Adiós Burgos – Hola Meseta

I am on my way to Hornillos del Camino after a very cold weekend . The chilly weather didn’t stop me from checking out Burgos.

As appears to be my habit when in Burgos, I fell flat on my face. Quite literally. I did it the last time I was here, skinning my knee and shin up pretty good and requiring some first aid. This time I took a spill right in front of the Cathedral. I have no idea how I did it. My Birks must have become caught on an uneven paving stone. I went head over teakettle. Landed on my bad knee and right hip. Luckily, its my ego that is more hurt than my body. Although my right leg is bruised like I was in a fight with a car. My left leg had enough sympathy to turn purple too. The perfect balance. I have named them Cabernet and Merlot. My bruised elbows are now Popeye and Bluto.

One gets the feeling that Burgos might be trying to tell me something. Perhaps its something along the lines of Slow Down! Then I had one of the best massages of my life at Ultreia. I can not recommend this place highly enough if you find yourself in Burgos. Camino or no. The therapist gave me the same advice as the city seems to be imparting upon me – the hard way. She told me to slow down, stop thinking, and to focus on my heart. ‘You need to cry more, Kelli. And the Camino is the right place for that. You hold all your emotions in your body. Use this walk to feel and don’t stop it. Let it go.’

I had said nothing to this person about anything going on in my life. Not one thing. So unusual. Afterwards she hugged me like she didn’t want to let me go. When she pulled away she was crying on my behalf. A first for me from a massage therapist. A relative stranger. she pressed some paulo santo into my hand on the way out. ‘Burn it in your house when you get home.’ Her kind message has stayed with me.

I woke up early Sunday morning, despite the time change on Saturday night. After gathering my laundry, I made my way to the cafe in front of the Municipal Albergue. I have slept there, and eaten at that cafe before. The lavandaria is right next door. The owner was late opening up. Probably over slept.

The warm cafe was hopping with Pilgrims fortifying themselves before walking out of Burgos. A nice guy allowed me to share his table. He was from Manchester in the UK. He could have been my son, Nicholas’, twin, and had spent the past few days in Burgos after injuring his foot in Santo Domingo, then hopping on a bus to Burgos for medical attention. He was still limping. ‘They gave me ibuprofen.’ He said.

‘Did they xray it?’ I asked. He said they didn’t think it was broken.

‘You’re still limping. Maybe skip the urgencia and go to the hospital. They’ll xray it.’ But I stopped myself right there. I’m not his Mom. And he seemed capable of making his own decisions. I didn’t want to interfere.

The lavandería opened up. I said my goodbyes to the kid and other Pilgrims and did my laundry. Then I went back to my hotel, took an extended hot shower to warm up since I had to wear my pajamas, Birks with no socks, and my rain coat so I could wash everything. I felt like a flasher under there. My next laundry won’t be until Leon. Warm, finally, and clean, I left the hotel and was almost immediately very nearly run over by a taxi on the narrow cobbled street. I hopped aside and the taxi stopped. It was the boy from the cafe. He rolled down the window and held up the cast on his foot.

‘You were right. It’s broken. The hospital says my Camino is over.’

‘Do you need help?’ I asked.

He nodded like a little boy. ‘I do, actually. The taxi is dropping me off at that cafe where we met. Can you help me figure out what to do?’

Of course I could. I immediately thought of my son. If he were in a city in another country, injured, I would hope someone would help him.

I met Adam as the cab pulled up and helped him inside. ‘Where are your crutches?’

He said the hospital said to go to the orthopedic store. But they are closed on Sundays. As are most farmacias. He was in the hospital pajamas they gave him and he was cold but his Camino clothes wouldn’t fit over his cast. He was like a turtle on his back. I bought him a pot of tea, because in the UK tea fixes everything. Then I headed out to try to scare up some crutches, however futile that sounds.

No clothing stores were open to get him something to wear that would fit over his cast, and keep him warm. Only Ale Hop with women’s polar fleece pj’s. My son would have worn them and laughed. But I didn’t really know this boy so I skipped it.

Few farmacias are open in Burgos on a Sunday. The first one had one blue crutch. The second crutch was a scavenger hunt. Both of them were somewhat complex contraptions but we figured it out. I returned to the cafe, triumphant. With one black crutch and one blue. Seemed appropriate. In the meantime, Adam secured a 3pm train ticket for himself so he could fly back to the UK via Barcelona – where he has friends. He hugged me when I left him. Again, reminding me of my son. I wanted to chide the boy for smoking. I figured I had earned it. I’m a Mom, after all. But, just like with my kids, their lives are their own now. We all live with our choices.

I hope he gets to Barcelona OK. And then home to Manchester. Where his Mom can take over with more tea and warm jammies.

Luckily, I was still able to see the Cathedral in the square where I had bitten the pavement the day before. Approaching the Cathedral I heard singing. The steps were covered with a choir and the square was full of people singing for Ukraine. It wasn’t until later I learned that cities and towns all over Spain were singing together at that very moment. In Unity. Amazing.

I will leave a few photos here of the Cathedral. A true marvel of a building. You have to see it in person. My favorite parts were the ceilings on the inside. And the flying buttresses on the exterior.

I was lucky enough to attend services in several churches in Burgos as I walked about. Each one completely unique. Usually, I was the youngest person there. And while I didn’t understand all of it, it moved me nonetheless.

After a wonderful rest, my Camino continues in the Meseta. I have heard people say they find the Meseta boring. But I love it. And with snow in the forecast it will be that much more interesting. I just hope Cabernet and Merlot are up for it. Something tells me we will be just fine.

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