After spending the night in the beautiful town of Carrión de los Condes, today we can expect a simple stage, with hardly any towns. An idyllic environment where you can get lost in meditation.
Let’s continue on the French Way!
Today’s stage isn’t long, although it may seem like it to the pilgrim, given the more than ten kilometres that we will travel without finding any towns along the way.
Once again, the endless straight lines surrounded by grain fields will dominate the stage. The difference today is that the path runs along an old Roman road, the Vía Aquitania itself. Today’s stage ends in Calzadilla de la Cueza, where another fascinating legend on the Camino de Santiago awaits us, the legend of the goose that laid the golden eggs.
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Itinerary stage Carrión de los Condes – Calzadilla de la Cueza
Today’s itinerary is flat and mostly follows dirt trails surrounded by grain.
Carrion de los Condes (Km. 0). Beginning of stage
Practical tips for this stage: It is important to not leave the town of Carrión de los Condes without having had a hearty breakfast and without checking our water supply. More than ten kilometres of solitude separates us from the next town, although sometimes a few street bars are set up between Easter and October. However, it’s always good to be adequately prepared for this desolate section. Buen Camino!
We leave Carrión de los Condes on José Antonio street, followed by Esteban Collantes street and Piña Blasco street. We then reach the Carrión River and pass by the San Zoilo monastery. We continue along the street and stumble upon the N-120 road, which we carefully cross to then take the road that heads to Villotilla (km 2).
After walking for three kilometres, we find the remains of the abbey of Benevívere on the right (km 4.8), and 800 metres ahead, we get off the road to get onto the Vía Aquitana, which still preserves part of its original layout (km 5.6).
Almost two and a half kilometres later, we pass a stone sign that marks the passage of the Cañada Real Leonesa (km 12.4), one of the long-distance routes in Spain used by transhumant herders to take livestock from León to Extremadura, and vice versa, in search of the best pastures.
Continuing along the Jacobean route for more than four kilometres, we finally find Calzadilla de la Cueza, where we can find basic services (hostel, pilgrim shelter and restaurant), all in the same place. Here we can visit the church of San Martín Obispo.
Calzadilla de la Cueza (Km. 17). End of stage
Practical tips for this section: Since this section of the French Way has very few towns, we haven’t had the chance yet to see how the locals live, so take advantage of this opportunity of sleeping in Calzadilla de la Cueza and Legidos. Any place you decide to visit will give you a better look at life in these two small towns. See you tomorrow!
The only bar here is at one end of the town. So to continue on our way, we will need to go around the town to main street, which will take us to the N-120 road. Following the road, we reach the Cueza River, which we cross and continue along the Jacobean route on a walkway that runs parallel to it.
Comments stage Carrión de los Condes – Calzadilla de la Cueza
Except for the initial section, which has no services or amenities whatsoever, today’s stage has no major difficulties. We will only encounter a few small towns along the way, but there is good food to be found in them, so don’t miss out on our culinary recommendations.
Precautions stage Carrion de los Condes – Calzadilla de la Cueza
It’s important to start out on today’s journey after having had a good breakfast in Carrión de los Condes and filling up our water bottles. If you are doing the French Way in high season, you are likely to find a street vendor along the way, but it’s never a sure thing so make sure to bring enough water.
Today’s route crosses the N-120 road several times, although this section does not have a lot of traffic. This is the national road, so as always, you must be very careful when crossing it.
For those who are doing this stretch by bicycle, it will be an extremely easy stage to complete. Its flat terrain will make it easy for you to pick up speed. However, in some seasons, the Vía Aquitana becomes pretty muddy, in which case both cyclists and people with mobility problems should follow the shoulder of the N-120 from Carrión de los Condes.
Food stage Carrion de los Condes – Calzadilla de la Cueza
Even though there are only a few towns along the way, this stage still has interesting food to try. Make sure to do so!
- Crab stew
- Quail in a vinaigrette sauce
- Hare and mushrooms
- Venison served with mushrooms
- Dishes made with squab
- “Rosquillas de Terradillos” pastries
Services stage Carrión de los Condes – Calzadilla de la Cueza
Consult the main health care services, cafes, ATMs, restaurants and are in this stage of the French Way.
Map stage Carrión de los Condes – Calzadilla de la Cueza
Consult the map with the route, points and towns along the stage.
Profile stage Carrión de los Condes – Calzadilla de la Cueza
Consult the profile of the stage: altitude and degree of difficulty of each section.
What to do stage Carrión de los Condes – Calzadilla de la Cueza
Although the stage doesn’t have many towns along the way, it’s always important to know a little bit about each of the places that we will be passing through. Below, we’ve provided details on each of them.
Remains of the Abbey of Benevívere
The abbey of Santa María de Benevívere is located between Carrión de los Condes and Calzadilla de la Cueza. It was built in 1161 and was the property of the nobleman Diego Martínez de Villamayor, the butler for Alfonso VIII. However, before the building was completed, Alfonso VIII passed away and it was his brother, Rodrigo, who took over the construction work that didn’t end up being finished until the 13th century.
The bishops of San Agustín founded the Order of Santa María de Benevívere in the 12th century. At this time, the abbey had six priories, among which we can highlight the one of San Martín de Pereda, in León.
After the Confiscation, the abbey was taken apart and turned into a quarry. Its decoration and works of art were moved to several buildings in Carrión de los Condes and its surrounding areas, which made it possible to preserve the rich heritage of the abbey. In the church of Santo Tomás de Villotilla, there are two stone sculptures that have been preserved. One of John the Baptist, from the 16th century, and another of the Assumption of Mary, from the 18th century.
The altarpiece and a crucified Christ were moved to the hermitage of La Cruz de Carrión de los Condes, while the ashlar masonry, a grate and the altarpiece of the relics were moved to the church of San Andrés Apóstol, in the same town. Lastly, the sepulchres that were located in the abbey can be found in the archaeological museum of Palencia.
Calzadilla de la Cueza
Calzadilla de la Cueza is a town that belongs to the municipality of Cervatos de la Cueza. Close to 50 people live in the village.
The place name of the town is composed of the word “Calzadilla” (diminutive of the word for ‘road’ in Spanish), which makes reference to the Roman road that runs through its territory. On the other hand, “Cueza” is believed to have come from Germanic and refers to the basins where water is collected.
In the town, you can visit the church of San Martín Obispo and the remains from the demolition of the monastery of Santa María de las Tiendas.
Church of San Martín Obispo
The church of San Martín Obispo was built in the town of Calzadilla de la Cueza in the Middle Ages. However, the temple does not have a style from that time, due to the various restorations it has been subjected to throughout history.
Its structure is formed by three naves and a transept, which is covered by a dome. It is accessed by a rounded doorway. Inside there is a Renaissance altarpiece from the 16th century, made by the school of Juan de Juni.
The altarpiece comes from Santa María de las Tiendas, a great abbey and hospital of the knights of the Order of Santiago. The name, Santa María de las Tiendas, refers to the cloth tents that were placed to accommodate the pilgrims. The only thing left over from both the monastery of Santa María de las Tiendas and the hospital are the ruins from their demolition.
Hours: From July 1st to September 11th, it closes on Mondays. It opens from Tuesday to Sunday (from 11:00 am to 2:00 pm, and from 5:00 pm to 8:00 pm).
The municipality of Ledigos extends over an area of 28 square kilometres and has a population of 67 inhabitants. In the village you can visit the parish church of Santiago and the dovecotes, which are characteristic of this region.
Church of Santiago
The church of Santiago in Ledigos is located on the side of a hill, along the route of the French Way. From the temple, you can enjoy beautiful views of the village.
The church worships the three images of the apostle Saint James; one as a pilgrim, another with the garments of an apostle, and a third dedicated to the figure of Saint James Matamoros. The temple was restored during the 17th century, giving it its current appearance.
Its structure is formed by a single nave with arched vaults and is covered by a dome and the belfry, which are both much more modern elements made of brick.
Hours: Closed on Mondays. From Tuesday to Sunday (from 11:00 am to 2:00 pm, and from 5:00 pm to 8:00 pm).
Terradillos de los Templarios
The town of Terradillos de los Templarios belongs to the municipality of Lagartos. The town has around 70 inhabitants.
The place name of the town is associated with the Temple, which was owned by the Knights Templar. This order was founded in the 12th century, after the first crusade. In the town we can visit the church of San Pedro.
Church of San Pedro
The church of San Pedro is located in Terradillos de los Templarios. The temple is formed by a single nave and a triumphal rounded arch that precedes the presbytery. Inside, there is a crucifix from the 14th century and the main altarpiece from the 17th century.
Hours: From July 1st to September 11th it closes on Mondays. It opens from Tuesdays to Sunday (from 11:00 am to 2:00 pm, and from 5:00 pm to 8:00 pm).
Mass hours: Holidays (12:30 pm).
Legend of the Goose that Laid the Golden Eggs
According to the legend of Terradillos de los Templarios, every year in this town, the priest of the now defunct parish of San Esteban carried a golden egg to Santiago. One day, the order of Santiago informed the parish priest that they did not want a single golden egg, instead they wanted the entire goose.
The priest, together with the Knights Templar, decided to bury the goose in order to prevent it from being taken out of the town and brought to Santiago. Locals claim that the goose is buried on the hill of Torbosillo, near the town, in the place where the now demolished San Juan pilgrims hospital was once located.
The hill where the remains of this beloved animal are found can be seen by the pilgrim if they look to the right when making their way to Terradillos de los Templarios.
There are numerous versions of this legend, which have taken place in different places around the world, although many insist that its origin comes from this small town.