’t have electricity so at night it has to be lit by candles and pilgrims sleep inside the medieval temple. It must be such a basic and romantic experience to stay there for the night.
The final stop for the day could be the big village of Fromista. Fromista was a very important town in the Middle Ages and it keeps probably the finest pieces of Romanesque architecture in Western Europe. La iglesia de San Martin (Church of Saint Martin) built in the 11th century is one the Romanesque temples more completed of all Europe. The church of Santa Maria del Castillo, Gothic-Renaissance; the Gothic church of San Pedro; the Gothic hermit of Otero, and the Canal de Castilla, are some of Fromista’s monuments.
Actually, I want to talk a bit of Canal de Castilla (Channel of Castile) because pilgrims will cross it a few times during these stages of Camino de Santiago. The Canal de Castilla was a huge hydraulic engineering project of the second half of 18th century and beginning of 19th century. The Canal goes through parts of the provinces of Burgos, Palencia and Valladolid and was built to facilitate the transport of grain to the ports in the north coast so that they could be shipped overseas. However the arrival of the train soon brought the decadence of the transport by boats along the Canal de Castilla. Nowadays, its major use is for the watering of the cereal fields.
Finally, a bit of practical information: the public albergue in Fromista is quite big and has a nice courtyard for hanging wet clothes, leaving the bicycles and staying out in the evenings. It’s quite a big albergue but in summer months it can be full quite easily, but there are also some other private hostels in town. In Fromista there are every kind of shops, bars, restaurants, pharmacies and doctor. What else? A yes, banks, post office, etc, etc…