Yesterday, I went to Burgos for the day with 4 friends: Elena, who so kindly drove us there; Tereza; Steph; and Ashley, who was a bit late to meet us, so I called her and she hadn’t even woken up yet, so our start was a bit delayed. Out of the few places I have been so far, Burgos was my favorite. It helped that it was sunny and not uber windy, but I also just liked the atmosphere and look of the place.
We started with a quick snack at a cafe near Plaza Mayor and Paseo del Espolón. Then we walked down the Paseo to the Arco de Santa María, which we went inside and saw some unique artwork and a nice view of the Catedral de Burgos. Our next stop was the Catedral, a UNESCO World Heritage site. It was beautiful! We paid our 3€ and walked through the whole thing. Where I was allowed to take pictures! As long as there was no flash, but I don’t use flash anyways. The ceilings, architecture, and detail would be impossible to describe properly without pictures. It was freezing in the Catedral, because it was so giant. I had to wear my mittens inside, but not outside. I bought some postcards, and also got a 0.05€ coin pressed and stretched to have a picture of the cathedral on it. I haven’t seen one of those machines since Disneyland in 2001. I was very excited, maybe too excited!
After taking in the Catedral for about an hour, we walked through tiny streets in the old town and saw La Iglesia de San Nicolás on our way to the Castillo (Castle) de Burgos, which unfortunately wasn’t open, but we were able to walk around the outside walls. In the park surrounding the castle was a good point to view the whole city and the Catedral. Right alongside the castle were the Murallas (walls) of the old city. After walking along those, ending in the Arco de San Esteban, we saw the Arco de San Gil and La Iglesia de San Gil. Burgos has many Arcos and Iglesias it seems.
We made our way along part of the Camino de Santiago that goes through Burgos, along Calle de San Juan, to the Arco de San Juan and La Iglesia de San Lesmes. Just past the Arco was a canal of sorts, Río Vena. We walked back towards Plaza Mayor through Plaza de la Libertad, to have some lunch. We had just missed a Carnaval street performance in Plaza Mayor, but saw many children dressed up in costumes, like we do at Halloween. When getting their pictures taken, they say “patata” (potato), which is the Spanish form of saying cheese. We ate lunch on a little side street, in quite a busy restaurant. When it had mostly cleared out, I noticed the abundance of napkins all over the floor, especially close to the bar. Apparently, people just throw them on the floor, and they get swept up at the end of the night. If you put your used napkin on the bar, the bartender will just throw it onto the floor anyways. It doesn’t make for a very appealing eating experience.
After lunch we walked back along the Paseo del Espolón, towards the Teatro Principal (theatre). Then we got back in the car, so we could go to some places not within walking distance. I’m glad we had a car, because otherwise I probably wouldn’t have seen these next two places, and they were definitely worth seeing! First, we went to the Monasterio de las Huelgas. It isn’t in use anymore, and no monks live there, but they still have tours about the history. We were just in time to catch the afternoon tour, which cost only 4€. Even though it was all in Spanish, it wasn’t hard to understand because guides always speak loud and clearly. Many kings and queens of Spain, and their children, have tombs there. It has lots of Spanish paintings and tapestries as well. Then we drove to the other side of the city, which was more on our way back to Pamplona, to see the Cartuja de Miraflores, another monastery. This one does have monks living in it, and I even saw one! It had some beautiful ceilings, architecture, and artwork in it.
The only bad thing about the trip was that I lost my lens cap for my camera, so now I have to find a new one. I was home by 8:45, exhausted with sore legs from walking most of the day, but it was worth it. All in all, Burgos was a great day trip!
Well, for me, it should be called Semanas Santa, because I get two full weeks (plus two days) of a break! Semana Santa literally means Holy Week, but it is what I would call Easter Break. Lots of parades and things will be happening around Spain for me to experience!
My plan is this: Pamplona-Sevilla-Granada-Malaga-Lisbon-Porto-Guimaraes-Salamanca-Pamplona
Only 43 more days to wait!