From a big city to a big heart

We left Villasur de Herreros and the lovely Baker man behind and, with no exact destination in mind, we headed west until we reached the city of Burgos. What we saw impressed us so quickly, that we decided to make a pit stop to explore this place.

It’s directly on route to Santiago de Compostela, and we found the shell symbol in several places.

Burgos is beautifully situated on the river Arlanzón, and has quite a significant historic tale to tell. It was once the capital of the Kingdom of Castile, and is to this day the resting place for several kings and queens. Throughout the city you can find masterpieces of Spanish Gothic architecture, the cathedral St. Mary being one of them. We didn’t pay to see the whole cathedral, but what little we did see was very impressive. The sheer amount of detail alone around the entrance is quite something to behold. It’s Spain’s third largest cathedral and is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Another pretty spectacular fact is, that to the east of the city the oldest hominid fossils have been discovered. They were discovered in the late 1800s while digging a trench for a mining train and date back as far as 350,000 years.

There were a lot of statues around as well, and our favorite by far was the pilgrim sitting on the bench in front of the cathedral. Its rough look really emphasizes the physical exhaustion this pilgrims journey involves.

The old town is quite quirky and colourful, with all sorts of restaurants and different shops. One of these shops lured us in as we thought is was a grocery store, which turned into a ‘Back to the Future’ scenario as we walked deeper and deeper inside. We ended up finding old VHS cassettes of the Backstreet Boys (some of you will remember this juicy boy band, and yes I was a big fan, judge me as you will). There also were creepy dolls, very dusty glasses, nuts and bolts, a spy mask with a fake cigar,… I could go on and on. We wiggled our way out in the end, feeling slightly relieved to be… back in the future.

It was on the Plaza Mayor where we spotted quite a big crowd. We didn’t think much of it at first, but as we got closer we noticed pretty much everyone (young and old) had collectable stickers of football players. For us it was a bizarre scenario, and we didn’t quite know what to make of it. So we stood back for a short while watching what was going on, until we finally asked the person who clearly was the champ of this whole gathering. He had two big, fat and full albums of every sticker imaginable. The sticker king explained that this meeting was arranged, so people of all age groups can come together to swap collectable stickers of football players. I must admit, that’s just a pretty cool and random thing to do! We thanked him and abandoned the gathering.

The Casa del Cordón was another architectural masterpiece we came across. It was constructed in the 15th century, and several important historical events took place here. One of them was the reception of Christopher Columbus, after he came back from his second journey to America.

A less historical but still pretty impressive find were the doors of a local bank. They just looked like they came straight out of a movie, maybe Star Gate (some of you will know what I mean). Like it said,… less history, more set design.

By the time we found this amazing door we realized, that it was comparably late in the afternoon to find a place to stay, so we marched back to the car. Luckily our path led us past the San Lesmes Abad church, where we spotted two small but chunky statues called Gigantillos and Gigantones. They are a big part of the Burgos tradition, and can be seen during the Folklore Festival. A bit further on was another statue of two musicians, which I couldn’t resist picturing either, thinking you might be grateful to see them too.

Anyway, it was time to move on and find a good sleeping spot for the night. On our way west from Burgos we spied a campsite sign, and decided to follow it into a little town called La Pola de Gordón. We ended up in front of closed gates of a campsite, with a handwritten note that the camp closed at the end of August. That was a bit of a bummer, but since we liked what we saw we didn’t give up so easily. The gate wasn’t locked, so we let ourselves in to hunt for a human, who could possibly help. With much dedication to the cause we found the only couple still residing on site. They were super helpful, and just as we were walking back to the main gate with the gent called Rodriguez, the owner arrived. A lovely older lady named Miruci was in charge, and after a quick chat she welcomed us on her site like we were family. She didn’t charge us but instead she provided us with a wool blanket, as the nights get super chilly here.

Miru (as we later lovingly called her) spoke English as capably as we speak Spanish, so we communicated with hands and feet and Google Translate, but what an endearing character she was. Such a lovely, warm and quirky personality. She said that we could stay for several nights to relax and enjoy the camp as long as the weather was so sunny. So we ended up spending four nights in this gem of a site, while exploring the town and area around the site.

Miru checked on us every day, to make sure all is well, and even switched the boiler back on so we had warm water. She gifted us potatoes, olives and sweet snacks, and in return we brought her a few things back from the shops when we headed to town. We didn’t really want to leave Miru and her site behind, as we grew so fond of the little lady. We said our goodbyes to Javier, another lovely chap who worked on site, and who said we were always welcome to return any time. Sadly Miru was in Leon that morning, so we had a quick phone call to say our goodbyes and many thank you’s. What a kind, big heart she has, we will never forget her.

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