I walk past several villages today. The first is Poblacion de Campos. It was formerly the headquarters of the Order of St John and just before the village I come to a beautiful little chapel (San Miquel) from the 1300's. I go over the river Ucieza and just follow a straight line till rearch Revenga de Campos. This village is from the year 1000. Very little (nothing) really to see here so I walk quickly on. The next village today is Villarmentero de Campos. The only thing I remember from this village is that I found a bench where I could rest a bit.
Then I walk for almost 15 km before I come to Villalcázar the Sirga. Here I visit Santa Maria la Blanca church which is mighty nice. The church was begun in Romanesque style but finished in the Gothic style. Especially the enterance is amazing with its many sculptures and looks a bit like the Trondheim Cathedral. After a well deserved break for lunch here, I go back to the pilgrim road and walk straight to Carrion de los Condes. This has for centuries been one of the main places for pilgrims. In the 1500s, there were four pilgrim hospitals here, in addition to five monasteries. Now there's just one monastery left and I plan to stay in that one for the night. A real convent with real nuns and everything! The monastery is located near the Santa Maria church and the nuns here are called the Order of Saint Clares (latin: Ordo sanctae Clarae). They have also been called the Order of Poor Ladies, the Clarisses, the Minoresses, the Franciscan Clarist Order. It was Francis of Assisi who himself made the rules for the Order of Saint Clares in 1224 and approved by Pope Innocent IV the day before Clare's death in 1253. The nuns here are contemplative, which means that they keep themselves inside the walls of the monastary all the time. They do not talk to strangers at all, and do not go outside the monastery's thick walls. We can see them during the service in the Santa Maria church, but there is a solid metal fence between us and they stay well away from us. Their order is a branch of the Franciscan order. After just a few days in a silent and lonely landscape, I can understand that there is much to be learned from these two aspects of life. The silence and loneliness which most people today are afraid of, is a way of living for these nuns. I am able to grasp a little part of the treasure they share with each other as "Poor Ladies". This is a wonderful monastery and I go in and ask if is possible to get a room here for the night. I'm lucky and get one of the few beds they have for pilgrims.
The conditions are very simple and I get the feeling of how it must be to live in a monastery. Everything is clean, quiet, little light, small rooms, thick walls with bars on the windows. I live in a room with three other men. It is a devotional atmosphere between us. We speak softly so as not to destroy the atmosphere which the monastery gives to us for the night.