Tag Archives: Burgos

Camino Day 15 – Burgos to Hornillos del Camino. Back on the road.

Friday 1 September 2023 – Nice as it might have been to stay on in Burgos, it was nice to get on the road this morning in the knowledge that it would be almost impossible for our next accommodation to feature a more uncomfortable bed. So it was that at 0740 we started our journey westward through the outskirts of the city. More street art of various sorts entertained us as we passed. Take note of the first one. There Will Be A Quiz later.

The pilgrim statues were annotated “Anno Jacobeo 2021”.  This refers to Holy Years, when St. James’ Day falls on a Sunday, and the last time this happened was, you guessed it, 2021.

We passed some handsome buildings which were part of the (practically ubiquitous hereabouts) University of Burgos,

the Ermita de San Amaro,

and another Rollo

before we reached the edge of the city and headed out into open country.

After a few kilometres along this path, we came to our first village, Tardajos, which has another Rollo,

several attractive buildings

and, more importantly, a coffee stop

which, being the first since Burgos, was very popular. After a quick coffee we moved on in order to let others on to our seats, only to come within the next couple of kiometres to the next vilage, Rabe, also an attractive place

featuring a nice line in murals

and another coffee stop, where I also treated myself to a beer, even though it was only just after 11am.  I don’t know whether it’s placebo, alcohol or the well-known electrolyte richness of beer, but even though the day quite quickly got quite hot, I found myself really relishing walking along. I shall have to experiment more.

At the Rabe coffee stop we got chatting to a German couple whom we had seen several times over the previous days, and are therefore, I suppose, part of our new “Camino family”. They are walking through to Santiago, but their end date is 23rd September, over a week sooner than ours, so I suppose they will soon be taking on longer stages and we will lose even this ephemeral contact.

From Rabe, thus for the last half of the walk, we followed a path through pleasant, but largely unvarying countryside (something that I expect will be a feature of the coming days).

We did have the pleasure of passing some fields of sunflowers that were actually in bloom,

a wind farm

and, at the top of a long but gentle climb, the high point of the day, at least geographically.

“Matamulos” means “Mule Slayer”, by the way. I assume that’s for the poor mules who had to navigate this the opposite way to us – much steeper

If you look carefully at the top of the cairn, you can see a single, laceless, left-hand leather boot (clearly imported from a British river bank somewhere)*

From that mirador we could see our destination, Hornillos del Camino.

The gentle climb led to quite a sharp descent, which obviously provided a test for at least one person’s knees, or quads or something.

They say that walking backwards is good for balance and co-ordination, but I am yet to be convinced about its suitability here. We were also passed by someone who was clearly A Bit Of A Character, with his dog, Pepper

and then we reached Hornillos,

where we saw this possibly encouraging sign.

Mind you, we’d passed an official waymark post some four hours earlier which told us that we had 501 km to go.  For people of our relatively advanced years, we don’t hang about, but we couldn’t walk 32km in four hours.

Our accommodation is at one end of the village, which is small, but, compared to San Juan de Ortega, is positively a metropolis, having several albergues, two bars, a restaurant and a shop, all contained within the 500 metres that it spans from end to end.

The manager of the De Sol a Sol, Samuel, made us welcome and explained the setup there. It’s simple but we found extra pillows so it’s pretty certain to be more comfortable than the Nortes y Londres in Burgos.  There are some great portraits on the walls.

Here’s the quiz I mentioned earlier…

Recognise the middle one?  It turns out that Samuel’s brother, a professional photographer, lives above that Burgos garage.

It was around 1pm when we arrived, which gave us time to explore the village and work out that we could lunch at the restaurant at around 3pm, which suited us nicely. Getting back to the hotel and being able to make ourselves a nice cup of Twining’s Finest Earl Grey also suited us very well.  Eventually, refreshed, changed and ready for lunch, we made our way to Origen, that restaurant at the far end of the village, where we had a slightly eccentric but charmingly served lunch.

Note the gear at the far end. Those eating there this evening will have live music, the lucky people!

We walked back through what is a nicely-kept village

to the hotel, where we could relax for the rest of the day, with more tea.

The stats, then.  The 21.5km we covered today brings the total to 301.8 – just over 187 miles.  If the total length of the Camino is 780km, then the inference is that we have about 480 to go, which rather lends credence to that official distance rather than what the shop sign said.

We had lovely weather today, but the outlook for tomorrow is a lot less certain.  It will be cooler (nice) but with rain currently forecast for the afternoon (not so nice).   We’re hoping a prompt start will get us to our destination, Castrojeriz, some 21km away, before the rains come. Tune in soon to find out if we avoided a soaking, won’t you?

” This is a reference to a song called “The Bedstead Men” by Flanders and Swann


Camino Rest Day 2 – Burgos. Blimey!

Thursday 31 August 2023 – We’ve had a day to decompress after the long walk yesterday and so despite yesterday’s exertions we went for a walk. Obviously.

Jane had mapped out a few Things To See and so after a very ordinary hotel breakfast (after probably the least comfortable bed of our time on this particular junket) we headed out into the streets of Burgos, which is a very handsome city.

The first stop was the cathedral, Santa Maria, which is brain-bogglingly big, and inside so extraordinarily sumptuous that I actually felt a bit offended on behalf of all of the people to whose benefit the money involved in creating this edifice did not go. But it may be that my jaundiced view was as a result of a poor night’s sleep.

Catholic cathedrals are intended, designed, to inspire awe. I found that the completely over-the-top Sagrada Familia in Barcelona did inspire that in me to some extent. Santa Maria, not. But it was still interesting to look round – and the infrastructure to guide tourists (signage, app for audio guide, etc) is very well designed and implemented.

The thing has over 12 chapels, for God’s sake! (see what I did there?), amazing stone working and other fascinating aspects.  Rather than bore you with the many, many photographs I took, I have put some of them in a Flickr album; click the image below if you would like to look through them.

Santa Maria Cathedral, Burgos

Here are a couple of photos to give you a taster.

Wandering around outside gives a few views of the place and surrounding items of interest.

The Santa Maria Cathedral is on Santa Maria Plaza, and access to that is through Santa Maria Gate.  Looking at it from the square, you see something substantial.

Walk through it and look back, though…

From there, one can walk along the Paseo, a pleasantly shaded green space

with a bandstand

and lots of statuary,

including that of four kings, who can also be seen on a bridge at the far end of the Paseo.

For the record, these are (in alphabetical order) Alfonsos VIII (1155-1214)  and X (1221-1284), Fernando III (1199-1252) and Enrique II (1334-1379). Just so you know for the quiz later.

There’s another significant figure enstatuated round the corner – El Cid, the honorific for Rodrigo Díaz de Vivar, a Castilian knight and warlord in 11th-century Spain.

There’s a huge amount to see wandering around Burgos, as befits somewhere that was once the capital of the Kingdom of Castile. Much statuary both modern and ancient

varied street art,

imposing gateways and churches,

St. Stephen’s Gate

St. Stephen’s Church

a tourist train,

and ancient city walls.

There is also a castle; we tried to get in, but it was closed. That exercised me sufficiently that I walked the 200 steps back down to the hotel to get my drone to walk back up the 200 steps to take a photo of it,

so you can now understand why it was closed. On the way, though, one passes a fantastic viewpoint over the city.

which I think is the best way to leave it – too much to see to do a splendid city justice.

We’re back to the walking thing tomorrow – 21km to Hornillos del Camino, on the first trek across the second third of the Camino – the Meseta.  The forecast is for a chilly start but a warm finish and it will be interesting to see the how different the landscape is.  To find out, check back in at some stage, won’t you?

Camino Day 14 – San Juan to Burgos: the longest walk yet

Wednesday 30 August 2023 – There were two main testing elements to today’s walk: a cold start; and a long distance.  The alarm went off at 0545, dammit, and we went through what is now quite a well-understood exercise of hygiene and re-packing of suitcases. The picnic breakfast provided for us was copious, if not refined – for each of us a bottle of (rather weird) OJ, a ham and cheese sandwich, banana, a muffin, a slice of cake, an apple and a bottle of water (single use! shock!! horror!!!). As we left at 0700, the temperature was 10°C, which is chilly, but there was little wind.

We had a little unexpected company on the track.

The horses were not the only unexpected company. Our hopes for a spell of quiet walking as the dawn broke were rudely shattered by the presence of moaning Minnie (see yesterday’s entry), who was waiting for someone – anyone, I guess – to latch on to because she was too scared to set off on her own. Hoping further that she had sorted out her blood sugar shortage and might thus be better company today also proved fruitless, as she demonstrated no real interest in talking about anyone but herself and rarely dealing in anything other than negative sentiments.

Our jaws dropped when she told us she was a nurse.

Our natural pace was greater than hers and so once it got light and we approached the next village, we strode on, glad to be once more in our own company.  After the tedium of listening to Minnie and trying to find something positive to say, although it didn’t take long to reach the next village, it seemed like Ages.

Agés is an attractive village.

We kind of wondered if it might have been a better place to stay than San Juan; on the other hand, San Juan had its charm and its monastery, and maybe the extra kilometres might not have been welcome yesterday.

The next village, Atapuerca, is upon you almost as soon as you leave Agés.

There were a couple of fields in the area where the sunflowers had not yet finished, which added a nice dash of yellow to the scenery. Atapuerca is notable for its evidence of early human occupation. Bone fragments from around 800,000 years ago, found in its Gran Dolina cavern, provide the oldest known evidence of hominid settlement in Western Europe and of hominid cannibalism anywhere in the world. It was designated a World Heritage Site in 2000.

Enough with the history, already. Atapuerca is also where the cardio segment in today’s workout begins, with a 2km ascent up a path which at times was steep and stony.

At the top is a cross, named Cruz de Matagrande on a signpost at the bottom of the hill and Cruz de Atapuerca where it matters (Google Maps). I have been unable to establish what its message is, but what tickled me was the string of boots dangling from its horizontal.

There’s a story there if only one could find it. For example, how did they even get up there? Anyway, the views from the top are pretty fine, repaying the effort of slogging up to it.

One even gets one’s first sight of today’s destination, Burgos.

That’s a decent view of the landscape. What you don’t see because of my artful construction of the image is

a sodding great (and very noisy) stoneworking factory.

Also up by the cross are a couple of enigmatic scenes.

ChatGPT translates the above as “Since the pilgrim ascended the mountains of Navarra in Burguete and saw the vast fields of Spain, he has not enjoyed a view more beautiful than this.” Sounds great, but we’re not sure we agree.

After the descent, one begins, basically, a long trek into Burgos.

There are many different and offical Camino routes into Burgos; the one we chose took us south of the airport and then along the river into the city, but there are plenty of other options.

It seems that there’s a river, Riopico, which is of sufficient pith and moment that it lends its name to multiple local villages. The first of these is Cardeñuela Riopico, which is approached via an innovative advertising hoarding.

The village gave us a refreshment stop, which, frankly, I needed, as I was quite chilled.

The village is not unattractive,

and gives a decent view over a neighbour, Quintanilla Riopico.

Walking along the road takes you to Orbaneja Riopico, the inhabitants of which have made great efforts to make the place look interesting.

Our onward route took us past a bizarre place –

just a few identical houses right by the motorway – very strange. Then we walked past the airport and crossed the mighty Riopico!

Shortly thereafter, we passed beside a fairly industrial town called Castañares, which had little to recommend it until we hit the back streets, where there were a couple of nice corners

Note the stork’s nest on the church

and then we were into a parkland trail into Burgos.

Despite the fact that we were both at the “just want to be there” stage, there were a few vignettes along the track. For example, another instance of landscape photography being deceptive: a nice bridge

as opposed to the whole scene.

By this bridge, there was an interestingly-shaped weir

which gave us some amusement as we watched the ducks near it.

The river (Rio Arianzón) gives some photogenic possibilities.

Murals on the Arianzon bridge supports

The park has an outdoor gym for young people, yes, entirely men, to show off,

and it’s good to see the efforts that the city has gone to to make a dull road bridge a nice sight.

By this stage we were near the city centre and we made our way as directly as we could to the hotel, because, after 27km, we were quite in favour of a bit of a rest.

Our hotel

offers a lovely large room and a balcony overlooking Calle San Lorenzo, one of the Happening Places should one go looking for tapas.

Which, eventually, we were.

First, though, an essential task.

The hotel didn’t have a guest laundry, but suggested that El Cid’s just down the road, might do the biz; and so it turned out. These things are important, you know.

Content in the knowledge that we had clean knickers for the next week or more, we went in search of nourishment – mainly in the form of gin, it has to be said – and found an agreeable bar, ably served, single handed, by a very competent lad

and, suitably refreshed, wandered out into the buzz of a Burgos evening. heading for the Plaza Mayor before heading back up San Lorenzo to the hotel.

Burgos has patently got Lots Of Things To See, and we have a day free of this bloody walking nonsense tomorrow.

I should update you with the stats first, though.  Today, we covered 27.1km, so the cumulative total has risen to 280.3km, or just over 174 miles. We have therefore covered more than a third of the total distance, an assertion which is borne out by various waymarks and signposts along the route, which, by the way, aren’t necessarily telling a consistent story; at one stage we walked about 200 metres along the track and the distance to Santiago had seemingly increased from 527 to 544 kilometres, However, if the total distance is 780km, one third of that is 260km and we’ve definitely covered that distance. Oh, yes.

Tomorrow, then, we will take a rest from the Camino and we will go for a walk. Obviously. And report back at some stage on the wonders of what promises to be an entertaining city. I hope you’ll join us for that.