DAY 12: San Juan de Ortega to Burgos

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September 15, 2018

We said good-bye to the monastery albergue at 6:00AM, and I was ready to go. The monastery was so isolated and most of the pilgrims in our dorm room were French and spoke no English (or didn’t want to). The exception was Nat, the woman in the bunk above me from England, who was all snuggled in her sleeping bag when I crept out in the dark, but still lifted her head to wish me “buen Camino.”

I really enjoyed the walk today…some farmland, some villages, trees, barren spots. A little of everything. And then we hit the city of Burgos, our destination, but we had a long three miles of walking through the city to our albergue. It was a beautiful walk along a river, but still…I was ready to be done after 16 miles. My blisters hurt all day, but other than that my legs and shoulders felt great.

The municipal albergue had a long line of pilgrims waiting to get a bed. The place is great, very clean, huge, but with the bunk beds set into alcoves to give a very private feeling. Much appreciated.

Burgos is a large city and an important milestone for me. Five years ago, during my first trip to Spain, we had come to Burgos as tourists. Enrique had been stationed here during his mandatory military service 45 years ago, and he wanted to show me around. Its claim to fame is a beautiful cathedral.

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As we walked around outside the cathedral (5 years ago), we met and talked with a few pilgrims. This was my first introduction to the Camino and Enrique and I had said at the time that when we retired, we would like to hike Camino. And here we are! Since the beginning of our journey, I’ve had my sights set on Burgos, not sure if I could make it this far.

After wandering around the cathedral, we walked down a pedestrian street called Espolon. It’s Saturday night and the whole city is packed, so we enjoyed some people-watching. I love how people in Spain come out in the evening with their families and take over the streets. At one point there was a huge crowd of people milling around and blocking the whole street. I thought it was a demonstration or something, but when we went to check it out, it was just people standing around outside a bar, drinking and socializing. We’re in Spain!
(And there are even lemonade stands along the Camino)
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