Day 26- Villafria to Burgos

  • Distance today:                      6.3 mi
  • Distance Camino 2017:    187.3 mi

As most of the guide books indicate, the traditional Camino goes through an industrial section for the walk into Burgos and many recommend talking an alternative route along the river or taking a bus into town, which incidently picks up at Hotel Buenos Aires.

However, we planned to walk the traditional Camino, so this morning we left the hotel at 6:55 and immediately began passing through what turned out to be a very well organized and maintained industrial area for about 2 miles.

The sidewalk was wide, unobstructed and well lighted and consequently, wasn’t that objectionable to us. There were some unoccupied buildings but most had activity of workers entering the buildings and trucks loading and unloading goods. For us it meant jobs and a positive economic impact on the total community, directly or indirectly and we were thankful to see it and delighted to experience this aspect of the Camino Frances as well.

The final 1/4 mile we walked along a huge Bridgestone manufacturing factory, probably car and truck tires with hundreds of workers entering the facility as we passed by just before 8:00.

The industrial area abruptly changed into a high rise residential area for another mile or so before we stopped at a bar for breakfast.

As we continued toward town center, the lack of signage for the Camino concerned us that we might be straying off path. We’re staying at the Hotel Meson del Cid (79€) which is on the Camino and very close to the Catedral, so Jim searched “Burgos Catedral” with his google earth app and the walking directions took us right to our destination while passing through some lovely parks and pedestrian walkways, creating a very favorable impression of city center on our way in.

The Burgos Catedral or Santa Iglesia Catedral Basílica Metropolitana de Santa María de Burgos was consecrated in 1260 and has undergone numerous modifications and additions in the centuries that followed.

It is the most incredible house of worship we have ever seen. The exterior is breathtaking but is matched by the extraordinary size, beauty and variety of chapels, art work and historical relics inside. And it is the final resting place of Rodrigo Díaz de Vivar, El Cid, the “Master”, and the national hero of Castillo.

… and our hotel is just a few steps away and do we have a room with a view?

We got to the hotel at 10:00 and were advised that it would be at least another hour before our room would be ready. They stored our packs for us and we set out to complete our shopping list while in the big city of Burgos (pop. 178,500).

First we found an ATM and refilled our € stash. Next we found a farmacia to buy some extra bandaids, sunscreen and toothpaste. Finally, Linda has been having a few too many blisters with her walking shoes so she wanted to try some new walking sandals that have been recommended by several pilgrims along the way.

 

They are a British brand, Quechua, and so we stopped at several shoe stores nearby with no luck but finally got directions to a French owned sports store called Decathlon, similar to our Academy Sports store in Greenville, but several miles on the outskirts of Burgos. Having already completed our stroll for the day, we asked the store owner to call a taxi and 7€ and 15 minutes later we were trying on and finding new sandals for Linda. The Decathlon clerk who helped us, kindly called another cab and another 7€ and 15 minutes later we were back at Meson del Cid, entering our room.

Oh, our room with a view..

When we weren’t shopping, we spent time outdoors in the plazas around the Catedral, still awestruck and having OJ when we arrived, a pizza lunch and a pasta dinner… at 1:30 and at 6:30!

We also made a quick visit to the Iglesia de San Nicolas, located between our hotel and the Catedral.

San Nicolas de Bari (270-343AD) was a 4th century Saint and Greek Bishop of Myra (present day Turkey). He was a very rich man because his very wealthy parents died when he was very young. He spent his life helping the needy and performed numerous miracles as well as giving gifts to others anonymously. He also performed many miracles protecting and reviving sailors and is considered the Patron Saint of sailors.

His remains were transported by Italian sailors to Bari in 1087, hence the origin of his name.

As we discovered during our pilgrimage the past week, San Juan de Ortega’s dedication to pilgrims en route to Santiago is a direct result of his own pilgrimage to the Holy Land. During his return journey, his ship was wrecked, and a promise was made by Juan to San Nicolas de Bari. Juan would, in exchange for safety, devote himself to pilgrims and to make good on his prayer and promise to the Saint, became a disciple of Santo Domingo.

As a result, awareness of San Nicolas spread to the west bolstered by Juan’s devotion to him. Juan was originally from a village near Burgos and died in 1163. Coincidentally in 1163, Pope Alexander III named a new church in Burgos, San Nicolas.

And if you haven’t guessed it by now, San Nicolas and Saint Nicholas and Santa Claus are one in the same.

Our day in Burgos has been a real treat and we could easily stay much longer and still not begin to take in all this beautiful city has to offer. That’s one more extraordinary day on the Camino Frances.

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