On the 4th, we left Ages, walking in the rain towards Burgos. Soon we were walking in mud that clung to our boots and added several pounds to our weight. We climbed a steep hill and finally walked into the famed city of Burgos tired and hungry.
Along the way, we had tried to have lunch. In one of the small towns where we stopped tired and wet to get some food, the Afrolatina at the bar/cafe kept saying, “no hay comida, solo cerveza!” We had been traveling an alternate route that went by an old roman bridge and that may be while it was muddier and there were few places to eat. But more than likely both routes were muddy and not much was open in the other either! Finally we kept walking until we reached a cafe/bar in Orbaneja, a tiny hamlet where the regular and the alternate route we followed joined up. We had the most delicious greasy fried eggs and chorizo. I had decided to remain vegetarian but my body craved the protein and so I ate the strong sausage. I also noticed that the bread in this region was different from that in Navarra–like the loaves in Grañon they were rough and round, more like sour dough. Era un manjar! Of course, it was most likely because we had barely had any breakfast and the Camino had been especiallly difficult that we were so hungry and that the eggs were so delicious. Like my Dad used to joke, “Como son mejores los frijoles?” “Pos, con hambre!” …The best beans are those you get when you are hungry. Not quite the translation, but you get the idea.
Everyone had told us to take a bus into Burgos and thus avoid the industrial and long urban walk into town, so that is what we did. In Villafria, we stopped in the rain in front of Hotel Buenos Aires and took public transportation to the Teatro Principal bus stop as we had ben instructed. The bus was packed and our backpacks made it even more difficult to navigate. From the bus stop it was a short walk to the Albergue Municipal. Built in 2008, the modern facility is easily the best accomodation along the Camino. It is huge and modern, but there is no kitchen! There were many pilgrims from all over. And we reconnected with Solano who will now be walking with Franny a pilgrim from Holland who is starting her Camino here in Burgos. She is a student of applied psychology and her family and her boyfriend are worried. We reassured her. We also met up with Ruth and Javi two pilgrims from Estella who only had 6 days to walk and will be going back home without reaching Santiago.
Our rainproof parkas are drenched and we set them out to dry in the common room where we also do some laundry. I bought a yellow poncho that I hoped would keep my parka dry in the coming Galician rains.
Walking I kept thinking of poems that would render the experience accessible for others. Lyric poems? Mystical poems? Narrative poems? I do have some that made it into the journal, but not many. It remains a project that may or may not ever be finished, although I even have a title: Poemario del Camino de Santiago. In my jounal i note that I am writing with the blue mechanical pencil I found outside Puente La Reina when I decided to keep the journal after all. I wrote about the comfortable beds and the delicious birthday meal in Burgos.
After arriving in the albergue, we walked out looking for a restaurant. It was still rainy and cold so we didn’t go very far. After considering several restaurants, we slipped into Tirol, a fancy restaurant near Plaza Mayor. I had ensalada mixta, trout al a Navarra, which meant that it came with the white asparagus and mayonnaise that I love and that we saw growing in Navarra. For dessert it was flan–not as good as Elvia’s but okay. After dinner we found the locutorio to call home. I wept when I hung up after talking to Elsa and Mom; their voices clear as if I were in San Antonio calling Laredo. We hurried back to the albergue since it closed at 10 and we were worried we’d be late. But we arrived with 10 minutes to spare!
I like Burgos, looks more prosperous than other towns, even Pamplona. the streets are bustlying with people and the after holiday crowds are a bit more subdued but out in full force. Since January 2, we have noticed the ban on smoking is being enforced all over Spain. There have been some complaints, but in general everyone is abiding by the law. We watch a tv that is set up and hear about an incident or two of people who do not agree and don’t want to follow the new law. From one day to the next, literally we were more comfortable in the smoke free restaurants and cafes. Cozy in my bunk bed with its own little reading light, I wrote in my journal and felt at peace and full of gratitude once again. Winter is the best time to do the Camino after all–no bed bugs! not many pilgrims! no sun or heatstroke! I say my posture affirmations and thank the universe once again for the privilege of honoring the path, of walking where so many have walked before.
I don’t have any photos of the day because I had not charged my camera, but Becky did take some photos. One regret: we did not visit the Cathedral! I must go back and at least take a picture of the facade. Nor do I have a meditation focus for that night. I guess I was too tired and just slept and relished the luxury of the albergue in Burgos, what someone, maybe Xavier, had called the Ritz of albergues!