Tango Diva : Travel Stories for Women, by Women

September 14th, 2009
Day 9: Villafranca Montes de Oca to Burgos

Big city, big city nights
You keep me burning
Big city, big city nights

After all the relaxing and slow paced lifestyle of Villafranca… I was feeling energized, but in desperate need of some big city hustle and bustle. So it’s with great shame when I say… I took the bus to Burgos! To be fair, it would have been a very, very ugly walk — including about 10km of walking through industrial plants along the outskirts of Burgos. No thank you.

When I finally arrived at the Burgos bus station, I was happy to see I was in good company — the station was swarmed with pilgrims who had all arrived in Burgos from various locations along the way. None of us wanted to look each other in the eye, we were all so embarrassed!

When I walked out of the bus station, an OLD Spanish man crossed himself, then declared I was the prettiest pilgrim he had ever seen and that he enjoyed the view of me coming and going. Whoa. Completely different from the usual reception I receieve when walking into new cities–saturated in dirt, sweat and tears. Taking the bus does a body good?

I dropped my bag off at the gigantic, modern albergue in Burgos and went to explore the town. I randomly reunited with the two South African boys I had met on my first day and a crew of other pilgrims I had been seeing everyday since day one, but hadn’t chatted with much. All 15 or so of us decided to grab dinner together.

Over dinner we began discussing how along the Camino, we may have been walking in similar circles for days, but we haven’t always caught each other’s names. The main questions asked are, where are you from? and where did you begin the Camino? Over time, you may gleam a few other bits and pieces of each other, but names are rarely discussed. So when describing one pilgrim to another pilgrim, you may say something like, “oh I saw the solo Canadian dude whose daughter is getting married in Santiago de Compostela, he says hi.” and so on. So it was determined that I am “the smiley American girl who speaks Spanish and walks slow,” or “the smiley American who speaks Spanish and limps,” depending if they see me more on the trail or around town. Ha ha! Tht’s a title I can live with I suppose. So we all learned each other’s names and promised to ask each new pilgrim we met name.

Me, my friend Lindsey and the two South African boys Piet and Otto have decided take the day off tomorrow and will explore Burgos more. Can’t wait to see the inside of the Cathedral!!!!

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