Day 11, Oct 7th, Burgos to Porto, Portugal

Bronze map of Burgos

I left Cathy at the bus station in Burgos with two other pilgrims who had dropped out. The wife had stumbled going into a pub and sprained her ankle. They too were heading to Bilbao.

The cathedral bells were ringing, calling me so I hustled over the bridge into the main gate and saw a crowd gathering in the square below the main entrance to the cathedral. I went up the stairs to get a good view and saw a procession of knights and knaves, lords and ladies, entering the cathedral. I saw a side door and walked through and was able to take some photos. It was an amazing sight. The cathedral was filled with the gentry.

Yesterday it cost £8 to enter the empty cathedral. Today it was free and packed with interesting characters.

Outside after mass, there were horses, ponies, beggars, chestnuts being roasted over fires, dogs, dogs begging, jugglers, musicians and more.My plan was to take a bus from Burgos to Madrid, switch buses and take the one to Porto, Portugal and hike part of the Coastal Camino and then switch to the Portuguese Central Camino going from village to village heading north to Santiago de Compestella.

I had a bus to catch and a dinner date in Madrid with a friend from Protection Island who had just finished the Camino Norte and was taking the train to Madrid to fly out the next day. She was arriving 30 minutes after I arrived. I was in town for four hours so we thought dinner would be perfect. It was not meant to be. Ten minutes before my bus arrived in Madrid my cell phone stopped working. I couldn’t phone nor use data. In this digital age one NEEDS a working cell phone! I couldn’t call Linda. She couldn’t call me. I had to get the phone working and find an Orange store (European cell phone provider that I purchased my SIM card and data plan from). Remember, this is a Sunday and it is now 6pm and Linda was arriving in town expecting to connect with me.

I headed into a pizza shop. They employ young people. The perfect age group for speaking English and technospeak. Sure enough one of the delivery boys googled and found the one Orange store in town that was open. I snapped a photo of the address and headed back to the taxi stand in front of the bus station. We were off.

Phone stores in Spain are like little Ft. Knox’s. Guards on every floor. I had two sales guards assess my needs before directing me upstairs and then to a line. I finally got it resolved just in time to have it ring. Linda had to beg off dinner as she had a bad flu. So bad she couldn’t walk her last leg into Santiago de Compestella! She needed to lie down. Which was just as well as my four hours had dwindled and I had to figure out the metro system to get back to the bus station and onto Portugal.

Distance travelled : 0k walking, hundreds of miles by bus
Weather: cloudy but it didn’t matter since it was a travel day

Lessons learned: how to find speakers of English (look in pizza parlours), how to navigate the Madrid subway system (find a staff member to guide you through the machines that dispense travel cards and top up your card with a ticket)

Food: pastries.

Health: good, far far better than poor Linda

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