September 24, 2002

9/24/02 Burgos

26 km

Slept really well, despite the cold and the snoring. But even with an easy, but long walk into Burgos, it seemed as if people couldn't wait to get started. I left the refugio about 7am among the hordes of exiting pilgrims.

The big difference starting out this morning was that instead of leaving a city by a road, we were leaving the monastery through the forest. It was so dark, you couldn't see any route markers. And only the moonlight kept me from stepping into the mud puddles. I just followed the pilgrim in front of me, while others followed me. It was almost 8am before I could finally see a Camino "yellow arrow."

Early morning through the countryside

Today was even colder than yesterday and windier too. Stopped for a hot cocoa in Atapuerca and a bocadillo in Cardeñnela. Finally caught up to Angela to say goodbye. I'm sad that our 'little family' is breaking up. I know I'll meet more friends, but these people will always share a special place in my heart.

Sayin' goodbye to Angela

Another thought crossed my mind today. Because I'm always walking west, I miss the sunrise every day. Even if I keep looking over my shoulder, I still seem to miss it. Just got to do something about that.

The sun was out with few clouds but it was still cool. I'm glad I have my shoes instead of the sandals. Walked most of the way to Burgos with Bob, an American I'd met on the Internet through Camino. I was to stop at some friends' house but never found the street. Ended up at the cathedral.

The cathedral is an impressive display of wealth. Even now, the city has cleaned the surface of the entire complex so that it looks new. A small section still to be done behind the cathedral is almost black from pollution.

The cathedral was impressive

Made a phone call to Alberto, a friend of Nati and José that I met in August when we went to Atapuerca. Turns out I had passed their home as I entered the city. Said hello to a few pilgrims before heading back through Burgos.

Alberto and Marisol live in a beautiful new apartment in a newer part of town. After a quick shower that I desperately needed, and a great lunch, they took me on a driving tour of the Burgos. For a city of only 200,000, it is both beautiful and grand. While the old city is the normal narrow streets with no grass, the city has huge green-ways and parks. And this is the city of Kings and Queens. It shows in the various buildings dating from the Middle Ages. We went to the castillo ruins that are currently being restored above the city for an impressive view of Burgos below.

Alberto was born and raised near the main plaza. We ended up going to a few of his favorite bars from his college days for something to eat and drink. In one of those "It's a small world" moments, a guy walked past me in one bar who looked familiar. It was Mark whom I hadn't seen since Pamplona. He too had found some friends in Burgos. After spending the night in the city, they planned on returning to San Juan de Ortega to finish walking to Burgos (after getting a car ride ahead today). He said the Italians kept falling behind. It was good to see him again and with him so close behind me, I'm sure we'll see each other again. Still wonder what happened to Cristobol and Victoria.