Thursday, January 26, 2012

Pilgrimage Day 16: Castrajeriz - Fromista

I have now covered about 340 km of my pilgrimage, and used 15 days. I had to rest two of these days because of an ankle inflammation. On average, I have walked about 25 kilometers each of the 13 days I have walked. I am still not yet half way on my journey. The flight back to Norway is in 19 days. By then I have walk another 460 kilometers. I calculate that I must cover 25 kilometers each day on an average in the next 19 days. Despite the fact that I had to rest 2 days, it seems that I can manage to get to Santiago de Compostella on schedule. But that means that I have to keep the same pace as now and not get sick!
Out of Castrajeriz I go along with a group of other pilgrims. We follow an old Roman road and cross the river Ordilla. We pass a major archaeological excavation by the river. An old bridge from the Middle Ages is being dug up. It is nice and green around the river early this morning. Wild flowers, some trees and running water in the river. Then the gravel road goes up to almost 1000 meters above sea level. A  fairly steep walk. But the view on top is amazing. A Roman sentinel here could see the enemy coming many hours before they reached Castrojeriz. Here are some pictures showing the desolate stretch I walk in all day. I think the pictures speak for themselves. The silence continues to prevail throughout the day and it is lonely to be here. I am confronted constantly with myself on this desolate stretch.


I walk past the villages of Puente Fitero, Itero de la Vega and Boadella del Camino today. All three seem extinct. There is not much more to say. I see almost no one in the villages and there are few people on the road I walk. Then I finally reach Frómista after 25 kilometers. Here I will stay for the night. The village was originally a living ground for a Celtic tribe that lived here before the Romans took over the area and made the place into a Roman city. The Romans called the city for Frumentum, a name that refers to a great abundance of grain that was in the area at that time. The city was conquered by the Moors around the year 800 and taken back again around the year 1000. The village is best known today for the Romanesque church of San Martin. The church was originally part of a monastery that was established in 1066 but have since been torn down. The church has two round towers at the entrance. It is powerful to see the beautiful in an area otherwise characterized by being so very desolate and abandoned.

Right next to the church is where I take in. The hostel I stay in for the night was formerly an old pilgrim hospital. Very simple accommodation conditions and we are cramped together in bunk beds that are placed close together. Such circumstances make it easy to get into a conversation with other pilgrims. I get acquainted with a young man from Germany who is on his pilgrims walk because he was recently divorced from his wife and experiences a lack of meaning in his life as: unemployed, young and divorced. He hopes to find a new direction in his life on his pilgrimage. We walk around in Frómista together and eat a simple dinner. He has much to tell and is obviously struggling with life just now. He feels that it helps to get away from his life in Germany and just walk. Here on the pilgrimage, he knows where the road goes and he has a purpose in life. I listen and see that there are many reasons to walk on a pilgrimage. He has no religious reason to go walk here. This is therapy for him so that he can find himself again and get his self-confidence back and again dare to believe in himself and life. It makes a great impression on me to talk with him.

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