Heading west from Carrión de los Condes, you don’t look for the picturesque. It’s not here. This is a seriously Roman Road. It just connects places.
This part of the Camino is a different kind of experience. The Cartesian line suits the extremes. Meditative types can proceed without distractions, groups who want to sing and chatter without having to fix on much at all can treat it as a pilgrim superpista, if that’s a word. For the common daydreamer and dawdler, it’s not ideal. I would have preferred company or perspective.
Soon the weather helped to occupy my mind.
In these conditions, on the meseta, don’t wait for the weather to arrive before putting on rainwear, pack-covers and the like. The combination of wet and cold can deprive fingers of their simplest functions. A zip or even even a press-stud may be impossible to manage. And if the wind is sending the rain horizontal, you may not even get to the stage of zips and studs.
I know. I found out. Here.
There would be no more photos for that day. Weather forced an early stop in Calzadilla de la Cueza.
Next day, rain and cold made it hard to linger. The intriguingly named Terradillos de los Templarios was passed without investigation. The pilgrim albergue is named for Jacques de Molay. The last Grand Master of the Templars passed through Spain when he was lobbying for reconquest of the Holy Lands. Maybe he stopped here on Templar property? Maybe it’s just a nifty promo.
Pilgrims, especially, like a bit of Templar talk. I try not to indulge. Although you can’t tell me that those ultra-discreet Knights of Malta in their black suits and black cars, their expressionless faces clapped in fat black sunglasses, cruising the streets of hollowed-out Siena, aren’t really Templars….whoops! There I go!
At least I don’t have a theory on the Mayan calendar.
Moratinos was my destination, and a welcome one. A participant in the Santiago forum for English speakers, Rebekah, lives there with her partner Patrick. They have often accommodated pilgrims, though I think that’s been a courteous stop-gap on their part. There is now adequate pilgrim accommodation elsewhere in Moratinos. I dare say they’ll go on being helpful to pilgrims.
Rebekah’s website is called Big Fun in a Tiny Pueblo. There you can also link to “Patrick’s Acerbic Blog”.
Rebekah was away when I stayed, but I spent the night there in Patrick’s company, as well as catching the Barcelona-Arsenal match in a bar in Sahagún. Sadly, it was to be an unexpected win for those ill-bred Gunners.
Another surprise: Patrick, who has been in journalism and publishing, was a friend of the late Jeffrey Bernard. I used to follow Bernard’s column, Low Life, in the Spectator during the nineties. It was an ailing boozer’s own account of his progress toward death. If you are wondering how that might be entertaining, you will wonder even more that the column was the basis for a successful play, Jeffrey Bernard is Unwell. Peter O’Toole first played Bernard, which might give you some clue to the character. This quote from his writing might give further insight:
I have been commissioned to write an autobiography and I would be grateful to any of your readers who could tell me what I was doing between 1960 and 1974.
When I woke the next morning, the meseta had turned as white as Jeffrey Bernard’s complexion.
But this dawdler and pilgrim was far from unwell. My thanks to Patrick and to Rebekah.