Camino de Santiago Day Fourteen 2 Weeks Walking: Ages to Burgos

13 04 2018

Ay! We finally made it to Burgos. We thought this 14 mikes was going to be easy. When are we going to learn?!

The early crew left around 7 but our room was so nice and quiet. I actually woke up slowly at 7:15, I started my blog bleary-eyed from bed before someone out the lights on around 7:30, it was then I noticed Suzy was already up, unusual! Apparently she’d forgotten to ask to ship the bag along so wanted to make sure she was ok. I was sure aliens had abducted her in the night. Luckily I found her safe and sound in the dining room. I eased into the day since it was raining pretty heavily I wasn’t in a big rush to get out of town. While I blogged and organized my pack it came to my attention that Sophie from Canada was working on an exit strategy. Her knee is just too shot to continue, so she needs to have the Albergue manager drive her to Burgos to hopefully get a bus to Madrid to see a doctor and get some sort of flight back to Canada. Her Camino is over for this time. So tragic and so sad to see her in pain. Ali was in pain this morning also, something with her leg. The woman from Canada is a little older but Ali is probably my age. To see the intensity of this journey wearing on our fellow pilgrims is agonizing.

We headed out with just coffees in our bellies as we wanted to be able to get to Burgos in time for Suzy to get some money. Again no one will exchange dollars… anywhere… so now she has sent the call out to her whole family to ask anyone that can spare a little something to try to wire it to her, that said these Moneygram places aren’t everywhere and tomorrow is Saturday. Sigh. I never would have thought you could not exchange dollars in Spain or use Amex. It’s absurd. We wanted to hit the road hard to get to Burgos fast before the Moneygram closed. An update on this a few hours later is that if you do get money wired you’ll need to have a SPANISH PHONE NUMBER to get your money?! WTH. Be warned.

The first part was mellow, through some small roads mostly on asphalt highway but sadly soon the route rose up into the hills and became a scramble of rock peppered with sheep pellets. Literally you were looking for the next foothold at every step. There was very misty rain, not so bad but a little slippery. We smelled the muskiness of the sheep and wet wool and wondered when they’d passed by (later I saw a post from our fellow pilgrim, one of the early morning crew, surrounded by the sheep just hours before we got there!) Then at the top as we rounded a military protected zone protected by barbed wire and approached a large cross at the top of the hill the trail flattened before offering us the opposite exposure. The same rock now slick in the light rain, very slippery.

This top area provided a great view before our descent and circular rings made from the fragments of rough boulders that we’d just seen. The large gaping hole in the military fence and tire tracks gave us something to imagine…maybe this was the Area 51 of Spain and the gunshots that we’d heard weren’t open Pelegríno season but rather them shooting at the alien who’d escaped when they towed the mother craft into the secure zone. These are the ways we prevent boredom on the route. We let our imaginations run wild to keep the feet moving!

After trying the slippery rocks I opted for the grassy area with rugged boulders. It was much better. Between the poles for the downhill and my imagined goat like ability that I manifested for today I scrambled down the hill at top speed till we reached a track that had the creamy colored gravel we both really enjoyed walking on.

We booked along eventually running into the Cairo ex Pats and then Heino, Mark, Helena and almost the entire crew from our Albergue but we didn’t stop. We kept taking the left hand route and winded along leaving Heino at a crossroads as we descended down and around the Burgos airport. Then left again to stick to the Rio Route along the river.

Someone had warned us of “flashers” entering Burgos so we carefully inspected any oncoming walkers. The first we decided were definitely flashers turned out to be just a couple, yeah a man and a woman with short hair on a walk. The next, for sure a flasher with a dog to provide an alibi… um, until we realized he was visually impaired… it was a guide dog. Yikes sorry! But as we kept on and on through the park and near a tunnel near the river there were a few sketchy men, who knows. We kept them in sight. One man pretended to be watching the water and although I was right behind Suzy he immediately peeled away from his water sojourn to follow her, getting in between us very close despite the whole area being wide open. I said, “Suzy hold up! I’ve got to fix my shoe!” And she tuned around and came back so we could be behind him. He did glance back at us as he kept walking. Just better to have a code word or something and watch each other’s backs. Another day I was happy to have a partner.

The slog into Burgos seemed to go on and on so it was nice to see Mark and Helena catch up to us. We headed in and with aching feet opted to wait to check into our hotel and instead hit a tapas bar called La Favorita. It seemed a bit fancy and maybe a bit modern but it had reclaimed wood everywhere and was warm and comfy. The Italian guy with bad feet we’d seen upon occasion was even there. We were gluttonous… gorging ourselves on anchovies and olives, baby eels, ceviche, the pork belly cracklings, and then we found the foie menu! Three kinds! We did all three.

After a short conversation with a guy from Tennessee doing work with an equipment manager we headed to our “hotel”. The hotel not so much a hotel, seemed like we just checked into my friend’s grandma’s house. Two people were there sitting on the couch and buzzed us into the 11th floor of a nondescript apartment building in an area that seems to be a hub for 1Euro stores. Note to self when you see a “Hotel” advertised that says 11th floor (piso 11A) this might be a red flag. The place is fine, clean and has a shared bath but it’s a little weird. Halfway there I realized I’d left my poles at the tapas bar and had to walk all the way back.

After a quick beer I got back to the apartment and showered and then it was directly back to meet Mark & Helena for a farewell. They did the Camino from Burgos to Santiago last time so now they’re done and leaving us for a vacation. Heino is sad as he was too far away to join us, he asked us to not leave him, otherwise he will be alone with only Markus, oh and Markus is the name of his worst blister lol. Apparently Markus is a real jerk. My pinky toe blister is still around and very strange but doesn’t hurt so I’m still trying to ignore it. Long day tomorrow though. We had some tapas and then went to bed early at grandma’s place.

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