On Saturday morning we taxied to Burgos from Belorado. We shared a taxi with Cathy from Texas, who was stopping her Camino to head home to be with her best friend who had just lost her husband. Cathy needed to reach Madrid in the next few hours to catch her flight to the US. We were all waiting at the bus stop for a bus to Burgos, when she found there were no seats on the bus. She got talking to John and we decided to take a taxi together instead.
We passed the beautiful fields on our left and right and it felt strange to be sitting in a car while people walked through that gorgeous landscape! Actually felt a pang of jealousy!
We stopped at the autobus station in the heart of Burgos. While Kathy headed in to get a bus to Madrid, we headed to our home for the next 4 days.
We spent Saturday and Sunday resting.
Feeling much better, on Sunday afternoon we headed to the Cathedral for mass on the feast of the Pentecost.
The Santa Iglesia Catedral Basílica Metropolitana de Santa María de Burgos is huge! Built in the 1200s and Gothic in style it is grand, to say the least!
To the right of the chapel where we saw mass, is the chapel with a very different kind of crucifix – ‘the 14th-century Cristo de Burgos. Some say that the figure of the crucified Christ is made from human skin over an armature. Others claim that it is a stuffed or mummified human corpse. Current literature maintains that the corpus is made of wood, human hair and cowhide filled with wool and realistically painted.’
Here’s another write up about the crucifix…
“The celebrated Christ, so revered at Burgos that no one is allowed to see it unless the candles are lighted, is a striking example of this strange taste: it is neither of stone, nor painted wood, it is made of human skin (so the monks say), stuffed with much art and care. The hair is real hair, the eyes have eye-lashes, the thorns of the crown are real thorns, and no detail has been forgotten. Nothing can be more lugubrious and disquieting than this attenuated, crucified phantom with its human appearance and deathlike stillness; the faded and brownish-yellow skin is streaked with long streams of blood, so well imitated that they seem to trickle. It requires no great effort of imagination to give credence to the legend that it bleeds every Friday.”
Voyage en Espagne, Theophile Gautier, 1865
After that surreal experience, we headed to the estacion de autobuses.
We were falling behind in our walk schedule really badly with our 5 day recuperating break. So we decided to skip about 35km of the walk – between Villafranca Montes de Oca and Burgos. However the 12km between Belarado and Villafranca was a walk we wanted to complete.
We bought tickets for Monday morning from Burgos to Belorado. We got off the bus in the old familiar town, found our way to the cafe in the town square and after some coffee we headed out of town, down the Camino path.
At this point both of us realised we had missed this so much!! It was brilliant to be back on the path!
A little out of Belorado we passed the Hermitage of our Lady of Bethlehem, built into the rock. This was once a pilgrims hostel!
Then in to Villambiasta. My brother in law Kuria had pointed us to this little town. Tradition has it that you soak your head in the fountain of the village to clear fatigue in the most difficult moments!
Heads washed, we walked down the street to get some breakfast.
A walk through beautiful countryside followed, till we reached our destination for the day – Villafranca Montes de Oca.
We waited at the bus stop for our bus back to Burgos. Getting onto the bus with us is another pilgrim, who’d fainted from a heat stroke a few days earlier and had hurt her shin badly when she blacked out. She too would continue her walk from Burgos.
As we stood at the bus stop, we heard a voice from above. It was a gentleman from the balcony of the first floor! He’s excited to see Indians and tells us in broken English, about his son who drove from Cochin, all the way up to Nepal! It’s always amazing to hear about peoples adventures, especially when they come from these sparsely populated tiny little towns! How brave to drive in India!!
We start our walk onward from Burgos on Wednesday.
Here are some more shots of beautiful Burgos…