Thursday, November 5, 2009

San Juan De Ortega to Burgos

The Camino leaves straight as an arrow from the church door. We head out and walk a genteel gavotte with the two Norwegian men-we lead off then they take over, they hang back and then we lead for a while before repeating the whole thing.
The morning colours are beautiful and there is a strange pale lemon diffused over the landscape.
Frances on one of the bridges built by San Juan de Ortega

Looking back to Ata Puerca the site of the earliest human habitation in Europe, and in the background the hills we walked from this morning.
Stagger into a little village and have to stop to patch up the feet. Three old ladies come over to chat with us, they are charming interrogators, and ask us if we miss our husbands........ I think I must have blown my 'hardened woman of the world' cover because one of them gave me a tissue and a little pat......

Mortan and Rune (in his leather mud resistant breeches) catch up with us, which is not hard as I am making heavy weather of it today with blisters. Rune is very encouraging and that kindness, plus the fact that we are having a REST day in Burgos, keeps me going. We have a welcome break at a great little cafe which everyone in the village is popping into for a Sunday get together.
For the Camino between here and Burgos-the 'Airport route'-well I would pay money to have the memory surgically removed-hot sun, hard road, sore feet.

We got to the city which is impressive though it has a sort of reserved hauteur about it but I am making comparisons with other places and that's not really fair on such short acquaintance.


The lanterns in the cathedral are exquisite dainty confections despite their scale which is enormous.

As we are having a 2 night stop over hopefully the rest day will give our blisters a change to heal up. We are staying in the Hotel Del Cid which is close to the cathedral (where El Cid is buried).

Sight seeing Burgos style!
Just how close?..........well when I lie on my bed with the binoculars (and I do this a lot)....
this is what I see!.......
.....and when I turn a bit to the left..... this (San Nicolas). I could certainly get used to this kind of sightseeing and on these ground alone consider the room worth every cent.

Frances is obsessed by the interconnected pollarding of the plane trees we saw in Belorado and again here in Burgos, and photographes
their ganglion like patterns whenever she sees them. I like them to and as well as being ugly/pretty they must provide the most delicious shade in the summer.
Burgos of course improves on aquaintance and walking around the town in soft sandals, without a backpack and in the knowledge that we don't walk tomorrow is great fun.
kwik Kate is staying in the same place as us again and arrange to meet up with her later for tapas.
Next morning lying in bed with the windows open listening to pilgrims heading out from 5.30am on (you can hear them clearly especially the ones with walking poles) I don't know what gives me more pleasure turning over and going back to sleep or staying awake in my cosy bed listening to to the 'tramp tramp tramp' of pilgrim feet.
Now here is a strange thing by 11.15 we've had breakfast, walked around town again, postcards have been written and sent, journal entries brought up to date, new thinner socks purchased and now we are both getting a bit 'twitchy' to get back on the road-which is crazy?
We do stay on in Burgos-spend more time in and around the cathedral (with the binoculars so yet another crick in the neck but its worth it to be able to see the sculptural programmes) and dawdle in the riverside park drinking coffee and people watching.
While sipping yet another cafe con leche we see the best protest march ever. The protesters are a big crowd of agricultural workers and there is quite a high police presence. One officer, a heavy mustachioed older man, walking at the head of the march stops suddenly and puts up his hand the protesters stop immediately then he takes out a packed of cigarettes lights one up takes a moment to savour the first puff before giving the cavalry gesture to 'move out' and the protest continues -its all very civilised.

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