Day 14 - Rest day in Burgos
Trip Start Sep 03, 2012
36Trip End Oct 07, 2012
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I had a good long shower and shaved again. The hotel bathroom has all sorts of gels, shampoos and shaving kits. The first ones I have packed to use along the way, while the shaver I use and throw away.
It's amazing on how little you get used to live on, and then a little bar of soap becomes an luxury.
Yesterday evening I saw a "Valor" cafeteria close to the cathedral, and that meant "chocolate con churros" for me. I had wanted to have them in Pamplona, but when I went to the bakery I had passed several times (Churreria Lerin) it had closed
I bought the newspaper, sat in their terrace with a very relaxing morning sun in the face, and ordered one "racion" of churros and chocolate. The racion was four churros, so I expected that I would have to order more later. However, the churros of Burgos apparently have suffered some sort of morphation which makes them ten times larger than the standard ones I know.
Breakfast was heavenly, and with the cathedral just in front. I believe I was there for two hours. As I had paid 5,20 euros for the churros and chocolate I thought I would use the terrace as long as I needed!
At 11am I had to leave as the temperature had already got to 22 degrees celsius and I was risking a melt down if I stayed in the sun.
As with many places I have passed, Burgos has free WiFi in all its centre. So one can internet freely anywhere close to the cathedral and Plaza Mayor. I can't complain as I used it, but I don't quite understand why the authorities invest in free WiFi.
I had decided to make good use of my rest day, so I visited the "Museo de la Evolucion Humana" (Human Evolution Museum). I learnt about it at Atapuerca so I decided to get a bit more information about the whole caveman stuff.
The museum is a modern four storey building across the river Arlanzon. Opened only in 2010, and given its size, I thought I would spend a good part of the day inside it.
I obtained the pilgrim discount for the ticket (4 euros), and rented and audio guide (3 euros). The latter was OK but unnecessary as most of the exhibits have good information in Spanish and English.
The first floor is dedicated to Atapuerca, and has many of the original artifacts found there: skulls, bones, weapons, instruments. Apparently the caves of Atapuerca, although their existence was know since the sixteenth Century and earlier, no one realised there was a wealth of remains inside them. It was only in 1886 when an English mining company (The Sierra Company Ltd) was building a railway line, that the first remains were discovered
From then on it has been a centre for archaeology, and teams have worked on site for the last forty years. Human remains going back 1.3 million years have been discovered...which leaves the Camino as a baby in comparison.
The best pieces, and which make me giggle due to their names, were the full pelvis of a "homo antecessor" (exploring man), which they called "Elvis"; and, the skull of the same species which they called "Miguelon" as it was discovered at the same time as Miguel Indurain won the Tour de France. Who said archaeologists did not have a sense of humour!
The second floor was dedicated to Darwinism and the theory of natural evolution. It was also quite good, although it just got a bit too heavy and technical on the genetics half way through.
Then surprisingly the third and fourth floors were like a modern art exhibition...very empty! There was hardly anything on display. On the fourth floor they just have a video display on the changing environment, and the main point of it is that when they show pictures of a desert the heating at the top goes on
I looked around and saw that the building next door was also owned by the museum. Apart from the first floor offices, the rest was empty and had rental signs.
I can't prove it, but I bet the whole construction was an over estimation of what they could do with it. Another good example of wasted tax payers money.
So the visit was over in two hours. Worth it, but slightly disappointing given Atapuerca must have supplied thousands of discoveries.
Now, after a good cultural session, I believed I deserved a good lunch session. Burgos and a few towns close by are well known for their "cordero asado" (lamb cooked a special oven heated by a wood fire).
I had looked around several restaurants the day before, and I decided that the one close to the hotel was probably the best one for quality (Casa Ojeda). It was slightly upmarket and I felt slightly under-dressed, but the waiter was happy to serve me
It didn't take me long to order as I knew exactly what I "deserved":
- sopa castellana
- cordero lechal asado al horno de lena
With a coffee, water and bread it was all 31,45 euros (equivalent to 25.85 pounds). In comparison to a meal in London, it was absolutely cheap. The taste of both the sopa and the lamb were exquisite, so well worth splashing out on that.
The heat outside and lunch automatically provoked a siesta strike, which was also a good reason to have chosen the restaurant two minutes from the hotel room.
My afternoon activities consisted in doing a bit of shopping for tomorrow and walking up to the old Burgos castle.
Burgos centre is mainly pedestrian so there are no large malls or fruit markets. I did find two little shops close to the pilgrim albergue which had a good selection of everything, including fruit
The walk up to the castle was very relaxing, and being a Saturday there were loads of weddings ongoing close to the cathedral. All very posh!
I sat at the top where the views of all Burgos are excellent and just saw the world go by, only to return when the sun abandoned us for another day.
This time I bought some food to enjoy in the comfort of the room. I knew the tapas bars would be packed, and I couldn't make myself hungry enough after the substantial lunch. And I was right...every single street of central Burgos was packed with people eating and drinking. It was hard enough to walk back to the hotel, forget trying to order anything and eat it calmly.
I didn't lose out on the food front though. I mamaged to organise myself a pic-nic of "calamares en su tinta", asparagus and some local bread. All that and Antonio Banderas in one of his all together predictable comedy films...priceless (well three euros if you must ask!)