Camino de Santiago, Day 12
Agés to Burgos 13.5 Miles
This article is the eleventh in our series of walking 500 miles on the Camino de Santiago with my husband Scott. Some articles will be only about one day of walking, and some may include a few days of walking, for the lengths will vary. To begin with the first article click here.
Sleeping dorm style last night didn’t end up being as bad as I had imagined. Of course, I had to wander my way down the hall to the bathroom a couple times in the night, but there were no issues. It was warm, so I slept on top of my sleeping bag. The only negative I can think of, is when the first early bird pilgrim decides to get up and head out for the day, everyone else is woken up, even if it’s 6:00 a.m.
The Early Morning Start
Scott and I started down the road in the dark, carefully watching for the yellow arrows.
We saw the young school teacher from Belgium standing alone on the side of the road. Usually, she was with her friend, so we asked where she was. She explained that her friend was out of time on the Camino and had just left to hitchhike back to Belgium! Alone! Oh wow, we were surprised, but she was very nonchalant about it and said they hitchhike frequently and have never run into trouble. We decided to nickname her Miss. Belgium, since she was young, alone and from Belgium and her name was too difficult to say. We told her we would see her around, and we were on our way again.
The first hour we walked along a two-lane road, until we turned off and started hiking up a steep and rocky trail. What a great way to warm those muscles up! Part way up the hill, the sun began to rise and we tried to take a few decent pictures.
As we made our way to the top of the mountain, we saw a large cross on the crest of the ridge. The views on the other side were gorgeous and we could see the general area of the city we were walking toward.
As we slowly made our way down the rocky hillside, we came upon a cafe for breakfast. It was warming up, so we sat outside in the sunshine to rest our sore feet.
Scott went inside to buy cafe con leche for us, and returned with two large cups. Usually, the coffees were much smaller, so this was a great treat. Scott said the food selection was the best he had seen, and he brought out a huge custard filled pastry for us to share!
As we enjoyed our breakfast, pilgrims were coming and going. We saw the ladies from Canada, as well as Miss Belgium.
Scott: As we have been walking the Camino, many people have inspired us. Sometimes, it was because of their advanced age or, maybe a person’s determination fighting pain from an injury. Sometimes it was a person overcoming a physical disability.
We had heard there was a blind man ahead of us who was walking the Camino with his guide dog, as well as his wife. At breakfast, they walked up and sat at the table next to us. We introduced ourselves and had a nice conversation, and he told us his story. He had suffered a head injury in the Vietnam War, which left him blind. Watching him walk with his guide dog was so inspiring; to have a goal to walk the Camino and not let anything stop him. It involved so much teamwork from all: man, woman and a dog.
After our quick break and one more pastry, we were back on the road…literally. Even quiet country roads took a toll on our feet and we couldn’t wait to arrive at our next destination: The city of Burgos!
But first, we walked many miles of pavement, passing near the airport, and finally along the beautiful river walk next to the River Arlanzón. We walked the last hour on miles of riverwalk with a couple we had just met, who were actually friends with the couple with the guide dog. It was peaceful walking by the river, but our feet were killing us and we were ready to be finished for the day.
As we crossed the river and entered the old town section of the city, we were impressed by the charm of Burgos. There were pretty bridges and elaborate statues throughout the town.
Scott immediately wanted to stop and find any hotel. He was finished for the day, but hadn’t told me that he was in pain because he had developed shin splints. I thought he was only tired, so we pushed on.
The Camino always passed by the church of each town. We liked to find it first to use as a base before finding a place to stay. The Cathedral of Saint Mary of Burgos was where we would stop to get our bearings, and then we could find a place to sleep. As we approached the cathedral, we were in absolute awe of its beauty. The gothic spires were so dramatic. It was amazing.
Scott and I had decided to take a full rest day in Burgos. We were going to spend two nights in the city! After checking a couple of hotels which were already full, we finally found one with a room available. Unfortunately, they were booked for the second night, so we would need to move hotels and make other arrangements. We didn’t care, we were just happy to have a nice place to sleep for the night. Our room was two stories and very nice! Downstairs was a living room and bathroom and upstairs was the bedroom with another bathroom.
The first thing we did was send our laundry out to be cleaned. The second thing we did was pull out everything we wanted to mail back home. The third thing? We got a map of the city and spent 30 minutes walking around town trying to find the Post Office!
The Post Office
At last, we found it, and with a little bit of help from the staff, we were able to send home four pounds worth of gear. My sleeping bag and hiking sandals were included, as well as a few items of Scott’s clothing. We were becoming very minimal.
It felt like a huge burden had been lifted, and it put my full pack weight closer to ten pounds, which was an immediate and huge difference.
As we walked around the city, we found a small restaurant tucked in next to the cathedral. It was advertising margaritas! Scott and I were very excited! What a nice change from red wine. It was a gorgeous spot to sit, as it was on the patio next to the cathedral. We enjoyed margaritas, small cheese and ham filled fried dumplings. One of the problems I was running into on the Camino, was I felt I needed to reward myself (a lot) after all of the walking each day. So, we were eating, drinking and not making healthy choices.
End of the Day
Later I was so wiped out, I went to bed and slept 12 hours straight! I even missed going out to dinner with Scott!
Day 12, 13.5 Miles