Today’s distance: 23.3 km
Total distance: 283.4 km.
Elevation gain: 366 metres
Weather: Sunny and cool
Highlight: Sheena and Sandra
A Camino angel handed me a banana at the albergue in Ages this morning as I was leaving. He must have foreseen my need for it later. I skipped the bar in Atapuerca which was just 2.5 km away from Ages, having decided to eat breakfast in the small village of Orbaneja, 5.5 km further on. The place I remember eating/sleeping at in Orbaneja on our first Camino seems to have gone out of business, however, and there was no bar or store to buy food before Burgos. That banana turned out to be a godsend!
Near the entrance to the Burgos suburbs, a young girl who had been sitting in the shade under a card table popped up when I approached. She had a small selection of snacks and drinks by donation, so I got a bag of “Cocktail Mambo” from her to tide me over until I got some proper food. I’m very glad I chatted with her because she pointed the way to the riverside walk into Burgos. I had heard about that more pleasant approach to Burgos but didn’t know exactly where it was. If you miss the turnoff, it is a long walk along the highway, around the airport, and through the never-ending industrial suburbs – pavement walking for more than 8 km, I think.
The first part of the walk before reaching the river was around the airport fence and could be described as boring. But it turned out to be good because it was in that section I met Sheena and Sandra, two young ladies who had met each other on the Camino and who are now good friends. We walked the rest of the way into Burgos together and had an enjoyable conversation that (among other things) touched on the topic of what we can take away from the Camino and incorporate into our Western way of life to improve it. The way people are willing to help others unbidden is most noticeable.
The riverside walk truly was beautiful: cool in the shade of towering trees, ducks trying to swim against the rapids and then giving up and letting the river take them downstream, etc. The walk led all the way into the city centre. Although it was lovely, we kept saying we’re nearly there but it went on for longer than we hoped. We were pretty much “done” for the day and were ready to put our feet up,
Once we were in the city centre and caught sight of the multiple spires of the cathedral, we knew we had made it.
We easily found our way to the municipal albergue behind the cathedral. It is a big facility which is spacious, well organized, and has an excellent kitchen if you want to cook. They have arranged the sleeping quarters well with two bunk beds end to end, separated by cupboards. Each set of beds/cupboards is divided from the next set by a wall providing a sense of privacy. There is a basin at the end of each set so there was no lineup of people waiting to perform their ablutions in the morning. The cost of accommodation here didn’t break the bank at 6 Euros – pretty amazing!
If you are not up to cooking, bars are always a fun place to go in the evenings to watch Spanish families, friends, and their dogs socialize. The bar across from the albergue was crowded but the waiter found me a chair at a table where two women from South Korea were seated. All three of us were taking photos of the action. What was most enchanting was the little girl on the floor under the bar who occupied herself very well. Music was playing and the atmosphere was upbeat with people moving to the music and giving each other the “bump.” Remember that? The food wasn’t bad and it served its purpose.