Left by 6.05am and caught the sunrise about 40 minutes later. We’re able to do about 10 Kms within the first couple of hours and that really helps!
We reach Terradillos de los Templarios, which was the jurisdictional place of the Order of the Temple. The church and the houses are all brick, like we noticed in Calzadilla de la Cueza. We’ll see more architecture like this over the next few days.
The Mudejar style, resulting from Jewish, Muslim and Christian cultures living side by side, emerged as an architectural style in the 12th century on the Iberian peninsula. It is characterised by the use of brick as the main material. Mudejar did not involve the creation of new shapes or structures (like Gothic or Romanesque), but reinterpreting Western styles through Muslim influences. It is accepted that the Mudejar style was born in Toledo, as an adaptation of architectural and ornamental motifs (especially through decoration with plasterwork and brick). Mudejar extended northwards (Leon, Ávila, Segovia, etc.) giving rise to what has been called ‘brick Romanesque’. Centres of Mudejar art are found in other cities, like Sahagún, Toro, Cuéllar, Arévalo and Madrigal de las Altas Torres. (Spain.info)
We stop for breakfast a few Kms later in Moratinos. It’s a dusty brown town and all that’s missing is some horses and cowboys! There’s a little mound across from the cafe we’re at. John takes a walk up to the mound to see it’s a bodega, where wine was stored in the past and there’s a nice piece of history there!
We cross over from the province of Palencia to Leon. It’s another 7 Kms to Sahagun. Just as we see the town and we’re heading towards it, there’s a diversion in the Camino path. About 3.5 Kms short of Sahagun we walk to a spot to mark the halfway mark on the Camino Frances! We’re half way to Santiago!
Then, it’s a strenuous final dusty stretch under the sun into Sahagun! As we enter the town we see the sign for a bull ring and the sidewalks have barricades, the kinds we’ve seen only in photos of Pamplona. We pass the church and there seems to be mass starting in a bit and the church seems full. Puzzled, we head straight to our apartment for the night. We let ourselves in (she gave directions on Booking.com) and settled into our beautiful room in the apartment.
After a bath we head out to the town square for lunch. We’re hungry and order the biggest burger and beer!
Across from our apartment, there’s a kids activity on, an introduction to bull fighting. We see posters for a five day festival. When we get back after lunch, we meet the apartment owner who gives us the festival pamphlet. There’s a bull run at 7pm and the final event of the festival in the bull ring at 8pm. That’s exciting! Never thought we’d get to see this Spanish tradition!
After a short nap we head to the local laundry to wash and dry our possessions.
After putting everything away at the apartment we head to the streets to watch the festivities.
The bulls are transported to the end of town.
We then watch them run up the streets, with young men running in front of them. They enter the stadium and the stage is set for some innocent play.
After the ground is wet to keep the dust settled, bulls are sent in one at a time. Youngsters from different teams pretend to taunt the bull and the bull pretends to chase them. After many rounds of this play and about 5 bulls that come in and out, we exit the stadium to get a stamp on our pilgrim passports from the main pilgrim centre in the town. It’s almost closing time so she stamps our passports but can’t give us our half way certificates. We’re going all the way, so that doesn’t matter!
We head back to the town square where the festivities have moved to. Just before this, at the end of the festivities at the bull ring, flags of the different teams were folded and taken for safe keeping to the local church, to be taken out again next June!
A lovely action packed day compared to our usually calm and boring evenings! Exhausted we fall into bed! We’re thankful for the coincidences – that we booked to stay in Sahagun and we made it to the last day of the festival!