Camino Day 15: Atapuerca to Burgos 20km

Our pilgrim gang of 6 woke up in Atapuerca to a cool and fresh morning. Autumn is on its way here and the temperatures come down as we move westwards.

Below is the outdoor area of the albergue in Atapuerca.

Los Peregrinos were on the Camino before 8am. And there were sheep…

…and more sheep…

…before we reached the top of a hill. There were stunning views and long shadows in the early morning light.

Study of hiking poles.

At the top of Cruz de Matagrande / Punto de Vista at 1050 meters, you find this cross on rocks…

…and an old rusty Camino sign. They are adorable these old metal signs.

Yes, the cross. No explanation on site or in the guidebook of the significance of the cross. But it sure looked good there in the early morning light.

Further west, there was an inspirational sign in Spanish with Burgos in the background. Well, Margha told us that it was inspiring. My knowledge of Spanish does not reach that far for me to translate it myself.

Burgos was visible from a distance early in the day. As I told my fellow pilgrims, I was not sure whether that was a good thing or a bad thing.

In the “team photo” below, the pilgrim gang has now expanded to 7. Photo was taken by a bypassing Brazilian pilgrim. From left to right;

  • Ben from Cairns via Melbourne, Australia;
  • Sophie from Germany;
  • Aaron from Manchester, UK;
  • Me;
  • Margha from Majorca, Espania;
  • Win from Brisbane via the Cook Islands and NZ;
  • Burt from Rotterdam, The Netherlands, the new guy on the block at the tender age of 72.

Burt told me a great story of something that happened to him back in the 70s.

Burt has worked on cruise ships and he had been all over the world. In Osaka, Japan, late one night from 2am to 4am, Burt had a few glasses of alcohol in a rooftop bar. He started chatting to a friendly bloke about anything and everything. Just another foreigner there all by himself, from somewhere else.

As Burt took the lift down to the lobby the following morning, there were plenty of people hanging there. Many young and excited people. Burt asked in the reception what was going on.

The receptionist told Burt that Eric Clapton was in town, had done a concert last night, stayed at the hotel and would soon leave.

The lift doors then opened and out walked Burt’s drinking buddy from last night. Surrounded by security. Yes, Burt had been drinking with Eric Clapton for 2 hours without ever recognizing him.

20 years later, Burt worked at the Sports Palast in Rotterdam, a stadium arena for top bands and the like.

Eric Clapton arrived and Burt sought him out at the premises.

First, Eric did not first recognise Burt. No surprises there. Burt then recalled what they spoke about all those years ago. Now Eric remembered. He said that it was the first ever conversation with him which didn’t include discussing any music. Something that Eric was much grateful for.


Back to current day and the Camino…

We had a late breakfast stop at a roadside cafeteria and I had a bacon and egg bread roll and an americano.

Bacon for the first time since I arrived in Europe. It was delicious. How could it not be after such a long time without it?

Getting into central Burgos was a long slug on hard surfaces and along busy roads. Not pretty at all. Noisy too.

First, the Camino circled Burgos Airport. Then through a rundown industrial area with many businesses for lease or for sale. To finish off with endless rows of crappy apartment blocks which definitely seen better days.

That was several hours of uninspiring walking. It got so bad that several of us pilgrims contemplated bypassing Burgos altogether. Others jumped onto buses. I persisted.

The most interesting we saw was this almost Art Deco restaurant. It wouldn’t look out of place in many South East Asian countries.

Finally, arrival in the old town of Burgos. Which looked a lot better than its outskirts.

We checked into a central hotel called Hotel Norte y Londres as Margha negotiated a good deal for us all.

One 3 beds room and one 2 beds room at a little over 21€ per person. A proper bed each, with bed linen and towels and space. A private bathroom. Sheer luxury.

Margha was leaving the Camino for a few days. Burt had already taken a bus ahead of us and he had checked in at the local albergue. The rest of us stayed at the hotel.

Later, Margha, Win and I had a delicious “menú del día” at this restaurant while the others went for… a drink. Or two.

Post lunch, we found the others drinking at Plaza Mayor.

At one point, Aaron ordered patatas bravas. Hmm… what arrived looked like fries to me so it must be patatas fritas. Well, I recall that Aaron did eat it.

No visit inside Burgos Cathedral for me today but here are a few pics from the outside. The cathedral is huge and impressive from the outside. Mañana to check out the inside.

Today’s “The Way” filming spot is this restaurant. This is where Tom gets his backpack stolen from the outside by a gypsy kid.

Hmm… There is something not quite right here…

Later in the afternoon, I took a 15mins walk to a launderette with the boys collective dirty washing. The hotel recommended this place below.

The lavanderia and its surrounding area looked suburban even though it was not far from the town centre.

Washing and drying the bag of dirty pilgrim clothes cost 15€. The whole lot would then be delivered back to our hotel the next morning. A deal, although it was a bit pricey.

Rio Arlanzon is the trickle of a river running through Burgos. There were plenty of bridges crossing it and this one has become yet another love bridge. With locks.

Great view from our window on the first floor of Hotel Norte y Londres.

I will have a rest day in Burgos tomorrow. Check out the inside of Burgos Cathedral and whatever else the town has to offer.

More than 1/3 of the Camino de Santiago to Santiago de Compostela is now completed.

287km walked. 498km left to walk after Day 15

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