I had a short climb toward Viloria de la Rioja along a secondary road and saw green farmland for kilometers ahead. The Camino markers in Castilla y León were already clearer and more aesthetically pleasing than the majority of the ones in La Rioja. The entrance to Viloria de la Rioja had a sign that stated, “Santiago 576 km.” At that point, the distance seemed so far – almost impossible… From Page 83, Camino de Santiago In 20 Days. Yes, after a week on the Camino De Santiago, 576 Kilometers seemed like a long way to go.
Now, I’ll continue with my journey on the Camino de Santiago in Redecilla del Camino, Castilla y León. Even if you don’t have my book, you can still enjoy this post, and learn more about walking the French Way or Camino Francés (map from Wikipedia Commons). On my last post, On The Camino de Santiago in Spain, Nájera To Redecilla del Camino, I arrived in the village under dark skies. Nothing had changed overnight, and I left the albergue to another cold, wet morning.
Redecilla del Camino was a true Camino town with one main street that ran east-west. The downtown looked as deserted as the previous evening.
The senda or gravel path along the N-120 highway leaving Redecilla del Camino. Another sign showed the city of Burgos which was still a day ahead.
The smaller village of Castildelgado was also very quiet.
Because of the cold and rain, I never looked at this scene closely while I was walking but now, it has me intrigued. On first thought, I would expect this to be the ruins of a home but the portal has me wondering if it was a graveyard. I can’t find any references, and would be interested if anyone knows.
Here, I’m in Castildelgado. It felt like winter, but it was actually the first week in May. I wore my pack cover, rain jacket, poncho, and rain pants with half gaiters for much of the Camino.
The 16th century Church of San Pedro. It was around here that I started to notice the difference in architecture of the churches. The bell gable, or espadaña, was of a different style than the churches earlier on.
Leaving Castildelgado along farmland.
The entrance to Viloria de la Rioja had the aforementioned sign that stated, “Santiago 576 km.”
The Church of San Gil in Viloria de la Rioja.
In many of the hamlets and villages, there were interesting homes that were likely hundreds of years old. Whether it was the faded blue in the first photo, or the vines clinging to the stone in the second. I would have loved to see the vines in bloom.
Back on the senda along the highway and farmland, under really dark skies.
This is the entrance to the ancient town of Belorado.
According to Gitlitz & Davidson on page 163 of The Pilgrimage Road To Santiago, Belorado has been occupied since Roman times. It was in a strategic location because it’s situated in a pass between steep cliffs. A castle, now in ruins, once guarded the town from on top of the hill. Depending on the area, or region, large recycling and garbage bins, such as these, often were placed at the entrance to the towns and villages. Please use them. I also welcomed the information signs with English.
The El Corro District which, according to the adjacent sign, had the first documented market in Spain from 1116 ( I thought it would have been earlier ). In ancient times, Belorado was segregated into distinct districts, depending on race and religion. For a history of the Jews in Belorado, please read this article from the Jewish Encyclopedia.
The 15th century Iglesia de Santa María. I was intrigued not only by the bell gable, but also by the stork nests, and the tan colored hills. It’s very difficult to see in this photo, but there were caves to the left of the church. As I wrote on page 84 of my book, “Caves, once used by hermits, dotted the side of the cliff. One was made into a home, complete, with a door, oak-framed window, and patio.”
I believe these are White Storks. You can find more information on the White Stork in Spain from Iberia Nature.
Except for the odd pilgrim, the streets of downtown Belorado were also very quiet.
The Camino exited the town on a footbridge parallel to this stone bridge over the Río Tirón.
Yes, I’ve included a photo of a Repsol gas station. As I wrote on the bottom of the page 84, “…Repsol and a few others were always a welcome sight. They were open during siesta and had a store with a good selection of energy food at reasonable prices. This station had a washroom on the outside, and I didn’t even have to buy anything. After the joy of relieving myself somewhere that didn’t involve hiding behind a bush, I went into the store and bought a Coke Light to show my appreciation.”
I hope you enjoyed this post. This stretch of the Camino was relatively flat and if you wish, you can make good time. On my next post, On The Camino de Santiago in Spain, Belorado To Villafranca de Montes de Oca, I’ll travel through more farmland and villages, have a memorable visit at the tiny remains of a 9th century monastery, before the climb through the mountains, The Montes de Oca. I even get a little afternoon sun. Please join me.
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