Happy Camino Birthday in Burgos and a Day Off Walking
Miles of walking and flying away from family and old friends, Heather celebrated her latest birthday with her new found “family”.
Burgos Part 2 and Happy Birthday Time.
Hallo, Tuesday I think, 3rd August.
And I am up to date with ALL e-mails. That´s an achievement, and I owe its accomplishment to the fact that a) other people have siestas and b) I´m just doing short 20km days, so am arriving by afternoons. Not all refuges have coin-in-the-slot Internet.
Well, these 20km days feel like a stroll in the park as I think I´ve already said to someone. As if I haven´t done anything.
Let´s go back to Burgos – my head is full of exciting things to tell and you know how I can get sidetracked! As you remember I collapsed into Ulrike and Alessandro´s arms, a gibbering wreck, at a bridge in Burgos. Now, I meant to find the municipal refuge near the cathedral but Ulrike said she would take me to the one they were staying in. Ok.
It was cool, tiled, big, comfortable beds, good showers……dark, depressing, heavy, very religious. The very nervous new hospitaleros who´d just arrived that day and didn´t seem to speak anything I understood showed me the timetable. 7.00 help prepare meal. 7.30 Mass. 8.00 meal. So, just wanting to drink a gallon of juice, eat and collapse onto bed after mammoth day wasn´t going to happen. I had to be polite and helpful and going to Mass as a prerequisite of getting a meal wasn´t that appealing an idea. ´Come on Heather, animo, animo – just three half hours, you can do this´. I got through Mass. I sat down to eat. Funny, the table was set for about twenty and there were just four of us. Then a troupe of females in pink tops, emblazoned with ´Les Gaucheries´and the shell emblem of The Camino walked in, speaking French. I thought maybe it was a dance troupe. There were three males, one a boy one a man, in red T shirts similarly inscribed and another man in no úniform´at all.
You know those times you just want to be quiet, not have to talk, just do what you have to and then sleep? Well, I was just too curious. I asked the older woman (pink T shirt) in perfect French what kind of organisation they were. She said they were one family. I tried again – so are you dancing the Camino? (no, I didn´t ask that but it would have seemed reasonable) and she said no, they were all her children. Now my French is ok. But I did doubt myself. I turned to Alessandro, whose English is limited to say the least. ´Did I hear right´? Yes, it seemed like that. This couple had NINE daughters and one son. And they were doing a section of The Camino. And the next morning Maman came to breakfast and kissed each one and they all said ´Bonjour Maman´in turn and they were a beautiful family and ….too good for me, if you know what I mean. The whole place was too good for me. And too dark. Let me OUT!!!
I needed to stay another day in Burgos and you´re not allowed to stay more than one night. Ukrike said she was sure they would let me stay. NOT ON YOUR LIFE!!! Get me out of here! I was seriously depressed! I needed sunshine and bad people!
In the fresh air. And it´s my birthday. And I met Gianluca and Alessandro at a bar and we had morning coffee and I told them it was a special day. Then I saw Nathalie, sadly going back to France back to work and we said goodbye and hugged. I went round the magnificent cathedral and then saw David, breakfast and then we went to book in at the municipal Albergue. Everywhere, I heard ´Happy Birthday´ In French, Spanish, English……people I hadn´t seen for days. Hugging and Happy Birthday-ing and ´How did you know-ing and hey! It was wonderful! And my three lovely children also got in touch and Roanne rang! And life is good!
Burgos is a fine and beautiful city with a great sense of humour, an awesome cathedral and The Musuem of Human Evolution. My first museum – quick re-invention as a tourist and I spent three hours there. The River Alanzon revealed great treasures in terms of discoveries in its underground terrain and Burgos has done it proud in terms of a space-age fabulous museum. These discoveries are of world-wide significance and if I hadn´t been so pigheadedly intent on covering miles the other day, I might have stopped in Atapuerca where the discoveries were made.
I went to Mass at night. A big disappointment – no music. I have to tell you where I stand on this – considering myself non-religious but completely in awe at the magnificence of the cathedrals, the work that went into them, how every single wall, ceiling, floor, window is covered, how beautiful church music is, the light through the stained glass windows…. and I think it´s a good thing to go as they always mention The Camino and the Pilgrims in the services.
Now I have to go because I have seen a little castle on a hill and I´d just like to run up there.
Thank you for all the emails – you´ve no idea how long it takes to keep up with all this but it is WONDERFUL! Ray´s done a blog for me! They´re all up on the internet. Yikes!
More on the next computer I get to!
Take care everyone
Life is good!!
Adios, hasta luego, tout a l´heure
Now I’ve no idea where Heather has sent this report from, but I include a clip from a Google map of the line of hostels across Northern Spain. I think the route is pretty obvious in rough terms. Burgos shows up by the pin labelled D.