Stage 12 – Medina de Rioseco to Villalón de Campos, 29.4 km

May I just say that the clever nuns at the Convento Clarisas have designed the albergue bathroom facilities to perfection. We don’t want state of the art facilities that can only be used by one person at a time. What good is that when there are 6 plus pilgrims jiggling around whilst some thoughtless person spends forever with their ablutions? The convent bathroom consisted of a central area with a washbasin and on one side were two lavatories and on the other side two showers. Well done the nuns!

We made a fairly leisurely exit this morning as the albergue we were heading for doesn’t open until 15:00. We girls stopped for breakfast and then set off through the absolutely beautiful town of Medina de Rioseco towards the canal. What a treat we had in store. Almost 10 km walking along the tow path. The trees planted all along both banks leaned towards each other giving the effect of a guard of honour. The paths and the water were covered in fluffy seeds from the trees and formed a snowy carpet for us to walk on. Every now and then there was a sluice gate that fed the irrigation channels that watered the crops on either side of the canal. The birds were singing their hearts out and I made very slow progress stopping every few minutes to take photos. It was absolutely delightful.

We eventually reached a lock where there was a huge ruin with the water flowing at various speeds in various directions. So interesting and so magical.

We then continued a further 3 km along rough track to the first village of Tamariz de Campos where our guide told us we would find a ‘friendly’ bar. No such luck. They weren’t feeling so friendly in the mornings and didn’t open until 13:00, so we stopped off under the shady veranda of a municipal building for a boots-off break.

We then had a slog of 10 km along the road. A narrow road with no shoulder, but I only counted around half a dozen cars that passed us. I plugged in, first to a comedy programme (The Frank Skinner Show – always good for a giggle) and then to my energising camino playlist. Now listen up – I can only advise you to do as I say, and not as I do. Do not use ear phones whilst walking on the road. It is extremely dangerous if you cannot hear what traffic is approaching. On this occasion I made an appraisal and decided I would be safe enough walking along a straight road, facing the traffic when I could see for miles, but I couldn’t recommend that anyone else follows my very bad example.

There was an alternative route along, what I assume, is a stony track. But however much I don’t like road walking, an extended period on stony track can be very uncomfortable and slow going, I made great time along the road marching in time to my music – a pace of between 6 & 7 km per hour…I wouldn’t have done that hobbling over stones!

The next village was Cuenca de Campos. What a beautiful village with overhanging buildings and many structures made of adobe, some in ruins and some faithfully restored. I love these villages. There is no way I can imagine taking in all this history and culture, other than walking through the countryside. The albergue in Cuenca de Campos looked huge, way oversized for the few pilgrims currently passing through this route.

Eli and Paul ordered a menu del dia. Marilyn walked on by without spying the restaurant where we had stopped. I decided not to indulge in a menu as I still had 5+ km to walk and didn’t want to do it again with a full stomach. So I ordered what I considered to be a ‘healthy’ option – a starter of cauliflower cooked with garlic and spice. It turned out not to be so healthy – swimming in oil and so over cooked that I could have sucked it through a straw. I was very jealous of Paul’s leg of lamb, but left them to it and continued on, this time along a fine gravelled former train line. Comfortable walking. Fine gravel is good and soft underfoot, stony tracks not so, with much twisting of ankles and stones digging into the balls of one’s feet.

I finally reached Villalón de Campos after the 15:00 opening hour. Marilyn had already arrived, as had Spanish guy from yesterday. Villalón is a fair sized town and the walk to the albergue felt as though I was being sent in ever decreasing circles, on and on through the streets.

But the albergue, when I finally reached it, was worth the effort. Beds for 14, good bathroom with two showers, two basins and one loo, excellent sitting/dining area and very good kitchen. 5 euros, including sheet and pillowcase, but no wifi and the phone signal inside the albergue was poor, hence late posting of this report.

Today’s distance 29.4 km
Accumulated uphill elevation 39 m
Accumulated downhill elevation 4 m
Total distance 310 km
Average per day 25.8 km

About magwood

Trepidatious Traveller - camino blog is about preparing for and walking the Camino de Santiago. Many future pilgrims have found the blog useful and inspiring, and many who have no plans to walk the camino have simply enjoyed the dialogue
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22 Responses to Stage 12 – Medina de Rioseco to Villalón de Campos, 29.4 km

  1. Peter says:

    I am enjoying the daily read Maggie, it is a pleasure to virtually join you on this Camino this way and makes me look forward even more to my next week on the Camino in mid June.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Henk Slabbekoorn says:

    Wow! What a beautiful canal! Reminds me of the Canal du Midi in France, but this one seems to be more intimate.


  3. JoAl says:

    Yes a grand day indeed. Did you meet Paco? I hope you stay at Grajal de Campos. A monumental alberque and former palace. Brand new everything and beds still in plastic covers. The closest bar has good food too.


    • magwood says:

      Apparently Paul and Marilyn were instructed to address him as ‘Señor Paco’! He seemed very accommodating. Loved the sheet and pillowcase.


  4. I’ve been following your travels again Maggie. Every morning I look forward to the accounting of your day and your many wonderful photos. You are giving me the bug again and I would love one day to walk with you, if just for a little time. The albergues on this route look pretty good. Are you challenging yourself again to spend $1 for every km walked? I think that’s how you did it once. Buen Camino dear woman!


    • magwood says:

      Hey Sandy, lovely to hear from you. I like to spread the Camino Bug around far and wide! I have not been counting my expenditure on this route, but it has been very low – excellent albergue mostly around 5 or 6 euros. Let’s make a date for the next camino!


  5. Sally says:

    Fabulous again Maggie. You write so descriptively we could almost be there x


  6. Dave says:

    Great seeing where you all are and see you are all having a fun time. In Mansilla de las Mulas tonight. Planning a short day in Leon tomorrow to rest a bit before starting the Salvador. Trying to plan the walk to coincide with good weather – not easy!


    • magwood says:

      Are you still with Carsten? I doubt we’ll catch up with you – but who knows.


      • Dave says:

        Carsten and Ralf stayed in Santervas when I pushed on to Grajal. They were talking about getting a bus the next day to the Camino del Norte but who knows?


  7. oh I so loved reading this!!! I am so excited for my Camino in September. I’ll be walking the Portugese Coastal Route and hope to see as many amazing places as you have seen. Your photos are terrific and your descriptions perfect. Thank you for igniting my excitement……I’m counting the days 🙂 Buen Camino


  8. Sue Lyons says:

    Love your blog, so descriptive and great photos, you’re sounding very upbeat..must be the music 😉


  9. 14 beds one loo. that’s unbelievable. How do they get away with it? Your daily blog is a daily delight. Your enjoyment of having company is obvious such a change from last years!


  10. lynharrison4wind says:

    David, Maggie’s superbly evocative description of walking the beautiful canal tow path has given me an idea. How about a canal boat trip? You and JK in charge of the boat and food and Maggie and I walk, rucksack free and plied with G&T and agua caliente on tap! Best of both worlds?


  11. George Gosling says:

    Hi Maggie, just to say hello, sounds as if you are having a great time.
    Poor George


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