To Frómista - The Seven Year Itch - CycleBlaze

May 10, 2024

To Frómista

We have really enjoyed our two night stay at Apartment Hotel Colón 27, but this morning my warm feelings for the place cool a bit when I find the elevator locked on my way down to check out.  The woman servicing the room next door shakes her head when I give her an inquiring glance, so the knees and I reluctantly and slowly work my way down the two flights of stairs to the registration desk.

I feel badly for feeling badly toward the establishment though when the manager apologizes to us in her fluent English.  There’s been a mishap this morning, and one of the cleaning carts rammed into the elevator door and put it out of commission until a repairman arrives to undo the damage.  Mistakes happen, can’t fault them for that!

Unfortunately, there are still the two bikes in the basement to be transported up.  The manager escorts me down to the room they’re locked into, and I’m just about to shoulder my bike for the climb when a different service worker rushes up and grabs it from me.  She’s very strong, the manager tells me when I start to protest, so I let her have it and pick up Rachael’s instead.  I’m halfway up with Rachael’s when she’s back and grabs that one from me too.

A few minutes later we’re on the street enjoying a last look at the school children bouncing across the playground, looking delightfully cute in their sharp school uniforms.  And then we’re off.

Everyone’s favorite sound.
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Patrick O'Hara"The woman servicing the room next door shakes her head when I give her an inquiring glance, so the knees and I reluctantly and slowly work my way down the two flights of stairs to the registration desk." Great sentence.
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5 days ago

With only ten days left in Spain, there’s still time enough for one last shift in the weather before we leave.  And one is coming: there’s what looks like a three or four day damp spell coming, but it’s not here yet.  Today is ideal for biking - comfortably cool when we start out, nearly windless, and sunny.

Leaving Palencia.
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And easy.  The first ten miles are a lazy, gradual climb that gains all of about 500 feet, briefly levels off, and then drops us into a V-shaped trough that drops into a narrow arroyo and then back out again.  Climbing back out is the only climb of the day that registers on our Garmins, and there’s not much to it.

And quiet.  And scenic.  Really, a pretty ideal day and place to be out on a bike.

I stopped here to get a photo of Rachael starting in on what I think is the climb to the first summit, but it’s a false one - the real summit is about as far again up as this, hiding around the corner. It’s pretty insignificant though, about 2-3%; and in spite of how it looks here we almost have the road to ourselves. Somehow they all bunched up just as I’m stopped for the shot.
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A last look back at Placencia.
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Well, I guess there was more traffic here than I remembered. There’s another car again! With this shoulder we don’t mind though.
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Making progress, we pass through a village about halfway to the high point of the day.
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The province of Palencia is recognized for having one of the best surviving collections of Romanesque churches in Europe. Every significant village seems to have one. This one in Villajimena is the church of Santa Eulalia, from the 11th-12th centuries.
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Another look at Villajimena before I get back on the bike and try to catch up with partner again.
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Just past Villajimena we leave the madhouse of P-405 and all its crazy traffic and branch off to the much calmer P-430.  We’ve lost our shoulder now but it’s of no concern because we have the road pretty much to ourselves the rest of the way.  Rachael’s waiting for me at the junction so she can grab some video of the descent into the arroyo and then we slow down for the climb out the other side.   

I can see that she’s not all that far ahead yet. I can afford to stop for a shot of this grand oak.
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We’re 18k from somewhere.
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Over the final summit, and enjoying that we’re frequently finding poppies lining our road now.
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The next seven miles are a stunning visual delight.  Rachael’s waiting for me at this second summit to include me in some more video footage, but it’s not long before I have to stop again as we drop through some of the prettiest miles of the tour.

Over the top, were high enough up and far enough north that we get our first views of the Cantabrian Mountains. They’ll steadily grow larger and more defined over the next few days.
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As often happens, I declare to Rachael that that’s our town ahead. But as also often happens, I’m wrong again. That’s Támara de Campos. Our town, Frómista, is another three or four miles further on and not visible yet.
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Fantastic terrain. The photos don’t do it justice.
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They don’t really capture the rippling reddish sheen of the fields, for one thing. Maybe the video will give a better feel for it.
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An interesting ruin.
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Still approaching Támara de Campos.
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Támara de Campos has another evocative Romanesque church, this one San Hipolito’s.
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Frómista‘s a small town, though the largest one for a few miles in any direction.  There’s a selection of casual eateries clustered in the center, not surprisingly since this is a major stop on the French Camino.  While Rachael’s checking out menus I take a walk around and through the Church of San Martin, one of the two Romanesque churches in town.  It’s very clean and tidy, the result of a fairly recent restoration.  I take a brief look inside, just long enough for a shot for  Keith Adams of another Romanesque apse ceiling to show him that it’s normal for them to be bare and unadorned.

Saint Martin of Tours church was built in the 11th century, but doesn’t look like it.
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For Keith.
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Keith AdamsThanks for remembering.
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1 week ago

Video sound track: Adrift, by Yasmin Williams

We’re seated for lunch right at 1:30, just as lunch service is beginning.  There’s one lone peregrinista seated when we arrive, but as we eat others steadily enter and take their tables.  This is a common sight here and we’ll see dozens more arriving and leaving while we’re here, some on foot and some on bike.

We check ourselves into our room at the fairly modern Hotel Rural Oasibeth and after an hour or so we’re both off again to look at the Canal de Castillo, something you’ll want to come back for and see yourself after the break.

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Today's ride: 24 miles (39 km)
Total: 1,423 miles (2,290 km)

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