Monday was a leisurely day in Burgos. We visited the cathedral and saw the spot where El Cid is buried (his wife is there too). The cathedral is huge and thickly encrusted with decoration outside and in. The central sanctuary is surrounded by multiple small chapels constructed at various times, mainly (it appeared to me) as celebrations of-and ostentatious burial sites for-the respective Bishops who had them built. The artisanship was exquisite.
In places where worship has taken place for centuries, I almost always experience a strong sense of Divine Presence. The sensation was starkly absent in this cathedral. It was as if the Divine Mystery that greets us at the heart of beauty and in places of gathered worship had abandoned this one, leaving the beautiful objects empty, the structures serving more as testaments to human commerce and ambition than to the Mysterious Divine.
Perhaps it is my modern eyes that are blind to the symbols contained in the works that would evoke a deeper response had I better understanding.
The other order of business for Monday was to plan the next few stages of our trip. We have reached the eastern edge of the 'meseta'- over a hundred miles of landscape that bears a remarkable resemblance to Nebraska.
My need for rest gives us an excellent reason to skip much of this section of the Camino, hopping ahead by bus or train. But where should we skip to? What next town should we choose to rest in? And after that, what next?
We struggled to find some place along this stretch that would be worth spending a day or two. All we could find were more churches with ornate (and somewhat gory) altarpieces, or ruins high on hills overlooking otherwise sleepy-to-the-point-of-dormant villages.
We were shaking our heads in frustration when Dad said,"Linda, I'm up for anything."
"Do you really mean that,Dad?"
"I really mean it. Anything at all."
"Want to go to Granada and visit The Alhambra?"
Matching gleams in our eyes, we headed to the Burgos Tourism Office once again. The nice lady there recognized Dad with a big smile and in startled response to our request for help planning a jaunt to Granada, she said,"You do know that's a long way?".
We assured her we had a map and understood the distances. She found the train schedule, directed us to the train info and ticket office and by dinner time we had train tickets for Tuesday and hotel reservations in Granada, as well as tickets to see the Alhambra on Wednesday afternoon.
We are spending Tuesday traveling and will arrive in Granada about 10pm. We will spend a day in Granada (maybe two - depends on room availability). Then we'll take trains and busses north and westerly to rejoin the Camino, hopefully at Astorga, where the guidebook says we will find a building designed by the famed Spanish architect, Gaudi.
Once back on the trail, the plan is to walk short distances for a few days to rebuild our strength.
We will have replaced walking across the meseta with a train trip through Spain and a visit to a place I've always wanted to see and that Dad wished to but never believed he'd get to revisit.
I made a little video to demonstrate our little side trip: