The hiking this morning was down right cold. Fortunately we had a shorter day of 14 miles planned. First thing, we hiked up to an elevation just over 3000 feet and were met with fog. At the top was a large cross, immersed in fog. While the photo won’t do it justice, it was somewhat of a surreal sight.
We stayed in the fog for a mile or so until we descended down the other side of the small mountain. We came to a small village which had a fountain dating back to the Roman era. While interesting because of its age, it wasn’t really what I expected.
We refilled our water bottles at a new pilgrim’s fountain nearby and hit the road. Today was the first day I had water that tasted bad. The water from this town tasted like petroleum/oil. I only had one drink.
On the outskirts of Burgos there is an alternate route you can take to avoid 5 miles of hard road walking. Unfortunately we tried the alternate and it was nothing but a mud pit. Not digging the inch and a half of mud caked to the bottom of my hiking shoes and seeing potentially 2 miles of this, I turned to Tony and said, “I’m not doing this, I’ll meet you guys in town.”
I turned around and started walking the other direction. I heard Tony call out to Molli and a brief argumentative exchange ensued. I got back to the main road and within a few minutes Molli passed me. No words were exchanged.
Burgos is a town of 180,000 people. On the outskirts of town lay industrial parks. I walked past a huge Bridgestone tire plant. I would have to think they are one of the largest employers in the area.
After passing by factories, maintenance, and auto dealerships, you walk through what can be assumed is the ghetto. Run down building, the looks of housing projects, and just an overall feeling of the area being economically challenged.
As you move closer to the city center, the conditions improve until you reach the bustling downtown/old town area. As with every other major town we have encountered, the Camino runs right through the center of old town.
We arrived in old town just before noon. We located our hotel and checked in. T&M were gracious enough to take all our stinky laundry to have it cleaned; there’s no self-service laundry available.
We had lunch at a local restaurant that takes itself far to seriously. The food was overpriced and the service mediocre. It’s a Michelin recommended restaurant. I was rather astonished.
Lunch was rather tense. Not a lot in the way of conversation was exchanged. After we finished, Molli and Tony were very ready to go. I agreed to stay and wait for the check. The arrival of the check took another 20 minutes even after repeated requests. I was blatantly ignored. The funny thing is, the name of the restaurant was “La Favorita”. Coincidentally. My favorite cafe in Paris is of the same name “Le Favorite.” The experiences couldn’t be more polar. And I thought the French were the rude ones.
After finally paying for lunch I wandered around old town. I found a bank as I needed some cash. As siesta was looming the area turned into a ghost town and most of the shops closed. It’s still strange to see all the businesses in a bustling city go quiet at 230pm. Walking back to the hotel I made a mental note of an Italian restaurant next to the hotel. Dinner shall be Italian. I need a break from Spanish food and the “pilgrim’s menu”
I retreated to our room and took a nap. Having slept poorly the night before it was needed and welcome.
Being day 13 of our hike, fatigue has set in. Everyone is a little edgy. We are all running calorie deficits and are losing weight. Even under the best of circumstances the closest of friends can get on each other’s nerves or worse unintentionally hurt each other’s feelings. Couple that with mental and physical fatigue and well you get the picture.
We’ve spent two weeks together nearly 24/7. We get along famously, but a day or two doing our own thing may be in order. On the other hand, a heavy dinner of delicious Italian food and a good nights rest may be the remedy. We shall see what tomorrow brings.