one of my favorite hotels was in the town of Frómista — memory foam beds and a vegetarian menu del peregrino!! if you ever find yourself there, might I recommend the Hotel Doña Mayor? you could tell them that I sent you but I don’t think it’ll mean much.

Frómista was the first town in the region of Palencia (the second of three provinces of Castilla y León through which we walked) in which we stayed. it’s located at the heart of one of the richest grain-growing areas in Iberia and its name likely derives from the Latin word for cereal. initially settled by Celts, Celtiberos later farmed it, the Romans established a farming community, and the Visigoths retained it as a town. while Muslims destroyed the town, they didn’t deem it worthy of developing a settlement as, sitting smack in the middle of flat farm terrain, it didn’t offer much in the way of defense.

in the 11th century, the doña Mayor, countess of Castilla and wife of Sancho III, invested in repopulating Frómista; a century later doña Urraca donated the entire village to the Cluiac Benedictines of Carrion de los Condes and for 300 years Carrion controlled the monastery while the town was run by its lords and citizens. in the 14th century, while the Jewish population of Frómista escaped persecution, Jews from the surrounding area swelled the city’s population and helped it thrive as a market town for many years. that ended, however, when the town expelled Jews in 1492 and the synagogue in the formerly-Jewish neighborhood was converted into a church. population dropped dramatically — from around 1,000 households before expulsion of the Jews to barely 500 by the end of the 16th century.

one of the most impressive sights along the walk from over the meseta from Castrojeriz to Frómista is the canal system. started in the 18th century, the extensive system of canals took over 50 years to complete and reversed the areas economic decline by improving irrigation, allowing faster transportation of grains and by powering corn mills. we walked along the canal from Boadilla del Camino to Frómista and had to cross over a lock to enter the town. I wish I had some pictures of them to share but … in light of the stupid horse eating trash and its consequences I haven’t any to share.

Author: Erica

born in the midwest with wandering feet.