This was the first morning that I could start the morning without my jacket. I tucked it away and wore t-shirt and my hiking over shirt. That shirt is an amazing piece of technology. Lightweight, absolute durable, easy to wash, and it dries by itself in an hour. Zippered pockets, vents, sleeves that roll and button; what more can a Peregrino want or need?
The walk started out on rolling hills that led through Atapuerca, and from there the landscape changed dramatically to a relatively steep grade with the clay paths being embedded with rock that seemed to jut through the clay as if it had been pushed up at odd angles. It was a walking nightmare, but a good challenge for any pilgrim who’s ready and willing to face the reason they’re out here to begin with. You can see a picture of two of what I am talking about…..
At the crest of the mountain we had crossed, one could see all the way to Burgos. It seemed like the day would be short, but vistas and distances can be deceptive. It would be another few hours before I would reach the city limits. And those next few hours would not be nearly as enjoyable as the first couple of hours.
The new side of Burgos is on the east side, and it is not a gleaming, modern city of cleanly designed buildings, skyscrapers, and broad avenues. Rather it’s a grimy, industrial, train and truck epicenter for northern Spain. So, I pushed hard through this area hoping that things would get better. I really did not know what Burgos would bring, as I have made it a point not to investigate things in advance; just let things happen.
As the pictures will show, once you pass through a 16th century archway, the old city becomes a feast for the eyes. If I were a photographer, this could my easily capture my attention for several days, so with but an afternoon and early evening, I had to make the most of excursions into the elegant and vibrant city.
One of the most significant attributes of the “old city” architectural design of buildings and streets is its humanity. It’s built for the feet and not the tire. It’s built for the conversation and not the sound of engines. It’s built to carry the scent of crisp, baked bread, flowers, tapas, the sonorous chime of the church bells, and café, and not the scent of exhaust. It built for the spirit and not the mind. Burgos does an excellent job of convergence between the ancient and the modern.
The Municipal (city) Albergue is in the old city. In fact, it’s within a block of the Cathedral de Santa Maria. Hotels nearby are charging a couple of hundred euros for the evening. The Albergue is charging eight euros. How cool is that? I went out for the afternoon, not only to take in the sights, but to take a break from my Peregrino meals. I wanted something luscious, and regional. So I looked for the most crowded outdoor café on one of the plazas. I found it. I went inside to the coolness of the interior and away from the sun-drenched plaza; for the quiet and my concentration on the food. Lamb was on the menu.
In the early evening, there was a Blessing for the Peregrinos after the 6:30pm Mass at the Cathedral. It was a good moment to renew myself with God, and seek His strength for my journey ahead. Afterwards, I took a walk through the old city, enjoyed a few tapas an a little vino tinto.
I have had a short vacation in walking the streets and seeing so many people out together; enjoying their time as a family, and enjoying the company of their friends. Burgos is a city that I would like to come back to sometime for a real vacation.
Enjoy the photos……
God Bless – Reese