I learned another important lesson from the Camino this morning, friends. Today’s lesson is to have patience and trust that you will be rewarded at the end of a difficult, long, hard process.
If I had written this blog post at noon instead of 11:30 pm, the overall narrative would have been very different.
I am not going to lie: walking today really sucked.
Early in the morning was great. I left the cute little inn in Atapuerca around 7:30 to race the sun again. It was a gorgeous morning. The climb over the mountain/hill started out fine enough, passing a large pen of sheep that stretched almost to the top of the path. Maybe they were the same sheep from yesterday? It was hard to identify them as the same flock without also seeing their dog.
The early misty dawn was beautiful.
Halfway up the mountain, the path turned from dirt with stones to all stones.
Didn’t Talking Heads have a song about the path when we were in high school in the 80s?
Qu’est-ce que c’est
Run run run run run run run away oh“Geez Louise. I’m so grateful for my poles.
The top of the mountain was a wide field of rocks. I don’t remember seeing terrain like this before. What does the sign say? “Beware all pilgrims who enter?”I knew the rest of the way into Burgos would be downhill and then flat. I was expecting an easy stroll into the city. After all, I could see it straight ahead from the descent. Straight shot, perfect! No. The trail turned south dramatically and went through a few more villages, all on a road on which the drivers were speeding and NOT yielding to us. I mean, driving super-fast and within two feet of where we were forced to walk. It was unnerving. I have walked all the way from France to this metro area, and I have never experienced drivers doing this before. It was already making me feel negative about Burgos. Does this town not welcome or care about the pilgrims that probably help bolster its economy? Here are some pics of the long drag into town. A famous piece of graffiti I’ve seen on shirts and stuff:The road took me right next to the airport:The edge of the city:At this point the sun is almost above me. I popped into that bar, had an Estrella limon (my new favorite beer), used the banos of course, and looked at the map. Another 5 km before the center of town? And it’s hot! I didn’t take any more pics until I was at the hotel to dump off my bag. It was a straight road right to the hotel, but it reminded me of some of the stretches of strip mall outside Tucson. Bleah. Then I saw where my hotel was and got a glimpse of the cathedral. It took my breath away. I think this is the first truly gothic church I’ve seen in Spain. Mood is changed. Hot, long, miserable slog into town is rewarded. I love this city! My feet are killing me however. After talking with Pilgrim’s last night, and then posing the question all the major Camino forum, I realized that the blisters may have been caused and are continuing to be aggravated by two things: my feet have swollen, and my leather boots have shrunk from being submerged in water and dried, submerged in water then dried, multiple times through Navarra. I realized the only solution is to replace them, preferably with a good old sturdy pair of runners. There won’t be any more flooding ahead of me, and it seems most everyone is switching to runners. I think a lot of Pilgrims are experiencing the same problem from walking through the floods. I dumped my bag at the hotel and jumped in a taxi to take me to the major sporting good store in the city, the same chain that I bought my long sleeve shirt from in Estella. Score!Oh, except they do not carry any wide sizes in any shoe. Do all Spanish people have narrow feet? I was desperate though, so I bought a pair of Columbias but two sizes larger than what I normally wear. They were the only shoes that were not making my left toes scream. I also bought a good pair of flip-flops and ended up wearing those out of the store. My little pinky toe was singing “freedom!” I was so desperate to replace my shoes. Once it was done I realized I was in the outskirts at a shopping mall and I had no idea how to get back without walking another 5 km in the high heat (now in flip flops). I didn’t see any taxi stands or bus stops. Oh no. It’s a shopping mall, my least favorite place to be. Once again, I was saved by the kindness of strangers. I started just asking people how to get back or how to find a taxi. It turns out the shopping mall has a free bus that goes straight back to the center of the city. A woman took pity on me, grabbed me by the hand, and walked me over to the unmarked place where the bus would stop. Gracias Amiga! Back to the hotel, showered, gave a bag of rather dirty sweaty laundry to the hotel, and out the door I went. I am in love with Burgos. Flip flops, don’t fail me now!I found a statue in honor of Bunny the Badass Bull.I even jumped on one of those tacky tourist trains (and I’m glad I did; I have a better sense of what is here now … and El Cid!). I also did it for my husband’s sake. Love you, Al. This one did not make any wine stops, though, like our Paris train.
The cathedral is absolutely stunning. I am going to do the full tour tomorrow, but I did manage to catch the pilgrims mass at 7:30 tonight. No photos, though. The mass was in a little side chapel because the rest of the cathedral is closed for the paid tours. The little chapel was beautiful, but it’s not right to pull out my phone and start snapping during mass. I hope you get it.Look at my view from my window!
And I found a dog that was friendly and let me pet him. I’m not a fan of German Shepherds only because I am very allergic to their coats. It didn’t matter this time; I am pretty happy to pet a dog. Sweet boy. I am so glad I am taking a rest day here. It may be as difficult to leave Burgos after two nights as it was leaving Pamplona.The weather forecast is looking worse for me for the next 10 days as well. I’m really wishing for the rain back. Enjoy Burgos while I can!