Today we walked to Burgos. Kidding! So did not walk to Burgos.
We left our Albergue and walked 8km to a bus stop in Santo Domingo de la Calzada. There we waited for a bus with 3 Asian girls that we have been walking on the same schedule with for a week. (One of them I call “the welder”)
They were needing to bus because 2 of the 3 of them are suffering badly with knee problems.
If you look closely – this is a picture from yesterday where you can see Karis walking, the welder up in the front, and one of her buddies collapsed on the side of the trail in pain/exhaustion.
It took about 45 min to an hour to reach Burgos in the bus. We figure we cut 2-3 days right there.
We arrived at the bus station in the heart of downtown. Right near Burgos cathedral. WOW!
We gathered a map from the info desk at the bus station and crossed a few streets to head to the cathedral and camino path. There were a lot of people. You could tell that something exciting was happening at the cathedral.
Even though we hadn’t walked 25km – only 8, our clothes always feel sweaty, our hair is unkempt, our legs hairy – a typical pilgrim. We were now surrounded by the Sunday church goers. They smelled of perfume and hairspray. They were wearing pressed suits and skirts. We did not belong.
As we approached the crowd, I saw the three Brazilian women from our room on our second night in Orisson, back in the Pyrenees. We walked a bit further and as I turned my neck back to see where they had gone, I noticed a man, camera in hand taking our picture. He gestured to me to turn back around. To keep walking. He wanted a picture of the three if us, oversized packs on our backs marked with canadian flags, sweaty, dirty and smelly. We were there. Amongst all the fancy folk. Standing out so much that people were taking our picture. Huh.
Karis needed a washroom. We knew that if we could just push our way through the archway, we would be close to the trail, which meant close to an albergue. We joined the crowd and then I saw it. A PARADE! It was beautiful! Tall brass bells on poles, a big, ornate statue they were carrying, priests, nuns, children in gowns and suits, a marching band… I yelled to mom and Karis, “ITS A CHURCH PARADE!”
“It is NOT a CHURCH PARADE.” Said a tall, English man standing next to me. “It is a celebration for the children’s first communion. This is a ceremony that begins a month of celebration.”
I had been told. Why is it that whenever we say something stupid, people who understand English suddenly appear??! Only the Spanish are around when our brilliant comments surface. Bah! I thanked him for his enlightenment and moved away.
After the “celebration for the children’s first communion” walk that hosted many people in beautiful gowns and suits and statues and a marching band all in a line but was NOT a CHURCH PARADE passed, we wanted to find an albergue. We took out our map and started out. A sweet, old man decided that we were going the wrong way and waved his arms and instructed us in Spanish towards a different way. We listened. Because we have learned that the locals know best as to where us pilgrims should go. Not long after our detour he put us on, we found the arrows. We walked and walked until we finally realized that yes, he was correct about the path, but he had sent us to join it PAST all the albergues and we were now headed out of Burgos. After a stop at a cafe, and another animated discussion with a kind, helpful couple, we were on our way back to the cathedral.
With tired feet and heavy bags, we grabbed a hotel just a block down from the cathedral. We found an American restaurant on our map and were excited to have dinner there for something familiar. We cleaned ourselves up best we could and walked to the restaurant. They don’t open for dinner until 8:15. It was 5:30. We plan to be in bed by 8:15. Too late!
Another restaurant won out.
Tomorrow, we will bus to Leon. Only 13 days left. Planning our remaining days carefully to be able to walk as much as possible in the best locations. Tough!
Here is a picture of our credential so far. One side full!!