Day 12 – Burgos
After a few hours I came across Peter and Morag. We chatted and strolled together for a bit until my knees started to ache. I slowed down for a few kilometers. I caught a second wind and met up with them again when they were have a rest stop near the top of a hill in the shade of a lone tree.
Our intention was to take the southern route into Burgos as the normal route leads you through 10 kilometres of industrial wasteland. Most guide books recommend avoid it by taking the south trail which is just a few kilometers longer but much nicer, or to take a bus from the outskirts of Burgos from the little bedroom community of Villa Fria. Well, we missed the south turnoff and ended up in Villa Fria. We were not to sure where the bus stop would be but Morag, an astute student of history and European culture surmised that it would be by the cultural centre of town; the church. She was right, it was right across the street from the church.
We found it quite strange to be in a motorized vehicle for the first time in almost two weeks. Fortunately the ride was relatively short and we were deposited near city centre. We found our way to the cathedral with the help of Peter’s GPS phone and we separated as I was looking for the albergue and they were going to try for a 2-star hostel or hotel.
The albergue is not too great. It had started to rain while I waited in line and the albergue itself is humid and wet. Really one of the least comfortable albergues I’ve seen. Everything felt damp, and shortly so did all my clothes and gear. I was going to start running out of dry clothes soon. Oh well. Life on the Camino.
I went to the Burgos city centre with Keith, Alex, and Birgit and we had an amazing supper at Restaurante Meson de los Infantes. It was the best meal I have had on the trip so far. Garlic soup with an egg in it and a roast chicken to die for, the obligatory french fries (they get served with everything here) and then cheese drizzled with honey for desert. Then we rolled to the cathedral. I was gobsmacked! I’ve never seen anything like it! It was immense, ornate, and inspiring. I was amazed by the shear devotion and man-hours that went into the building and the artworks. I even saw El Cid’s tomb.
Keith and I then wandered in the rain searching for bank machines. We were wrapped in the two very thin ponchos I had luckily picked up in Belorado, mine was yellow, and Keith’s was orange. This was followed by a few hours shopping for socks, postcards, fruit, bread, ponchos, stamps, and phone cards. Then Keith took me to the old city of Burgos to have a look around. Keith is a right, good mate. We saw some statues of El Cid and I think a Constable.
We started to head back to the albergue by way of the cathedral and stopped to make calls our Sandy and Alice. While hanging around the pay phone, Ellen found us and noted in her wonderful Dublin accent, that we “Look like ****’in condoms!” I like Ellen. 🙂
So we had some wine and beer in a street café with her and Danny (who graciously suggested I call Sandy on her cell phone as my phone card was giving me trouble) and we then paid a visit to Anne and Mo as they were in a hotel not far away. Keith and I had a glass of wine and we exchanged contact information with Ellen, Mo, and Anne ad we were not sure if our paths would merge again. Then back to the albergue, a damp sleeping bag and a sleeping pill.