Remember here where I told you I should have paid more attention to the alternative route into Burgos? I thought about it, but, rather than venture off the route and risk getting lost, I figured it was better to just stay with the yellow arrows. The problem was though, that there were several places where the arrows where conflicting. Some small villages try to get pilgrims to pass through and put up their own arrows. Anyway you look at it, I took the very longest and, especially in the latter portion, the most industrial path possible to get into Burgos. All things together it was almost 35 km on the road that day (that's over 21 miles). Long, long day.
This means that you are on the right track--I generally had to consult my guide to make sure that's what the mark meant though.
A nice flat trail to start the day
By this point in the Camino things had started to get painful. I forgot that previously one of the things that made me hesitant about doing the Camino was the lingering question of whether my ankles would hold up. For a while the icyhot was doing the trick. Then it came time for the ankle brace. I experimented with lots of things, finding that the brace/sandals/sock combo worked. For a little while...until I got a blister and had to jam a piece of folded up map under my toes to cushion it. Did I mention that the Camino was not glamorous?? No shame.
Some stonehenge-y type things (ha, I remember weighing whether it was worth walking the 10 extra steps to look at them)
In this tiny town things got complicated. Yellow arrow means go. Red and white X means you are going the wrong way. And here you have both. Confusion. I ended up getting lost and walking all around this stupid little town.
You see this here? This is like a trail full of land mines for people with bad ankles (me) or knees (my Brazilian friend Igor who was walking with me at this point). Steep and rocks everywhere.
Finally to the top
The vista was quite hermosa
After hiking though a half dozen small towns, hours alongside a busy highway, walking around an entire airport--even having to walk through construction and wet tar at one point, and the excruciatingly long time it took to get from the outskirts of Burgos into the center, we made it to the albergue! (Which was so nice!) Also nice was that some of the people who were ahead of me from my first few days were at the albergue--The one that sticks out the most was Michel from France.
After showers, laundry and dinner several of us went to the pilgrim's mass at the cathedral. Being at a service in that building--even though mass is held in a small chapel--was an experience in itself. Afterwards I was going to make a trip to the bus station to check times for buses to Cantabria and head back to the hostel to hit the sack (it was almost 9:00 after all!). In the end I got talked into going out for tapas. Almost all of us had decided to take the next day off from walking and spend a whole day in Burgos to take in the sights of the city and to rest a bit, so a little extra fun was in order. An incredibly mixed group we had a great time and, as I recall, barely made it back into the hostel before curfew.
Vino y tapas! Nationalities going around the table from left to right: Brazilian, Israeli, American, South African, Spanish, Brazilian, Brazilian and Italian. Alejandro (Madrid) and Igor (Brazil) are somewhere...probably one is taking the picture...and the other is gone for refills! (Picture stolen from Roberta's blog)
More on Burgos in the next post, but I might as well go ahead and say that Burgos was a highlight of the Camino for me. It was so draining getting there, but we all had such a good time in the beautiful city.