Friday 3rd November
Thursday night was uneventful and very peaceful until the rain started at 4am but it had cleared by getting up time. We took the N623 due south from Santander which was very quiet but interesting and we are well within our original plan and on schedule! Things can change at any point though. One of the cities that we have missed in the past has been Burgos, Founded in 884, it was the capital of Castille by 951 and by 1037 was the capital of the combined kingdoms of Castille and Leon.
Burgos stayed as an important centre of the wool trade until the end of the 16th century. Napoleonic troops occupied the city in 1808 and were kicked out 5 years later by the Duke of Wellington. During the civil war Burgos was the seat of Franco’s nationalist government.
Our aire is one of three in the city but had by far the highest rating. It’s free, has all the services and has spaces for 30 motorhomes. Over the road is a huge Alcampo supermarket and 15 minutes walk away is the city centre. Above is just a picture of a church, the Parroquia de San Lesmes, according to my map.
In April 1497 Christopher Columbus came here after his second trip across the Atlantic in search of stuff to loot, the Casa del Cordon, home of one of Castilles top generals.
This is the main door to the Casa del Cordon, which takes it’s name from the cord worn by Franciscan Monks around their habits. A stone “cordon” decorates the doorway.
This is the Plaza Mayer giving us the first sight of Burgos Cathedral.
The 14th century Arch of Santa Maria. Inside seems to be a museum but the signs seemed to say that it was closed until further notice.
The front of Burgos Cathedral, the Catedral de Santa Maria. The foundation stone was laid by Fernandez III in 1221, the towers were erected in the 15th century. A number of famous master builders were enlisted to help design and build the Cathedral and when you get inside you see what a fine job they have done. I did say that I’d seen enough Cathedrals but this is a particularly good one and the audio guide was excellent, we only got lost three times with it.
There are dozens of chapels inside the Cathedral and all have incredibly detailed and richly decorated alter pieces.
And the ceilings were as diverse as you could hope for.
See!! And there’s more.
The Cathedral is built into the side of a steep hill and consequently there is an 8m difference in height between one side and the other. The answer was this magnificent golden staircase which was the inspiration for the staircase in the Parisian Opera House.
The main dome at the heart of the Cathedral.
And the main altar piece.
Did I tell you that El Cid was buried here. El Cid was born 5 miles north of the city, he’s a Spanish National Hero having fought and lead the battle of the Christians against the Moors. Initially he fought with King Sancho II against his brother but when he was murdered joined his brother but then they fell out with each other and El Cid joined the Emir of Zaragoza and fought against the Christians and Moors and my head is starting to spin, I can’t keep up. If you’re interested go and read the epic poem written in the 12th century by an unknown poet or the 17th century drama, Le Cid by Pierre Corneille (I can recommend reading it in the original Spanish).
The tomb of the Condestable Hernandez de Velasco.
They both get to look at this all day long.
Ceiling in the Sacristry.
And El Cid, one of the many statues. We did manage to find a bar and my Spanish must be getting better, I managed to get a couple of beers and pinchos. Pinchos are similar to tapas but rather more substantial and we managed to get a good selection.
Vinho del dia, which should I choose first? The €2.75 Rioja or the €3.25 Rioja, we’re in Rioja region, they are the choices – hey ho!!