Going Down to Palencia, Then Up to Sahagun Via the Train

The sun was just showing its face as we arrived at the Fromista train station.

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20120920-175353.jpg We planned to reduce some of the Meseta by taking the train to Palencia and then catching a connecting train to the town of Sahagun there by reducing two and a half days of walking time or approximately 60 kms. The missed days involved walking over 25 kms per day over long stretches with no water or food cafes and in very hot 30+ temperatures. We were joined on our train ride to Palencia by Katrina from Sweden who was running out of time and wanted to make sure she had ample time to complete the latter stages and get her certificate in Santiago.
We were crossing a park looking for a cafe open at 9 am in the morning. A woman stopped and asked us if we were Peregrinos. We said yes and were just spending a few hours in Palencia before catching a train to Sahagun. She said that today was a special day in Palencia as there was a celebration commemorating the oldest university in Spain founded in 1212. She also told us to go see the cathedral and pointed us in the correct direction. As we approached the cathedral we could see barriers and numerous police figures walking about. The doors to the cathedral were open and we enjoyed a tour and a chat with a priest enquiring where we were from. The cathedral was beautiful and preparations were being made for the celebration. Just as we exited the cathedral, the doors were closed.

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20120920-184043.jpgUpon exiting the church we noticed more and more of a police presence. We went into a cafe across from the cathedral to watch. They blocked off access to the cathedral by alternating police vehicles in the street.

20120920-184416.jpgI think they were anticipating student riots as just as we were leaving, a group of students were setting off firecrackers and there was some demonstrating about education being a right for all.

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The train ride to Sahagun reminded me of Saskatchewan prairie. We arrived to a hot 32 degrees. The initial town arose due to the adjacent Benedictine monastery consecrated to the saints Facundus and Primitivus. The name Sahagún is derived from an abbreviation and variation on the name San Fagun (“Saint Facundus”). This town was very important in the eleventh and twelfth centuries when it was famous for wheat, week long open air markets and the Vat of Sahagun, a huge trough of wine. The arch of San Benito was an entry to the Monasterio de San Benito the most powerful Benedictine monastery in Spain, controlling over 100 other monasteries. This is where it’s benefactor Alfonso VI is buried.

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Chris asked two elderly ladies about the arch and from there followed a discussion of visiting the monastery and taking us home to feed us.

20120920-212112.jpgthe Spanish lady is 84 years old

20120920-212226.jpgthe lady with Doreen is 90
Lydia, you would have been proud of your Spanish students. You can tell the class tomorrow that these ladies can hold their own having a conversation with two elderly Spanish ladies. They were a delight! They just about had us going to the monastery for the monks to feed and shelter us.

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Our evening ended with cookies and coffee.

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Lydia, I have another question for you. When we were in Palencia, I took the following picture by a church. Can you tell me who they are and what they are depicting?

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About journeyingjoyously

Mother, ESL mentor, enjoys the beauty of nature, strives to elicit gratitude, joy and bliss day by day while on the adventure of being human.
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3 Responses to Going Down to Palencia, Then Up to Sahagun Via the Train

  1. Lydia says:

    So glad that Chris and Doreen are following in my footsteps, talking to the local people and asking for information. I’m certainly proud of them. The statues in your photos are known as penitents. They are members of religious associations (cofradías) that throughout the year care for the images of Christ and Mary that are used in the processions in Holy Week. During the processions they walk alongside the images, taking turns to carry the very heavy images on their shoulders in groups.

  2. Such sunfilled pictures–a lovely walk through your day.

  3. If you want to read more about the Holy Week and the origins of the hooded robes: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Holy_Week_in_Spain.

    Funny isn’t it how it’s so similar to what some (lesser revered) types wear in America’s deep south? I wonder why they chose to lift this garment for their use…

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