Camino de Santiago - page 5
Table of Contents:
A Pilgrim's Progress: Fr. Stephen Sanchez, OCD, on the Camino de Santiago – 2018 - page 5
We got up around 6am and prepared to go down for breakfast which was going to be ready for us at 7am at the foot of the stairs.
Again we intended to take our time and as we ambled down for breakfast I saw that the breakfast area was the 5 x 2 area at the foot of the stairs for 7 people.
As we were finishing our breakfast of instant coffee, packaged pastries, and fruit - the cleaning lady came in and was surprised to see us still there - so once again we were shooed-out with the broom - something that was beginning to bother me on many different levels.
We hurried out - put on our walking-shoes on the porch and held council.
We decided to spend two nights in Burgos. The city is large enough for us to get Ron's feet looked at, Peter's sinus checked and to give us all a break.
Peter booked us a room - miracle of smartphones! - at a pilgrim hotel in Burgos.
Next we decided to take the bus to Burgos this eliminating the 40km walk.
We flagged down the bus roadside, put all of our backpacks and other stuff in baggage compartment under the bus and boarded the bus at around 9am at Villambistia. There were several other pilgrims on board as well.
The bus was airconditioned (Yay!), and had Wifi (Yay! Again). I secretly wished the trip would last for hours so that I could catch up on sleep - it's been forty-some-odd years since I've shared a room with anyone so it's been an experience. My knees and feet were secretly hoping this luxurious experience of transportation would take us all the way to Compostella!
Reality came crashing-in, as it usually does, and we found ourselves on the outskirts of Burgos before we knew it. We almost got off at the wrong stop, but some kindly angel told us to wait until the next stop.
The next stop was at the main bus station in Burgos.
So this trio of vagabonds clambered off, took up our backpacks and baggage and started our way out of the bus station and started to look for our lodging. Exiting the station to our right we came to face Arco de Sta. María (St. Mary's gate) the principle entryway into old Burgos. As we continue to walk we find ourselves coming into the main plaza in front of the magnificent cathedral.
We stop and take in the beauty for a few moments as people mill around us going on with their daily lives. Other backpacked pilgrims in the mix. We move on in search of our lodging. We find it a few blocks from the main square. A pilgrim hotel. We are too early to check-in and so we ask if we can unload our baggage for a while so we can sightsee until we can check-in.
Just as we off-load everything and talk about what to do next, and get some info from the receptionist, we are told that a room is ready! Guardian Angels working overtime again! We take up our things again, check-in and head upstairs - why are there always stairs?
We get to our room - spacious 12x15 room with a bathroom larger than the room we had at the Cistercian albergue. No AC but the space and bathroom make up for it.
We settled-in and then before anything else Ron and I wanted to get some Euros. This turned into a frustrating adventure. Every bank we went to we were kindly turned-away because we weren't clients! Really! A city that depends on tourism doesn't have a foreign exchange bank?
We decided to go and visit the friars instead. We got there and Fr. Ezekiel came to greet us very graciously. He gave us a tour of the compound. It is a shrine to Our Lady of Mount Carmel, two publication centers, two communities - 10 friars that serve the shrine, about 40 retired friars that are cared for by hired professionals.
I dared to ask if I could speak to the procurator (bursar) to see if he would exchange our dollars. Fr. Ezekial graciously led us to the publication bursar and exchanged our USD's! Yay!
Fr. Ezekial offered us lodging but I told him we had lodging for two nights at the pilgrim hotel. He then invited us to lunch with the community on the following day.
We left happily and went to tour the cathedral, bought a tourist pass at a reduced pilgrim price and walked up the stairs to enter the cathedral. IMMENSE!!! We were typical tourists - walking around with mouths agape and eyes as big as saucers. Beauty to make you weep. It seemed like forever to go through it all.
We exited exhausted - had some lunch in the plaza and went back to rest in our room.
We napped, showered and ventured out again. Ron and I went and found the statue of El CID, toured the Arco where some relics of El CID are kept and went back for Peter so that we could go out for dinner.
Around 9pm we dined along the river on a light meal, went further down the river and had chocolate with churros - finished around 10:15 and walked back to the room to turn-in for the night.
Happy Feast of St. James! Patron of Spain!
We got up around 8am!!! And no one was shooing us out of anywhere!!! Oh! The decadent laxity of it all!!! - visited for a bit and went down for breakfast at 9am!!! And the world didn't end, there was no apocalyptic broom to sweep us out!!!!
After breakfast we took a leisurely stroll to the cathedral for mass for mass at 11 - unfortunately it had started at 10:30, the next mass was at noon.
We went to visit the church of St. Nicholas behind the cathedral but was closed for a bit more we walked around lost each other - found each other again - toured St. Nicholas - prayed before the Blessed Sacrament for a bit, finished the tour and walked down the steps to get to mass in the Chapel of the Christ of Burgos.
After mass we decided to find a pastry shop to take to the friars for lunch and to celebrate St. James with them. We originally wanted to find a 'torta de santiago' - and almond pastry. Couldn't find a whole one so we settled for a tray of assorted pastries. Then down a few doors a bought a bottle is Spanish brandy so that the friars could celebrate.
Lunch is at 1:45, we showed-up a little early. Fr. Ezekiel came and greeted us and we presented him our gifts. I told him 'In honor of St. James I bring you a Cardinal in a box!' (The brandy is named after a Cardinal) - he laughed out loud and asked us to follow him.
We followed him upstairs into the cloister, giving us a tour along the way to the refectory, we waited in the recreation room with him as the community finished mid-day prayer.
We went into the refectory where we all introduced ourselves. We had a marvelous lunch with the friars. Towards the end they served some ice cream, the pastries we brought, coffee and a little brandy!!
After lunch, many hugs, handshakes, and well wishes later we found ourselves on the street at around 3pm with Fr. Ezekiel praying for our trip and well-being.
Both Deacons Ron and Peter thanked me profusely for the experience. We started walkouts g back to our room but we remembered that Ron needed to have his blisters checked and Peter his sinus infection checked. They went off to the clinic; I to a siesta.
They left the clinic around 6pm. Peter came back and changed so he could see a chiropractor at 7pm.
Ron came on a little later and we talked a little about having to plan the rest of the trip since there were more miles than days to walk.
We definitely had to commit to the last 117kms from Sarria - you need to walk at least 100kms for an official certificate.
Problem is that we have to cover 40kms (about 25 miles) tomorrow to get to our next lodging - Castrojeriz - with Ron's blistered feet, Peter's sinus infection and me the old man - that would highly improbable. Castrojeriz is the approximate middle-point of the camino.
We planned to walk 20kms then take a bus the last 20kms. Ron went to get a bus schedule. He walked in a few minutes later with a look of disappointment - the best laid plans of mice and man!
The only transportation to our lodging is from Burgos and it's a late bus 5:30 that would get us to our lodging at 7pm.
So that gives us an extra day here in Burgos to see what we couldn't get to today. We are so exhausted that we are not going to have dinner. At the moment I write this it is 11:30 PM.