The Way of Saint James - continued
On completion of the tour of the magnificent Cathedral, we have a coffee break at Cafe la Pepa at which John and David have
cooling frappe coffees that are served in large glass jugs. With John leading the way with the aid of our guidebook, we then visit
a number of the other churches in Burgos, including the Church of Brother San Rafael; San Nicolas (which has a remarkable stone altarpiece
- left); and San Estaban. Our visit to some of these churches coincides with a wedding ceremony - all the guests are
dressed very glamorously.
Close to the San Esteban church is a path up to the ruins of the city's castle, destroyed by the French in 1813. Despite the heat,
we decide to climb the path so as to reach a viewpoint over Burgos. The climb is surprisingly short and we are rewarded with a view
that illustrates how the Cathedral dominates the city. On returning to the city we go to the main square and find a street (Calle
San Carlos) recommended by this morning's guide as good for tapas. There are a number of tapas bars, but none with seating.
We find a quiet bakery that has seating and between us have a number of items: tortilla; pizza; small salmon sandwich; and a pastry.
We then stroll along the Paseo del Espolon, which follows the River Arlanzón. This river has been the source of flooding in the past
- as indicated by markers on the Town Hall. It is now very hot so we sit in the shade near the Arco de Santa Maria as we wait for
the bus's arrival at 3pm. Nearby, there is a statue of a chestnut seller.
At 4pm, we reach the Royal Monastery of Zoilo
at Carrion de los Condes.
There is a hotel adjacent to the Monastery and all the group retire there to get cold drinks. The hotel (Hotel Real Monasterio San
Zoilo) has been created from part of the monastery, which we then visit. The Benedictine Monastery's most interesting part is
the Plateresque, 16th-Century cloisters which are adorned with medallions. The Monastery is situated on the Way of Saint James.
The cloisters are divided into two halves - one half is dedicated to Jesus's genealogy while the other half is dedicated to St Benedict.
all, there are 269 portrait medallions clinging to pendulant bosses in the cloister and up to 120 secondary sculptures such as vases
and angels. It took 40 years (1537 - 1577) to build one part of the cloister, and the whole was not completed until 1604.
For the next two nights our accommodation is at the Parador de Leon - the hotel that is featured in the film 'The Way'. In reality,
it is just as amazing as in the film! The Hostal de San Marcos is one of the most extraordinary historic hotels in Europe. It was
originally built in the 16th-Century to house the western headquarters for the Military Order of Saint James. The building is a museum
of stately function rooms, with a spectacular cloister and chapter house. Our rooms are large with a small balcony overlooking a box
garden. David and Jeanette's preparations for dinner are delayed when they manage to fuse the lights whilst attempting to plug in
an electric toothbrush.
As usual, dinner is at 8:30pm, and this gives us time to visit the hotel's bar for glasses of Kalimotxo, which are served with olives
and nuts - a very civilised start to the evening. At our table, a bottle of red wine is decanted for us to accompany an excellent
meal - like the hotels, the meals are improving day by day.