It was still winter as I progressed to the middle of the meseta. Steel skies and mud, with snow to come at Moratinos. It’s hard on the body, but Spain has its great remedy in cold climes and seasons. It’s referred to as Sopa Castellana or Sopa de Ajo, and varies a lot. Essentially, it’s garlic soup. At its simplest, garlic is boiled in water, pimentón and salt are added, then chopped stale bread.
Some variations: the garlic is fried in olive oil, but very gently, and the pimentón gets a very light fry as well. Chorizo and other meats are sometimes added. Instead of water, stock can be used. Eggs may be poached in it before serving, or even beaten and added once the starch of the bread has thickened the brew, so that the egg mix makes nice threads.
I’m now back in the Australian late autumn, it’s unseasonably cold and, for some reason, I’m being racked by allergies. But now that I’m an old hand from the meseta, I know just what to do. Here’s dinner.
I’ve done the beaten egg trick for this lot. Remember to let the soup get thick and starchy from the bread, or the egg will go grainy.
Along the trail from Fromista, one of Spain’s more important Gothic constructions, Saint Mary’s in Villalcazar de Sirga.
At today’s destination, Carrión de los Condes, you would have eaten plenty of chicken soup, or Jewish penicillin, in the early Middle Ages. For a while, the town was majority Jewish, though even before the big dispersion of the fifteenth century, there were persecutions. The early counts of Castile were interested in the taxes they could exact from living Jews, and protection was their policy.
Long before all that, Carrión was an important stop on a major Roman Way. The Via Aquitana is remembered here.
On entering the town, a young Korean lady tried to let me past, but I would have none of it. (Must learn the Korean for: The dawdler overtakes nobody!)
These Korean Catholics are a problem for me. They often go on pilgrimage without training, something to do with trusting Saint James. (I trust him too, but don’t trust him to be nice.) Anyway, Korean ladies on the Camino fancy themselves as dawdlers, and have to be watched.
The town’s Church of Santiago is celebrated for the carvings on its twelfth century facade.
To leave the town one crosses the Carrión River.
Before the city limits is the Monastery of San Zoilo, now a hotel, I think. It dates from the eleventh century, but this splendid facade was added, obviously, in a much later age.