Walking the Camino de Santiago - Part 2: To Burgos
Macs Adventurers Martin and Jean from Australia began their walk of the Full Camino de Santiago, from St Jean Pied de Port on the French-Spanish border, across Spain to Santiago in North West Spain.
Martin was kind enough to share his Camino diary with Macs Adventure. Here is the abridged version of Part 2 of his tale, or look through Martin's gallery of photographs from their journey. If you've not read Part One of the Tale, do so now! Enjoy Martin's Camino Part 2.
Logrono to Burgos
Day 9: The demographics even seemed to have changed, with few Canadians, and just a couple of Australians. Met a Lorna today, from Coolangatta on the Gold Coast—just a weeks walk away from where we live on the Sunshine Coast. As you can see, one tends to adopt a new unit of measure for distance after some time on the Camino. She, too, has booked with Macs Adventure, so we will probably see a lot more of her this week.
Jean's left thigh is still tender, so she took a taxi to avoid the very rocky bits at the end of the stage, but still ended up doing a substantial walk. I plodded on the whole 30km, and met up with her at our hotel in Najera, in surprisingly good shape.
Had a wonderful steak for dinner, with marinated red pepper and artichokes with Serono ham. Dessert was one of the best creme caramels I have ever had. Plus a wonderful 2004 Rioja Riserva. All those hard won calories lost during the walk were put back with just one meal.
Day 10: We left Najera at 7.45, before sunrise—the time zone in Spain is way out of kilter, exacerbated by daylight saving. Anyway, we walked the 6km to Azofra in light mist in the company of an interesting young woman from Brazil, and a retired Dutchman. We must have made an odd quartet, but the time/kms passed by quickly. After a cup of coffee in Azofra, we went our separate ways. This chance meeting of people is one of the
attractions of the Camino.
Day 11: A first for me. I was served breakfast this morning by Nuns! Nothing new to Jean, but a novelty for me. I did notice that everyone in the dining room were on their best behaviour, with no complaints. "Are you enjoying your breakfast?" "Yes". "Do you want anything else?" "No thank you". They do run a tight but good ship.
Today's 22km walk was the dullest of the trip so far. We walked on a track adjacent to the highway virtually all of the way, except for a couple of diversions into some smaller towns. I was so looking forward to walking through La Rioja, but I do believe that my desire was driven more by my palate!
By-the-way, we have come across many of these mountainous haystacks all along the route. We almost expected a mad Irishman with writers block to come bounding out from behind a haystack (for those of you who have seen the movie, "The Way"). I am sure they are from the straw after the wheat has been harvested. Sort of matches Jean's hat, don't you think?
Day 12: Definitely much quieter on the Camino this week, except that there seem to be a lot more bikes. They can be a real pain, as most of them bear up on you without ringing their bell or calling out—next thing you are having to scramble out of their way. Jean's thigh is holding up, but still troubling her a little. The rest day in Burgos should help.
Day 13: "Mad dogs and Pilgrims go out in the midday sun" - apologies to Mr Coward. It was a long hot 30km today to Atapeurca. At least we passed through extensive oak and pine forests where we got some relief from the sun. It even made the steep ascents and descents more bearable. A stark contrast to the monotony of yesterday.
Gone are the vineyards, but we are now into sunflower country. They are past their beautiful golden yellow peak, but that hasn't stopped some walkers using the seed heads as a canvas for some simple roadside art.
The last 2.5km was a plod along the road to our hotel which is another quaint Casa Rural called Papasol. Old, rustic, but well renovated and comfortable. Will partake of the pilgrim's meal tonight as we couldn't be bothered looking for anything else. Enjoyed dinner with Michelle, a lovely lady from Quebec, who sadly leaves after Burgos.
Day 14: The 20km to Burgos is rather dull. It starts with a clamber up a steep rocky path to the hills above Atapeurca. The Archaeological Site here is world famous for fossils and stone tools of the earliest known hominids in Europe that were found here, dating to between 780,000 and 1 million years ago. Several remains of the Homo heidelbergensis were found, the predecessor to the Neanderthal.
We passed on by, as we could see the large town of Burgos down in the valley. Our indirect route to the town took forever, and then it was into the industrial area. Fed up with the sight of factories, we hopped in a cab, and arrived at our hotel in style, not too far from their most impressive cathedral. I even needed to get my extra wide lens to capture the vastness of it, with all it's architectural styles.
Day 15: Dinner last night was in the hotel, where the English translation of the menu was interesting. I should not poke fun at genuine attempts to help us tourists, but we had to chuckle at some of the dishes. Like Nuddless with creamy cheese, touch of soy & gratted Iberian pork, or Grilled trout loins, glazed grape spit & 3 peppers lightness. Food was good though.
The rain set in last night, and we woke to a wet morning—thank god we are not walking. Lorna from Coolangatta is still with us, and her American friend. Because of the weather we visited Burgos Cathedral and Museum. If you think the outside is grand, the interior is even more impressive.
Took the opportunity while here to have a haircut. With some miscommunication, I ended up with a military style cut, much to Jean's mirth. At least my new tin friend didn't seem to mind.