The First Meseta

April 13, 2015
Burgos to Hornillos del Camino (Population 60)
8:43 AM to 1:59 PM5 hrs 16 min for 21.53 km

image image image imageWe took the tour of the Burgos Cathedral with individual audio sets. We did not listen to every channel as after an hour or so our teeth were starting to chatter. We needed down clothing to stay longer. What an amazing treasure trove of art, history and talent. Those bishops who had chapels made to house their alabaster tombs had certainly accumulated incredible wealth. No vows of poverty there. There are 21 chapels around the periphery of the main cathedral, each with very different style and many, many stone carvings of saints, angels and/or gargoyles, there must have been a multitude of talented stone carvers. The minute detail is stunning, so lifelike. The highest vaults shone with eight pointed and six pointed stars. A large rosetta of stained glass covered the wall above the main entrance. A visit worth making.

We are not city folks, but I could enjoy spending time in Burgos. The squares are so inviting. A very old carrousel kept children and adults enchanted. A river and park run through it. We did not have time for a tour on the small open red train that took people on a history tour of the city. Adults sat on the broad expanse of cathedral steps while children skipped up and down them. The outdoor cafes were full of chatter and smiles in the Sunday sunshine.

We took our time rising this morning and had another hot bath. Yes, everywhere we have been has had very hot water.

We had breakfast in the cathedral square, our regular: cafe con leche, freshly squeezed orange juice and egg tortilla for 3:20 euros each.

Our hour long walk out of Burgos was very pleasant: past centuries old well cared for row houses lined the hill that descended from the cathedral, then through a large walled park and through the university grounds. Outside of Burgos we passed fields of trefoils in one of which five storks were finding breakfast. The next phase took us through construction sites for overpasses. Our path did lots of zigzagging to eventually take us under the mesh of highways. It was 11 km before there was a village to stop for coffee/hot chocolate and sock change.

The next six kilometres was a steady but gentle continuous climb to the meseta. There was a lovely picnic spot in this section where there were actually a few shade trees and picnic tables and a water pump that worked.

Walking across the meseta was hit and dry. The sky is more visible than the land as it is quite flat. The soil is the colour of cement and the grains planted there are still quite short. Piles of limestone rocks line parts of the trail, an attempt to save tractor, and equipment.

Mule killer hill was not as steep a descent as yesterday; so, Brian’s knee was happy.

We have arrived at our Albergue, De Sol A Sol in the little hamlet of Hornillos del Camino. Although our quarters are smaller than yesterday, and there is no tub, we still enjoyed our hot showers in our private bath. We are once again in bunk beds, but the bedding is comfortable. There are clotheslines to hang our laundry on, a courtyard and comfy living room in which to sit. The inn is full! We are glad I phoned ahead yesterday. The enterprising owner biked up to the meseta to advertise his place. He succeeded. Brian just told me the owner just phoned ahead to book us a good deal in our next stop.

Shawn, I think you would enjoy biking in this country, but I would not. No bike seat is comfy enough, but I did see a peloton of grey haired cyclists doing the Camino the other day and noticed a number of them with electric motors. That is the only way I would make it up a hill. I think the cobblestone and loose stone paths would be hard on tires as well as the cyclists, we have mostly seen solitary cyclists or pairs a few times in a day.

The sign across from our albergue says we have 469 kilometres to Santiago! We are getting there! James and Danielle took an extra day to enjoy Burgos. They have a week more than we do before their return to Canada.

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