Day 12: Atapuerca to Burgos. 18 km
Thanks to Scottish Alans cunning plan this was a (relatively easy) day. Just 18 km. So it was all the more galling to sit down for supper to realise that “I’m as hard as iron, me ” has developed a blister almost 2 weeks into the walk
But you know me. Not one to complain
I’m writing this while lying in a bath (sorry about that image now seared into your brain) in a hotel. Not just any hotel
A 4 star jobby opposite one of the gates to the incomparable Burgos Carhedral.
Well you need a bit if luxury every now and then. I have sheets as well. Sheets!!
So Burgos appeared on the horizon quite early on today and stayed there. No matter how quick or slow you walked it was always on the horizon
I walked for more than an hour alongside the security fence of Burgos “airport” In that time I saw not a single aeroplane.
The industrial suburbs went on for miles. And miles. Scrapyard followed by lorry park followed by squatters’ diss house followed by potentially rabid curs.
But I got there. Blindly following the yellow arrows that are always there to guide you. Through kids’ playgrounds churchyards and whatever else is in your way. Follow the arrows.
Anyway. I’m here. I spent 3 hours touring Burgos Cathedral and dear reader it’s the best churchy thing I’ve ever been in
Most churches in Spain are locked. When they’re not locked there is no light (you have to pay a Euro before they tun on the lights)
But Burgos Cathedral is bathed in light. It is so beautiful. The statues, the ceilings the intricate carvings in stone an alabaster. I stood under its main cupola like some slack jawed local
And it is the burial place of El Cid. He may sound like some bloke down the pub who’s invented a nickname after a week in Benidorm but here they venerate him
An 11th century warload revered for fighting the Moors, Rodrigo Diaz de Vivar or El Cid (the chief or leader) was in fact a ruthless mercenary who kicked the crap out of anyone who got in his way and was not above an alliance with said Moors if it suited him
You may recall the film starting Charlton Heston and Sophia Loren. Like most historical biopics it’s nonsense (braveheart anyone?)
But the bit at the end where his dead body is strapped to his horse Babieca and sent out to klfight the gullible Moors is actually true.
I shall attach a modern representation if his likeness.
So go to BurgosCathedral and see the tombs if the Kings and Queens if Castille. And old psychos resting place.
Must sleep but tomorrow tales of bonkers weddings….and the infamous Meseta.
Day 11 Friday 13 th july Belorado to Atuaperca 31 km
Everyone has their own tough day on The Camino. This was mine
It began well enough. Walking along a country lane at around 7am I was startled by beautiful fawn bounding through the ripening corn as the sun rose.
A good sign I thought.
Within minutes I heard some godawful tinny Eurotrash pop music blaring out. I turned to see an Italian gentleman striding along with music playing on a CD player. Why the hell he couldnt use earphones like everyone else escapes me
He kept pace with me for about a mile and I couldn’t shake him off. My general feeling of tolerance for the foibles of fellow Peregrinos was wearing thin with every stride
Eventually he disappeared. I neither know nor care where to
But for the rest of the day I had it on me
The good and bad thing about The Camino us that you can – if you wish – walk for hours alone. Those of you who know me will appreciate that’s my preferred method of perambulation.
But the downside is you think a lot. Too much at times
So yesterday for some reason I was thinking of all the people ive upset over the years (quite a lot) all those I’ve hurt with a careless word or action. All those ive annoyed for whatever reason (a huge number)
Then after that uplifting hour walking along (albeit beautiful) forest tracks I got thinking about friends Ive let down or never see. And the ones who’ve sadly died
So you can imagine that it was with undisguised joy I finally met Barry the trainee priest and Dan the Only Socialist in America and we could talk about stuff. Anything. Just any conversation to get rid of the echoes in my head.
We’ve formed a loose alliance of about 8 of us heading to the same places at the same time
Last night we pushed in to Atauperca the place where they’ve discovered the oldest human remains in Europe. A million years old if you can credit that
A million years! Seems a long time but if you’ve ever waited for a Spanish er waiter , to come and take your order you’ll realise all things are relative.
Talking of which I must be off for my evening meal.
Song of the Day; the Young and the Hopeless (good Charlotte)
“if I make it through the day will tomorrow be the same..? if I stumble and I fall will I get up and carry on?”