Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Burgos - 490 km....A Day Without Boots

Decided to take a rest day in Burgos today, not only to give my feet and legs a small break, but also to see the city. The cathedral is absolutely amazing, and this morning I visited a really old monastery (where 30 nuns still live, cloistered) that was just incredible. It´s been very cold (which is great for walking...the backpack is so light when you´re wearing all of your clothes!) but it´s supposed to warm up in the next couple of days. Tomorrow I start the meseta, which is basically flat and full of nothing from here until Leon.

Now, as promised, here are some of the people I´ve been spending time with:

Jose Maria, aka Chema: He´s a ¨professional pilgrim,¨ has done the camino every year since 1993 either on bike or on foot or as a volunteer in one of the hostels, and is basically my tour guide and my ¨padre espanol.¨ He´s a retired bank director and seems to just spend all of his time having fun and traveling. His wife is coming next week to walk with him for a few days. It´s really hard to describe him, but he´s hilarious. And, without meaning to, we´ve had more than a few people thinking that we actually are father and daughter.

Paco and Coldo: Father and son, Basques, so funny. Paco is 60, has had a knee replacement, and walked WAAAYYYY faster than me for the week that he was doing the camino (a lot of people, Spaniards especially, do just a week or two at a time when they have vacation). I could hardly understand anything they said because of their accents, but I think most of the time they were just yelling and swearing and telling off-color jokes.

The Four French Ladies: They´ve been doing a week at a time every year for ten years, starting 2000 km away in France. Woah.

JeanClaude: A French millionare, very jolly and rotund, except when he´s yelling at someone for not understanding his French. He started in January in France also, has already done 1400 km. He says that it makes him feel less masculine when I walk faster than him, but I told him that when I´m 61 like him, I hope I can walk at all, never mind 2000 km...

Jose Antonio: Brazilian guy that spends his summers in Bar Harbor working in a hotel. He´s very sweet and funny, but a little bit dangerous with the vino, always pouring more and. Chema and I named him El Peligro for this reason.

There are many more, but I don´t have much more time now. If you want to try to picture what our dinners are like, we´re all yelling at each other in 4 or 5 languages, those who can trying to translate, and using a lot of pointing an gestures, everybody enjoying the food and company. Somehow, it works.


  1. wonderful imagery; thanks for keeping us posted - Michael

  2. sounds like dinner while we were growing up . . . the only constant was John would have P&J