Day 15: Freedom

Kat and Z decided to take the bus to Burgos with Sebastian and Carolina, who had twisted her foot. Kat’s blister looked like it was going to bother her, and her heel was still throbbing a bit from the day before so she thought it best not to chance it and get really injured. They took the 7 km detour to the bus stop, which included a stop for cafe con leche and croissants. When they got to the bus stop, they learned they needed a one-day advance reservation. Sebastian quickly called, made a reservation, and there they waited. The bus took 10 minutes to reach the bustling city of Burgos.

Meanwhile, B had left an hour and a half earlier and almost immediately got lost in the dark. There was something freeing about being alone in the dark. The sounds the morning begin to stir and you see the dark with eyes and mind wide open, free to imagine and to let the day in.


Thankfully, though, she had her headlamp and met Joe, a recent retiree from Arizona. He had multiple careers, but had spent the last 30 years in the ceramic tiling business. With a wife at home and eight great-grandchildren, Joe is a sprite young thing and great walking companion. They parted ways on a rocky incline, where a fenced-in group of newborn goats stayed by their mothers’ sides…perhaps not so free for us.


Going up the hilly trails and passing by a giant field of sunflowers that were just waking up, it was a joyous light feeling to see Nature just do her thing.


The sense of freedom took a sharp turn after descending the rocky hill. First, we passed what seems like a military training field, fenced in with signs of forbidden access.


This lovely scene was followed by kilometers of warehouses selling food, furniture, and automobile parts, junk and souvenirs, and cash and carries. Straight roads of nothing but. Only one guy honked and waved upon seeing B with her pilgrim shell. Everyone else looked miserable.

The Hotel Las Vegas with Burger King thanking America for bringing over fast food seemed to say it all. How un-freeing this part of modernization is.


Finally, B made it into the historical center of Burgos, which is charming and full of character. She surprised Kat in the elevator of the Hotel Norte y Londres, where we decided to splurge one night and get proper showers, as she arrived only 15 min after Kat and Z did.

After showers, we met up with Sebastian and Carolina for a final lunch at the Cerverceria Morito, where we had the best food. A place where the locals ate, we filled ourselves with sausage, pork, and calamari, finishing with a shared a pijama, a dessert of ice cream, creme, flan, and fruit. We then had to say farewell to our dear friends, but we know we will see them again in the US, Ireland or Spain.


Kat and Z went to take a nap, while B went to drop off some laundry and wander. She met up with Joe at the Cathedral of Burgos, a stunning place. She got her pilgrim’s stamp and learned tha pilgrims got in for free, but that they closed the doors at 6:30. It was 6:15.

7B ran back to get Kat and Z. Only B made it back to the cathedral. It was magnificient inside, how much care and thought that the builders took to freely demonstrate their beliefs.


It was cool to see familiar faces: the super sweet woman in the wheelcahir/bike and the family with the 17-month old on his bbs econd Camino (first was at five months) and his strong dad.


B ran into Paul, Ignacio, Louis, and Javi who were headed to see the old Medieval castle. The brothers and Louis end their Camino here, and we will miss them too. The brothers will make fine doctors one day; they are already fine young men. Guys, drop a line if you ever visit the U.S. (and yes, Louis, if you visit your brother in North Carolina).


Kat, Z, and B met up, and after getting some supplies for tomorrow, we popped into Los Cantos for some hot chocolate (we are so happy we have our fleeces). Bruno, a 14-month old charmed us. His dad told us that two years ago, he went on the Camino and it changed his life. Showing us his scallop shell tatto, he told us how he didn’t want children before, and after, Bruno was a welcome addition. It seems Bruno’s dad found a new freedom in the chubby cheeks of his gregarious son.


Bruno “paid” for our drinks, wishing us a Buen Camino. This sense of camaraderie with strangers is so unusual, and in many ways, freeing to know that the kindness of people really does sing louder than fear. We will definitely have to pay their kindness forward as we continue on our Camino.