We had a fabulous experience in Villafranca and had laid up ahead of the sharp climb in the morning and plans for our longest day so far on the Camino Frances. Todays stage was taking us from Villafranca Montes de Oca to Burgos which is over 40km and leads us to the tomb of El Cid in this fantastic Spanish city.
Day 10 Overview
Once again we we’re up early as the Camino anthem was in full force last night in the Albergue. Im amazed by the noises Pilgrims on the Camino can make !
We started out at 5.30am in the dark of the morning. I had my head torch on and the climb was upwards straight away from leaving the albergue.
Once we arrived at the top of the climb we walked through a first and there was Pilgrim symbols and sculptures everywhere, we even saw some Pilgrim totem poles.
We had met a couple of Brits the night before from Gloucester and we walked with them heading for Ages for our first breakfast stop.
We had a Pilgrim breakfast at Bar/Cafe El Aquimista and it was much needed. The building is a classic old building that’s hundreds of years old and was well worth the visit.
Our friendly UK Pilgrims weren’t going all the way to Burgos and were laying up around the 30km point so we said our goodbyes and headed out onto the trail.
Another 2km further along the trail we came to Atapuerca. This village is famous for being the place where the oldest human remains in Europe have been found. The site is a short walk off the Camino trail.
One of the most astonishing discoveries at Atapuerca is a cave called Sima de los Huesos (“Pit of the Bones”), where more than 1,600 human fossils, including several nearly complete skulls, have been found. The age of this material is at least 300,000 years and may be as old as 600,000 years.
After this we kept walking through village after village until we came to the outskirts of Burgos. At this stage we thought we were pretty close. The heat was getting to me but Pilgrim Bob seemed to be full of energy.
This is the point of the days walk where the trail splits and you have the option of the quicker industrial walk into Burgos or the longer river walk.
Top Tip – Take the river walk route
I get asked a lot of questions about the debate of taking the river walk into Burgos or the quicker section. All day every day, take the river walk. It is the most beautiful section of a river walk and whilst it is longer its worth doing.
The problem is the guide actually says its shorter than it is and after we had done most of it in 33C degree heat we were knackered so had to take a rest.
We finished our walk into Burgos which is an amazing city and absolutely full of Pilgrims on the Camino. You arrive in the main square and the Cathedral is awesome
The 13th century gothic Burgos Cathedral is among the most admired of its kind worldwide. Specially remarkable are its portal, the “Puerta del Sarmental“, considered the best example of gothic sculpture of its century and the Cloister.
The 15th century chapel, “Capilla del Condestable“, is another work of unique architectonic value. If you get the time and your schedule allows I would recommend a lay over in Burgos and seeing as much of its history as possible.
Who is El Cid ?
Rodrigo Díaz de Vivar was a Castilian knight in medieval Spain. The Moors called him El Cid. He was born in Vivar del Cid, a village near the city of Burgos.
Díaz de Vivar became well known for his service in the armies of both Christian and Muslim rulers, his exile, and his temporary conquest of Valencia, which became independent for a brief period in the Reconquista.
After his death, El Cid became Spain’s celebrated national hero. He is perhaps more widely known as “El Cid Campeador” (El Cid meaning The Lord, or Master, and Campeador meaning The Champion, an honorable title rarely given to a man during his lifetime).
Once he became a knight, Rodrigo soon distinguished himself in such a manner that he was appointed to be the commander of the Castilian army under King Sancho II. Rodrigo proved himself in several battles in which the Castilian army was always victorious under his capable leadership, and it was during this time that he earned the title El Cid, as well as the honorific title of Campeador.
The tomb of El Cid and Burgos cathedral is an outstanding experience and one I would recommend any Pilgrim on the Camino does.
Accommodation in Burgos
There are numerous options for accommodation in Burgos ranging from boutique hotels, basic hotels, hostels and Albergues.
On our journey through Burgos on the Camino Frances we stayed at the Hotel Londres as we wanted to treat ourselves after a long walk. Its a great hotel and perfect for a break from the Camino and aching limbs.