Day 15 (to Burgos): A Spanish Troubadour

Today I started around 8 am after …

2014-04-18 10.07.23
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everyone got up. Although I feel much better this morning I decided to do another day of only 13km (how weird that would’ve sounded pre-Camino) in order to avoid repeating yesterday’s mistake, when I hastened up my pace too soon. It seemed like a better idea then forcing Burgos yesterday and taking a rest day there (like many pilgrims did) … I wanted to keep moving onwards.

Along the village road a Brit (judging by his accent) is selling Compeed for 1€ … seems much cheaper then in what I paid for it in France (precautionary supplies, thankfully I didn’t need them) .., fortunately I didn’t need it. If he were selling an ice pack with multiple usage feature that would be another thing … I wonder if there is anything like that.

Today I am walking with Matt and Lynn. Matt is an Australian walking with his parents (waiting for him in Burgos to catch up) and Lynn is a psychiatric nurse from Canada. Since she works with more serious patients, I asked her how does she deal with more aggressive ones (since she is not so physically imposing). She says that’s actually an advantage because she is not perceived as a threat … though occasionally she needs assistance from her more muscular colleagues.

There are two routes to Burgos, standard one and alternative one. The standard one passes through the industrial zone, that is described in most guidebooks as a combination of the Twilight Zone and the Dark Side of the Moon. The alternative one passes along the river through a nature preserve. Last night and this morning I explained in detail to other pilgrims what is alternative route and how to find it.
Naturally this morning I walked right pass the required turn, missing it completely … and it took me a few hours to figure out the oversight.

The dreaded industrial zone turns out to be a typical suburb area of a major European city … car dealerships, shopping centres, some industry. The Way is following the main road for a while, but fortunately the traffic is light.
Right … managed to survive this part as well and my ankle is not acting up … much … so I keep a semblance of a regular pace.

Boy, oh boy … that Burgos sure does stretch over quite a distance … miles and miles. Since today is a holiday everything is closed, and there aren’t that many people on the streets. A couple of passerby toss a few Buen Camino’s my way, which I found a bit unusual for larger cities.
There are few yellow arrows pointing the Way because the direction remains the same … straight ahead … until a larger avenue that needs to be crossed … then after a few streets to the right a signs points to municipal albergue (still way ahead). I stopped to take the picture of the sign  and a helpful gent points the right direction … thinking I was lost. Thanks but I know my way … this time. A couple of peregrinos pass me by and I spot the remains of the city walls … that means I must be close to the center.

From a distance I hear a sound of a street musician (first of many with violin, guitar, harmonica …) so I took a short video. The streets are getting more narrow, more medieval-like. I keep to the center, assuming the old town is a pedestrian zone … and it is … except for delivery vehicles. One such just hit the gas pedal … startling the few passerby. An older gent shakes his head at the driver and comments … what I assume is along the lines of … what is wrong with that guy.
I am trying to find a small church albergue because my guidebook calls the municipal one … cold and impersonal … not for me then. Its not the first but the second street to the right. At first I thought I missed the street number until I figured out the numbers go the other way.
And so here I am at Burgos albergue at 12:30.

There is a crowd at the entrance because the church and the albergue share the same entrance. Some want in, some want out …  and only one side of the door is open. I stood aside, waiting for the crowd to thin out a bit. Suddenly somebody grabs my shoulder from behind and starts shouting …. “hey peregrino is here … make room for the peregrino…” I am bit embarrassed at the treatment … it reminds me of a medieval herald announcing nobility.
The little albergue is right above the church and my herald somebody turns out the to be Jose Manuel, the hospitalero. There is room at the albergue but not on lower bunks … which I prefer since my ankle started acting up.

The albergue has … among others … Jim from Canada,  Hyn Ju (Ginny’s friend from Ventosa), Tong Kok (Totong is his nickname), Nan Jon and Jan from Holland. Jan is a jazz fan, founder of Rotterdam jazz museum and former ballet director. Wears a t-shirt with s sign … every day is a day with Bach .. .as he plays it on a small radio. Mentions that Bach the elder had lot of kids … which means he had two major hobbies in life.

After a brief recuperation I went out for a lunch. The streets are filled with sun and people. … bars and restaurants are overcrowded.
The main square is in front of the massive cathedral, not as tall as it is spacious. I ran into Frida who is taking a rest day here, then Maren who is taking a bus to Leon since she’s got tight schedule for the Camino.

Looking for a good place to have lunch. Thee first place I sat at has free tables and slow waiters, so I moved on. The next one is crowded which could indicate good food … and so it does … better service too. I got an ice pack so I treat my ankle at the cathedral steps. More people are gathering inside… right, lets go and see.

The cathedral is huge from the inside as well, with a series of small chapels from each side and a large section inn the middle where a Good Friday service is just about to start. Behind the bishop and the priest an even larger golden altar construction then the one I saw at Santo Domingo de la Calzada.
Around 20:30 a procession of local religious fraternities is supposed to start, so I head back to the albergue, whose windows offer a good view of the marching route.

A German girl takes the last free space at the albergue. The Korean girls are celebrating the 26th birthday of one of them, and offer wine. When I returned 3 seconds later with my 0.5l cup they are a bit shocked … but just a sip is good enough for me.
No procession yet, but Jose Manuel starts a guitar concert at the albergue steps…. Besame mucho, followed by some Spanish tunes. Then he starts playing a song in Spanish … whose tune I am sure I know but can’t remember the name … All Shook Up by Elvis, Jim reminds me.
The concert ends with a huge applause and everyone gets ready for bed.

And just when everyone was comfortably tucked in their beds …

dozens of drums and trumpets started thundering right outside. The procession has started and everyone has moved to the windows. Down the street, fraternities marched in double file in traditional capes and hoods … all in different colours. Each group pushes a large cart with constructed scenes from the Passion of Christ.
It went on for a while until I returned back to sleep.

That was day no. 15.

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