I left the hostel in Palencia this morning with not far to go. So I enhanced the day a bit, navigating from icon to icon on the GPS, seeking items of historical interest.
In nearby Fuentes de Valdepero I found Castillo de los Sarmiento, at 15th century castle, lightly renovated (my favorite) and generally open to wandering within. At one point I experienced disappointment in the form of a barrier across one of the passages, only to later find myself on the other side in my wanderings.
Before entering the castle I encountered another cyclist, a bit more itinerant than the usual. I spoke with him for a while, working through his English. He made me a bit nervous, so I bid him goodbye, and then cycled back around to the castle. I left my bicycle in a concealed location so I could wander the castle without wondering whether my bicycle and gear would still be there.
A spectacular find, and not even time for lunch yet. Moving forward to Monzon de Campos, I spotted another spectacular looking castle, far above. After a slow cycle up to it, the front gate was locked, but I could wander the exterior, and have lunch with a scenic view.
From there I almost decided to bypass the Monasterio de Sant Cruz de Ribas, as it required me to cycle back out the same way I cycled in. I’m glad I didn’t. Spotting it from the road, the monastery was a locked-up ruin. Wandering the exterior, I noticed a rock propped up against one wall, and the bars removed from the window above, almost exactly like the entry to Buzludzha last year. Time for some urban exploration.
Clambering through the window, I stood on an altar within the interior. After deciding I could probably make it back up to the altar after some parkour, I descended to the floor below. The interior lay in ruin, with pigeons scattering everywhere from the unexpected intrusion. A rare opportunity to poke my way through an old monastery. Eventually climbing the stairs to the tower, the stairs crumbling beneath my feet. At least some discretion took the better part of valor and I retreated back to the main floor.
Ever closer to my final destination of Fromista, I still had icons on the map, and a string of sucesses. I headed to the next opportunities, even if the direction was “up”. In Palacio del Alcour the cathedral was locked up (really locked up), as was Castillo de la Mata in nearby Astudillo. Castilllo de la Mata is build into the hill, with homes built into the side of the mountain.
Finally headed to Fromista, I encountered a huge basilica in the middle of nowhere. Services appeared to be in progress, so I took a few exterior pictures and wandered on.
Nearing Fromista, I began to encounter other peregrinos. Two cyclists appeared behind me, and I passed a number of others on foot. Arriving in Fromista I quickly found the Albergue de Perigrinos Municipal, and checked in. And that’s how I turn a 30 km cycle ride into a 70 km ride. I need to remember how much fun raw exploration is.
Instead of cycling to meet Sam in Osorno, a small town with little by way of accomodation, Sam’s going to cycle to meet me here in Fromista. Castles nearby tempt exploration tomorrow while I wait for Sam’s arrival tomorrow evening. It’d be nice to do that exploring unloaded. Checkout time is at 8:00 am tomorrow, and I don’t need to go anywhere, so I either need to figure out luggage storage, or switch locales in the morning.