de Santiago / French Way : 20. El Burgo Ranero - Mansilla de las Mulas (19.0 km)
Calzadilla de los Hermanillos - Mansilla de las Mulas (24,5 km)
The Camino Real Francés
mentioned in the last stage of our journey we are
taking the Camino Real Francés between Sahagún
and Mansilla de las Mulas. At the bottom of this
page we will give details of the alternative route
along the original Camino la Calzada de los Peregrinos.
leave El Burgo Ranero follow the main road through
the village past the church and then past the cemetery.
Walk for approximately 4.5 kilometres and you will
come across a brick fountain set back slightly from
the road in amongst some trees. Keeping straight
on after another 3.5 kilometres you pass a turning
that takes you to the village of Villamarco.
The village is about 1 kilometre off the Camino
but it does have all the usual amenities so if you
feel like a detour then turn left here. If not continue
on for another 2 kilometres at which point the route
crosses the railway line.
here we more or less follow the railway line, keeping
it to our left for most of the next few kilometres.
We soon enter a small valley crossing 2, usually
dried up, rivers firstly the Valdearcos and then
the Santa Maria. Soon after crossing the Santa Maria
the landscape becomes a little hillier with wine
storage cellars or bodegas set into the hills every
now and then. 2 kilometres later we enter the village
Roman times Reliegos was an important transport
centre as it lay at the coming together of three
major roads. It’s most recent claim to fame though
is that of the last major meteorite strike to have
hit Spain, way back at 8am on the 28th December
1948. The meteorite fell on the Calle Real and weighed
around 8.9 kilos (19.621 pounds) and the crater
it created was 35cm (13.78 inches) deep. Unfortunately
you won’t get to see the meteorite here in Reliegos
as it was taken to the Museo Nacional de Ciencas
Naturales in Madrid.
large municipal albergue is quite modern and has
both cooking facilities and internet access. There
are some cafés around the main square and a shop
to stock up on provisions.
Reliegos by walking straight through the village
and joining a stony track and your next stop, Mansilla
de las Mulas, can be seen approximately 6 kilometres
away. The path is more or less straight from here
until you reach the main road. Cross over the road,
then walk over the bridge spanning the canal and
enter the town of Mansilla de las Mulas. Whether
you have walked the Camino Real Francés or the alternative
Calzada de los Peregrinos here is where both Caminos
enter Mansilla de las Mulas through the medieval
Puerta del Castillo and down the Calle Santa Maria
into the Plaza del Pozo where you will find a number
of rather good pastelerias for those of you with
a sweet tooth. The name of the town comes from the
Spanish for hand (mano) and saddle (silla de montar).
The town’s coat of arms depicts a hand resting on
a saddle. The Mulas (mules) part of the town’s name
refers to the ancient mule markets that took place
14 metre high walls that surround Mansillas de las
Mulas are believed to have been built some time
in the 12th century, though there may well have
been some type of fortification here since Roman
times. The walls originally had 4 gates,
the gate from which you entered the town, la Puerta
del Castillo was the main gate, the best preserved
though is la Puerta de la Concepción. In some parts
the walls are an impressive 3 metres thick. Worth
seeing is the stretch of wall that runs alongside
the Rio Esla. At the height of the Camino’s prominence
during the Middle Ages Mansilla de las Mulas became
a significant stopping point for the Pilgrims and
once had 3 pilgrim hospitals, 2 convents and 7 churches.
13th century Iglesia de Santa Maria and the Ermita
de la Virgen de Gracia are the only remnants from
these earlier times. The Iglesia de Santa Maria
was the oldest church in the town having been the
only one in the town up until 1220 when they started
to build the others. The building that stands there
now is from the 18th century but was built over
the original. The original Ermita de la Virgen de
Gracia was built around the same time as the Iglesia
de Santa Maria and like the church, the current
building is from a later era, probably 14th century.
The Iglesia de San Martín, which was also
built in 1220 has now become the Casa de Cultura,
or cultural centre, of Mansilla de las Mulas. The
only part of the original church remaining is the
Calzada de los Peregrinos
will give you the alternative route from Calzadilla
de los Hermanillos, which was our last stop
on the Calzada de los Peregrinos.
route from here is pretty much a straight one all
the way to Mansilla de Las Mulas, crossing an immense
plateau with nothing to see but cornfields in every
direction, and the occasional train. After about
3.5 kilometres the tarmacked track you have been
following turns into an unsurfaced road which you
follow for at least 13.5 kilometres and then, as
if from nowhere, you come to a deserted railway
station at Apeadero Villamarco.
per the other Camino the village of Villamarco
is close by, approximately 2 kilometres to the south.
If you are desperate to stop cross the railway line
at this point. If not keep straight on walking more
or less parallel to the railway line and after about
4 kilometres you begin to go through the valley
with the two dried up rivers, the Valdearcos and
then the Santa Maria. 6 kilometres further on you
enter two more valleys where the path veers to the
left. After a while you emerge from the second valley
where you will come to a junction from where you
will see the church tower of Reliegos.
path leading to Reliegos is about 500 metres away
and if you wish you can meet up with the Camino
Real Francés here or alternatively if you want to
keep on your original path, take a right down a
track shortly after the junction and after approximately
6 kilometres you reach Mansilla de las Mulas.
à CF description
at wanadoo.fr - 07/01/2014