Oaxaca mural

Oaxaca mural

Friday, September 4, 2015

I Made It to Burgos!

Yesterday I wrote that I didn't know whether or not my train to Burgos would be running.  Some train routes were being cancelled due to a strike, and I was receiving contradictory information concerning my 8 AM train.  I checked out of my Madrid hotel at 6:30, took the metro and arrived at the Chamartin Train Station at 7:00.  The source of the confusion was that my train continued on to the city of Bilbao.  Service to Bilbao was indeed disrupted by the strike, but I was able to go Burgos as scheduled.

So, after a pleasant two and a half hour train ride I arrived at my destination.  I took a taxi to my hotel, the Hotel Abba Burgos.  It is a modern hotel occupying one wing of a large building which once was a seminary.

The view from my window

The weather here is quite different from the weather in Madrid.  When I arrived it was overcast and very chilly.  Although the skies cleared in the afternoon, the temperature remained cool.

After settling into my room, I ventured out to explore the town a bit.   Burgos is a very historic city.  It was the capital of the medieval kingdom of Castilla.  It was also (and still is) a major stop along the "Ruta de Santiago" (the Route of St. James).  This medieval pilgrimage route begins in France, crosses the Pyrenees Mountains, and continues all the way across northern Spain to the shrine of St. James in Santiago de Compostela.

The city is built on the banks of the diminutive Arlanzón River.

In medieval times the city was surrounded by a wall, and this gate, the Arch of Santa María, was the principal entrance.

The city is dominated by the great Gothic cathedral, one of the most beautiful in Spain.

Most of the streets in the Old Town are pedestrianized.

The older buildings all feature a myriad of balconies. 

The "Plaza Mayor" (Town Square) of Burgos

The most famous son of Burgos was Rodrigo Díaz de Vivar, better known as El Cid.  El Cid was an eleventh century warrior who fought in the "Reconquista", the wars to push the Moors out of Spain.  He is Spain's national hero, and this statue of him occupies a prominent spot in the city.

You will see more of Burgos over the next two days as I explore more thoroughly this historic city.


  1. Keep 'em coming! I love photos from Spain, one of the countries in Europe I haven't made it to. Is Franco still dead?

    1. Thanks, Lee. Yes, Franco is still dead, but he's probably rolling in his grave over what Spain has become... a modern, secular constitutional monarchy. There are still some old-timers who revere his memory, but they are a dying breed.