Hola, amigos, today started rainy, but ended up a glorious, mild day. When I walked off the ALSA bus, from Madrid to Burgos, 2 hrs 30 min, a little drizzle, no map or phone signal, a fleeting sense of concern flashed through my mind-Irene, the pilgrim who is never lost, was a bit disoriented. Alas, I know how to ask for information and found the officials in the tourist/visitors offices helpful and fun. In less than an hour I had what I needed, all in sight of the stunning cathedral.
The rest of the day, I walked and searched and added up 17.6 Kms in this beautiful city.
Today was a festival day, but I’m not sure about the festival, only that most shops were closed, including The Orange Store where I will buy a Spanish SIM card tomorrow, but cafes and tourist sites remained open. When I was searching for the Camino Way out of the city I passed by and through a huge celebration. At first it seemed like a weekly flea market with tents set up selling some local art, and a lot of commercial, imported goods. But the park and promenade were filled with loud music, food trucks and huge crowds. This was set up in the University area. If you like boisterous crowds, this is for you. I’ll have to research the source of celebration.
Gathering is something the Spanish do well, with their tapas, outdoor cafes and long evenings. All over the city, and in other Spanish cities and towns I’ve visited, people gather, often with their children playing while they chat. Parks for children and adults, promenades for strolling, lanes for bicycles, public transportation, recycling. And the Euro health benefit. What do you think? Nothing is perfect, but shouldn’t quality of life concern all of us?
Waiting for my room at my Hostal Alda Entrearcos (this is a family run small hotel/guest house with fewer amenities but very comfortable: check out the amazing views from my fifth floor window) I sat under an umbrella in a sudden downpour, eating my first salad mixta in Spain. It was 4:00 p.m. and adults sat around the table, while children played.
The rest of the day I spent exploring and falling in love with the beauty, art and architecture of Burgos. The towers of the Gothic Cathedral are visible from so much of the city, it’s hard to get lost. Leslie Gilmore, in his Camino de Santiago guide, provides a colorful and dramatic history of the Cathedral and of Burgos. It’s a short course in intrigue, a little Shakespearean drama.
I walked up to the castle, found my first red poppies and coming down the hill, memorized the views of the city, and what looked like large empty nests and yes! I saw storks later, including babies and an adult stork feeding them.
My iPhone camera cannot capture the color and uniqueness of what is in nature. But I will close my eyes and remember, just like the field of sunflowers when I rounded the corner somewhere on the Camino in 2016, followed by the surprise of Rosamond the donkey and her Pilgrim. I memorized the pictures.
My last walk was the search for the Albergue de Peregrinos, where I could get my credencial, the passport used to register, (along with the country- specific passport all travelers carry) for Pilgrim accommodations, the Albergues that only allow Pilgrims to stay, usually one night, unless there are special conditions, like an illness or injury. I started at the Cathedral and was directed to the Albergue: left and left. I found it about an hour later. It was hard to find a pilgrim to ask, but when I was almost there I asked two young women and they directed me up the lane. They urged me to hurry, because now there would be a spot left. They were leaving for different accommodations. Good that I didn’t need a bed, because the Albergue was completo. Here’s the new credencial with last year’s. The date is next to the sello (stamp). Previous posts tell about the credencial and requirements for the Compostela.
Mañana is another day and soon I’ll be meeting my friend, Marylee, in Leon. Thanks for walking with me.
Buen Camino and thank you, amigos, for your personal comments. I love hearing from you.