Camino Day 9 - Weds 5/6/2002:

25 km today
287 total
Rain, Rain, go to Spain

Oh my God. Worst day so far. It was still raining heavily when I left at 7 AM after I packed my still wet clothes. Muck and rain, wind and pain were the order of the day. Got well soaked, though the poncho wasn't bad. My boots and socks got drowned!
Had a coffee at Atapuerca (home of the recent archaeological discovery of "Atapuerca Man"); walked fairly fast in spite of wind and rain. After the torrential rains, the camino was incredibly muddy, and the thick brown clay here had a sticky quality unlike any I've ever experienced. My boots gathered mud, which gathered mud... eventually, it felt like I was wearing platform shoes - with the dead weight of diving boots. Due to complete lack of grip, I managed to fall once or twice, covering my poncho and my rucksack with the loam. You can imagine my humour as I eventually arrived in the teeming rain in Burgos...
A town it is easy to get lost in, which I promptly did. And again, for good measure. Eventually, by dint of asking various people, discovered that the refugio was in the middle of a public park at the other end of Burgos (and there was me thinking I'd gone much too far.) I "booked in", lay on the bed and shivered, and then forced myself to limp out into the rain to explore the town. I had seen the impressive looking cathedral spire and so headed straight there. God knows how I missed it on the way in, for the Gothic cathedral in Burgos is the most amazing building I have ever seen.


in the distance (32K)

Storks nesting

Burgos (50K)


Burgos (50K)


Burgos (48K)

My humour slowly improved, and even more so after a nice meal in a restaurant in the plaza next to the cathedral. Or perhaps it was the wine. Whatever, the weather also improved and there were even occasional glimpses of the sun. I went out to see the cathedral close up. The restoration work on the cathedral is very impressive; it looks brand new!


Burgos Cathedral (70K)

Arco de Santa María

Burgos (70K)


Burgos Cathedral (61K)

Ornate archway

Burgos Cathedral (70K)

Did quite a bit of sightseeing. The more I saw of the cathedral, the better it got. I went inside (alas, no photos) and it's even more impressive. The height of its centre, with shafts of sunlight streaming down from above, the incredibly detailed statuary -- all amazing. I was awe-struck at the beauty of it all, not to mention the thought and endeavour that went into its construction.

Another View

Burgos Cathedral (48K)

Main door

Burgos Cathedral (62K)


Burgos Cathedral Plaza (69K)

It rained again quite often during the afternoon, so my washing was still wet! I replenished my food and medical supplies. Legs again very sore, possibly due to all the traipsing around Burgos. This refugio is very poor: it's a low timber shack packed with 2ft bunk beds (2ft wide, and 2.5 feet between the top and bottom bunks, which means you can't even sit on the bottom one without leaning forward.) Lacking even the most basic insulation, it's quite cold, and so I slept shivering in my sleeping bag...
But that cathedral... well, with that cathedral, I can forgive Burgos anything. I'll be back. But next time I'm staying in a hostel ;-)