St. Juan de Ortega-Burgos Day 12 & 13

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Day 12

I was looking forward to the hike to Burgos because it meant we would get to stay in our 2nd large city.  We had also decided to stay there for 2 days, giving us a little more time to rest and explore some more of the city.  The hardest part of the hike to Burgos was walking on blacktop and concrete in boots.  It was fairly uncomfortable and hard surface was taking a toll on Caroline’s knee which had been bothering her for a couple of days now.  To fix this, when we arrived at the outskirts of the large city, Dom, Caroline, Mel, and I opted to take the bus to the older part of the city where the albergues were.

Since we were staying in Burgos for a couple of days, we had to stay at 2 different places since albergues usually don’t allow pilgrims to stay for more than one day.  We decided to spoil ourselves after 11 days of hiking and 1 weeks worth of food poisoning by staying in Hotel Silken, a 4 star hotel. Call it cheating, but every now and again you begin to miss the simple things like a real towel, not wearing shower sandals, and clean sheets and beds. It was definitely pricier than staying in an albergue, especially since we were so close to the old part of town where several tourists like to stay.  There weren’t any rooms available when we got there because they hadn’t finished cleaning the rooms, so we left our bags with the front desk and decided to go grab a bite while we waited to check in.  We wandered around and finally settled on a small restaurant next to the river to have a couple of beers and a late lunch.  We enjoyed our own little slice of heaven kicking our feet up and greeting other pilgrims as they entered the city a little behind us.

After a little respite, we checked into our hotel, grabbed luxurious showers, and had a nap time.  We all agreed to meet up in Caroline and Mel’s room later before we went exploring the city together and grabbing a nice dinner.  While everyone else rested, I got busy trying to find the post office because Burgos was the first town I came to where I had mail waiting for me from back home. In larger cities, you can forward packages to yourself with supplies or have people send you mail from back home. I gave several post office addresses to friends and families to send me letters while I was also sending back post cards, most of which apparently never reached their destination.  Unfortunately, the post office had closed for the day (it was Saturday) and I would have to wait until Monday morning to get my mail.  Oh well, more time to write post cards.

I rejoined my friends at the hotel, and from there we took advantage of our extra time by looking around a bit, resupplying anything we might need, and hanging out with other friends we ran into. My favorite site was the cathedral and it is definitely worth checking out.

We ended the day at a very nice restaurant where I enjoyed paella for the first time, and we paired it with a very nice wine that Dom picked out.  It was a special occasion because it was one of the last night that Mel would be traveling with us before she had to go home.  She had other responsibilities to take care of like most other pilgrims on the trail.  I met several pilgrims that had only done sections of the trail at a time as their jobs would allow them.

Day 13

I’m pretty sure this was the first night I actually slept the whole night through!  And, Dom didn’t even snore that night!  I celebrated by spending my first morning in Burgos alone, sitting at a bar eating my breakfast next to the river and watched some of the other pilgrims leave.  It was good to have a rest day and just relax.  The 2 days we spent in Burgos were also the first 2 days in about a week where it wasn’t windy and a little chilly.  It had warmed up to about 75 degrees with sunny skies!  I was so happy that I decided to wear my blue jeans around town (bad idea bringing those heavy pants in my pack by the way).

For our second night in Burgos, we opted to stay in the municipal albergue next to the cathedral. The municipal is a very modern facility with nice bunk beds put in groups of 4 to an area with a personal sink and shower. Laundry services are available as well. Unfortunately, there was no Wi-Fi available, but computers were set up (which you paid for) to use if you needed. What are you doing on the internet?  You’re hiking through Spain, go enjoy a new country!  If you plan on staying there, arrive as soon as possible because this is a very popular albergue.  There were also some great tapas bars nearby, which served some amazing sangria.

After checking into the albergue, we split our ways and had some time to ourselves exploring the city in our own ways.  I took a tour of the cathedral (one of my favorite things to do in the larger cities), and finally purchased a pair of sunglasses and some sunscreen because the days were getting a bit warmer and the sun was beaming down towards the end of our hikes.

We ended our last night in Burgos at a nice tapas bar near the albergue.  If I could remember the name of the place I’d tell you because they had amazing tapas and even better sangria.  As an added bonus, our friend Jo wandered up and joined us. Jo was a woman that I’d met day 1 on the trail and we had continued to run into each other at random times.  I’m pretty sure that when you mentioned Jo’s name to anyone on the trail, the next phrase you would hear would be “Jo! I love her!”.  She was one of the nicest and most generous people I met on the trail.

The next day, we would tackle Hornillow, but separately.

Destination: Burgos

Distance: 25.6 km

Accommodation: Day 12-Hotel Silken-Expensive, but if you split it with a friend it isn’t so bad.  This place is well worth the stay!  Even the cheaper rooms were really nice. 4 star hotel, need I say more?  Day 13-Municipal Albergue- This was a very nice and modern albergue.  Bunk beds were in groups of 4 to an area with a personal sink and shower. Laundry services are available as well. Unfortunately, there was no Wi-Fi available, but computers were set up (which you paid for) to use if you needed.

Lesson learned for staying in larger cities: the longer you stay in the larger cities, the more money you spend.

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