Camino Trip Notes: Stage 20 (Terradillos de los Templarios to Sahagun)

Friday, May 6, 2016

Distance: 26.9 km

8:45 – I’m leaving Terradillos de los Templarios with a significantly lighter wallet but one change of very clean and very dry clothes. In the grand scheme of things it’s not a big deal but it’s something I think about while walking.  Not posting the price and then charging Ritz Carlton prices just isn’t very Camino-like.

9:46 – There aren’t many distractions in the formerly Muslim town of Moratinos but I stop for a coffee and fresh orange juice served with a side of wifi.

10:41 – Did I really need to read the entire Globe & Mail?  Better yet, did I really need to see the Weather Network forecast for the next week?

“Even after the wars between the Moors and Christians in many places Christians, Jews, and Muslims lived for long periods together without many problems.  However in the 1560’s, after all Jews had been killed or expelled from Spain, Muslims were forced to convert to Catholicism. This obviously caused problems and many Muslims were expelled from various regions in Spain. Eventually the Church and monarchy considered them so much of a threat that all were expelled from the Iberian Peninsula in 1609.” –

11:50 – The next town of any significance (and I use the term lightly) is San Nicolas del Real Camino. The Knights Templar owned the town until 1183 when they traded it to the Leafs for a 4th round draft pick. Actually, it was traded for a large tract of undeveloped land in another region of Spain.  I’m sure that worked out okay for them.

12:55 – The bridge over Rio Valderaduey is considered by the Spanish to be the halfway point on the Camino Frances. And it is if you only count the Spanish section of the Camino Frances, between Roncesvalles and Santiago de Compostela.  Those who started in France, like I did, are well past the halfway mark at this point.

13:28 – I’ve been walking in a light, misty rain for most of the day but now the clouds are getting much darker and I hear thunder rolling ominously in the distance.  

The town of Sahagun is about 8km short of my goal for today but I have decided to stay there for the night and get back on track over the next two days. 

16:42 – I’m sure Sahagun is a fine community and a great place to raise kids but bright and cheery and welcoming it is not.  Everywhere I look, I see a Sean Yelland painting: dull, dreary, nondescript.  It’s never quite obvious whether a building is occupied or abandoned.  The life seems to have been sucked out of Sahagun.

Even the dogs running loose on the street were a little vacant. This one barked incessantly at a bird but stood and stared in silence as I passed within a few meters. He wasn’t aggressive or menacing but he didn’t wag his tail either.

20:30 – The Pilgrim Dinner at the Hospederia de las Madres Benedictinas consists of bland paella, one fatty porkchop, seven French fries and a tiny bowl of flan. I’ll consider myself lucky as the Monks who once lived here probably didn’t get the flan.  

20:50 – The entire building is freezing and the lady running the place says the boiler has been turned off for the season and it will only get colder this evening.  I finish dinner and have a long, hot shower before climbing into bed.

21:50 – A woman knocks at my door and asks that I turn off the light in my bathroom. Why does she care? How does she even know it’s on? I don’t want to make waves so I do as she asks. 

21:55 – I don’t know how I missed it when I had my shower but there’s a large window looking into the adjoining room and it’s at chest level in my shower. That’ll teach me for taking my glasses off in the shower! 

“Sahagun takes its name from as the place where Saint Facundo and Saint Primitivo were martyred after being betrayed as Christians during the years of persecution under Roman rule.

There was a monastery dedicated to the two saints as far back as the 9th century, which was razed to the ground by Moors, rebuilt, razed again, and once again rebuilt – such is the history of Northern Spain.” –

9 Responses to “Camino Trip Notes: Stage 20 (Terradillos de los Templarios to Sahagun)”

  1. Grant Reimer

    After crossing that medieval bridge at the halfway mark of The Camino Frances we heard some hauntingly beautiful singing coming out of the deserted little chapel. Hoping that perhaps we had encountered some ghostly nuns, we peered through a window to see that an Austalian pilgrim with operatic training had found an open window on the other side of the chapel and was testing out the acoustics.
    Don’t despair Mike. Sahagun may be bleak but I think Gallicia is the most beautiful part of the Camino.

    • 100Saturdays

      I got into Leon about two hours ago and so far I’ve had sizzling prawns in garlic butter, 3 small glasses of beer, and despite EVERY single hotel on Expedia showing as full, I got a great room at a great price at the first place I tried. I’m liking Leon already, Grant.

  2. Grant Reimer

    Leon was the other place I made sure to go back to last fall when I visited Galicia again. Don’t miss the cathedral’s stained glass.
    (My shameful secret is a bus trip to the outskirts of Leon before starting to walk again.) (and we weren’t alone…)

  3. Grant Reimer

    Took the bus to la Virgen del Camino and started walking again. At Hospital de Órbigo, you might try and find the little albergue in the old mill straddling the Rio Órbigo – one of my favourites – the owners who renovated the mill are fantastic.

    • 100Saturdays

      I’ll look for that albergue. In the meantime I’m resisting the urge to hop on a bus, as did about half the people from the hostel in Las Mulas. There were very few walking into Leon this morning! I may break down yet but I’m sure I’m good for at least another week and will try to make it to Finistere on foot.

  4. Grant Reimer

    I have to commend you for your dedication. The trek from the old city of Leon to Virgen is pretty industrial and all on pavement…

      • Grant Reimer

        Ha ha Your boots may be shot but you’ll be very well informed…

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