Once we left Belorado two days ago, we entered into the region of Spain known as Castilla y Leon. Burgos is the historic capital of Castile and is now the capital of the province of Burgos and the autonomous community of Castile and Leon. This region is 11 times the size of Madrid but has a population of half of Madrid.
We will leave behind the vineyards and spend over 50% of our remaining time traveling through this region. Part of it will be on the incomparable "meseta" the flat table or plateau region that makes up a third of the Iberian (Spanish) peninsula.
But that is a discussion for tomorrow. Today was a "rest" day in Burgos and we chose well. The weather was frigid and windy. I had on 5 layers of clothing and was still cold.
We had a lovely breakfast at our hotel and continued to admire the view from our window of the Paseo Espolon and the Arlanzon River (photo 1). Then we walked a block down the street from our hotel to St. Mary's Arch, which was originally the main entrance to this medieval city. (photo 2)
At 10 we met our friend Brent for a tour of the Cathedral de Santa Maria. (Photos 3 and 4) It was started in 1221 because Burgos was becoming an important city in the region and needed a significant cathedral. The work began on the site of a Romanesque church, but was built in the Gothic style, which had become popular in France, particularly with the construction of Notre Dame. It was used as a church only 10 years later and consecrated in 1260 -- only 39 years after the first stone was laid, a record for the time.
It is a massive cathedral, with 19 chapels, each with paintings, sculptures, ornamentation, and ceiling detail. It took us 2 hours to hit the highlights, which included the Chapel of St. Anne, (photo 3), the Escalera Dorado (photo 4), which connected the cathedral to the street on one side since the ground was not level; the Chapel of the Virgin Mary (photo 5); and the main sanctuary (photo 6).
Afterwards we took a rest and then connected again for a tourist train ride, a perfect activity for a bad weather day. This gave us a nice overview of the city, although we had already seen most of the major sites.
Then Brent, Michele and I joined another friend Chris for dinner at El Cid restaurant and turned in early. We'll have an early start tomorrow morning when we're back on the Camino.