de Santiago / French Way : 16. Frómista - Carrión de los Condes
Frómista on the road heading towards Carrión
de Los Condes.
In recent years a specially constructed
gravel walkway, or andadero de peregrinos, has been
added running parallel to this road all the way
to Carrión de Los Condes. This route will take you
past the outskirts of Población de Campos, where
there is a bar and refugio and to the village of
Villovieco. It passes through the villages of Villarmentero
de Campos and Revenga de Campos and skirts Villalcázar
de Sirga. After about 3 kilometres the old route
meets the new just after the tiny 13th century Ermita
de San Miguel on the left. At this point you can
keep following the purpose made path to Carrión
de Los Condes or take the old route.
you want to take the old route then turn right here
down towards the Paseo del Cementerio and into Población
de Campos. The village here is a good place
to see some of the adobe style mud buildings endemic
to this area as well as the very large Palomares
which are used to breed pigeons. There is also an
albergue and a casa rural if you wish to spend the
night as well as a shop, restaurant and a couple
of bars if you need refreshment. There isn’t much
to see here but you may wish to visit the small
13th century Ermita de la Virgen del Socorro
and the 17th century church, Iglesia de la Magdelena.
There are also the remains of a former pilgrim hospital.
route continues behind the church where you will
come to a junction with a minor road ahead. Follow
this for about 3 kilometres where you will come
across a fountain on your right hand side with a
wayside cross next to it. After another kilometre
you should reach the village of Villovieco,
don’t stop here, just skirt past it.
a bridge over the Rio Ucieza take a left then an
immediate right to follow the river bank, this you
do for about 5 kilometres until you come to the
Ermita de la Virgen del Rio. Inside you will
find an alabaster image of Santiago Peregrino and
a statue of la Virgen del Rio who is said have swum
up the Rio Ucieza during a flood and stopped here.
You may need to ask permission to go inside as I
believe it is now a private house.
the Ermita de la Virgen del Rio turn left near
the bridge and walk past the Ermita del Cristo
de la Salud, again turn left and continue down
the path for about 1 killometre until you reach
Villalcázar de Sirga, or as it is more commonly
known in these parts, Villasirga. It is at
this point that the other route converges.
the 13th century the Camino was re-routed through
here because King Alfonso X, el Sabio (the Learned)
continuously mentioned the miracles performed by
the Virgen Blanca (white virgin) in his Cantigas,
a large collection of songs from the Middle Ages.
main monument in Villalcazár de Sirga is la Iglesia
de la Virgen Blanca, a large church build between
the 12th and 13th centuries by the Knights Templar.
This already huge church is what remains of a much
larger building which was damaged in 1755 by an
earthquake and Napoleon’s troops during the Napoleonic
wars. Inside the church are the tombs of Don Felipe,
a Templar knight and brother of Alfonso X, el Sabio
and his wife Doña Leonor. There are a couple of
miracles attributed to items within the church.
The first is a statue of the Virgin Mary which is
said to heal pilgrims who haven’t been healed in
Santiago. The second is an alabaster bust of Santiago
which is reportable able to get rid of headaches,
if you rub a towel across its forehead and then
across your own then you will be cured.
those wishing to stay there is a municipal albergue
and some bed and breakfast style hotels and a hostel.
The village also has a bakery, a couple of shops,
a restaurant and a bar.
Villalcázar de Sirga we will follow the purpose
made gravel track that runs parallel to the road
for 5 kilometres until we reach Carrión de los Condes.
de los Condes during medieval times was a town
of between 10,000 and 12,000 inhabitants, nowadays
there are just over 2,000. The town also used to
have at least 12 churches and several pilgrim hospitals.
Some books tell us that the town got its name from
a story told in El Canter de Mio Cid about two Castilian
nobles or Condes, who married the daughters of Don
Rodrigo Diaz de Vivar, El Cid. Once married, the
men took the women’s fortunes and tied them to trees
and beat them. The truth is that the town had belonged
to the Leonés royal family and was called la ciudad
de los Condes, or city of the Counts.
you enter the town you will pass la Cuesta de la
Mora and its fountain. Legend says that King Alfonso
X had arranged to meet with his Moorish lover Zulima
for an assignation, but she was late and the King,
angry at this perceived slight, cursed the fountain.
Unfortunately, Zulima finally turned up and tragically
drank from the fountain dying soon after.
of the monuments of particular interest is the 12th
century Iglesia de Santa Maria del Camino
which celebrates a victory over the Moors which
happened on this site. Each year the Christian inhabitants
of the town were forced to pay tribute to their
Moorish rulers by providing them with 100 virgins.
Understandably they weren’t too happy about it and
prayed for deliverance. Santa Maria heard their
prayers and sent a herd of bulls to attack the Moors
and drove them away.
building worth visiting is the Monasterio de
Santa Clara. This is one of the oldest Claris
convents in Spain having been founded in 1255 by
the Queen of Portugal and niece of King Fernando
III, Mencia. It is rumoured to have sheltered Saint
Francis of Assisi on his pilgrimage to Santiago.
The convent is now home to one of Carrión de los
Condes’ albergues and a museum containing some very
valuable works of religious art.
is actually a rather unusual story that surrounds
the Convent. During the Napoleonic war the French
soldiers and the nuns came to an agreement. The
nuns would provide the soldiers with chocolate and
picatostes (pieces of fried bread) in exchange for
the soldiers leaving them alone and respecting the
monastery. It’s amazing what people will do for
a little bit of chocolate!
are all the necessary amenities including a supermarket
in the town. There are 3 albergues here along with
4 hostels and a nearby camping site called El Eden
by the Rio Carrión. Before you leave Carrión de
los Condes make sure you have plenty of food and
drink with you as for the next 40 kilometres there
will be precious few chances to buy food and there
is no water for at least 17 kilometres.
à CF description
at wanadoo.fr - 07/01/2014