Just in case the posting about FUD should give a wrong impression:
That’s gradient: some sapping, long, not very steep ascents but mostly very flat. This “high meseta”, today at least, hasn’t been at all what I’d expected. It’s mostly huge fields. I got away just after 08.30 and the early departure is vital now. At first I thought the cloud cover had forsaken me but the clear blue was replaced with thicker cirrhus than yesterday, in bands, and that helped keep the temperature down again. The early landscape seemed pretty bare. Here’s the better part of a 360° panorama I think about 15km west of Burgos.
The road was fiendishly busy, a car would go past, one way or the other, every five minutes or so and later it was positively Piccadilly Circus as I found myself being overtaken by a mutitude of Spanish men on pretty posh bikes in lurid lycra. No, not the Vuelta a España (should there be a grave on that “a”?), just a local group out for a Sunday spin and there were cheery shouts to me of “Ba” (what does that mean? I think it’s a greeting in Spanish but perhaps I’m fooling myself.) “Hola”, “Buenas dias” and “Buen Camino” and, perhaps just as welcome to me, sometimes just a fellow grunt conveying that quite enough hard work was being done by both of us to dispense with all that verbal fancy stuff.
Later, all on my own again, and I realised I had to cut cross country from my beloved N-120 if I wasn’t to miss Frómista, said to have the most perfect Romanesque church in the world. That took me past another small church and I saw the East end approaching and thought “Ugh, that’s a horrid 20th C mess of a wall”, to find this from the South:
That is just beautiful but I had a long way still to go and doubted if I could get in so I cycled on through this, which shall be nameless. This is looking fowards into the “Poligonal industrial” which hasn’t really materialised. That was my cross-country road ahead.
And this was looking backwards:
I don’t think you can see but there are two nice sidewalk seats there but what optimism put them there? Was this a film set from a post-Acopalytic movie? No, I’m sure it’s just stalled town planning optimism.
Then I found the church at Frómista:
OK. That is a movie set, well, a model of how it looked at the end of the 19th C when, thank goodness, it was rescued and the plans to destroy the crossing, thought to be the structural problem, were thwarted. These ‘photos don’t do it justice but it is a jewel.
Very unusual double Western towers:
Superb East end:
And glorious too inside.
As I refilled my water bottles (by now it was roasting) I took note of the pump/tap:
Is that really suggesting that there in Palencia (the region, and no, the “P” is not a typo), they have accepted a gift that I think came from a UK rotary club and from the French town of Bourges, not just the whole town but its Western bit? And all in 1999? Or is just another tease like those seats by the road 15km back in the middle of nowhere?
I was so lifted by all this, and a small beer, middling tapas and a café cortado that I knew I could add the 19km to Carrión de los Cordes (which ought, surely, to me “carrion of the crows” but doesn’t). I might even do 58km to Sahagún. Well “yes” and “no” respectively and I have ticked off 93km and Carrión de los Cordes has yet more sensational Romanesque churches. I think about five and two monasteries and it’s a very small town now, and it got me looking up “Christ Pantokrator” most usefully as it has a superb one. But that’ll all have to wait for another day as I need sleep if I’m to make it to León tomorrow, perhaps, but not very likely I think, to Astorga. Either would really pretty much clinch it that I would be on course to make Santiago barring disasters, which, of course, you never can. Such is FUD!