Beautiful Burgos

Hello and hola from sunny Spain! Since the beginning of the month, the weather has been getting ever better here. The Spaniards are saying that “Spring” has come but it hit 26 Celsius on Saturday, and we definitely don’t have a chance of feeling temperatures like that until the middle of summer in England!

I don’t want to make anyone at home jealous (sorry, not sorry!) but my guiri (non-Spanish) friends and I spent a lot of the last weekend in a sun-induced euphoria, lying out in sleeveless tops and shorts in the park, eating ice-cream and making daisy-chain headdresses (okay, that last one may have been just me!) ….

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… whilst most Spanish people walked past in thick winter coats, scarves and even hats, and looked at us as if were mad. Perhaps I still need some more to acclimatise, but I don’t think people here appreciate nice weather enough. They should know that many Brits pay a lot of money to go somewhere like Spain so they can take some clothes off!

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Logroño feels like a completely different ( or better!) city now that the sun has come out. Despite the weather giving my mood a huge lift and allowing me to spend more time outside, after almost three entire weeks here I felt the cabin fever starting to set in again so on Sunday I decided to adventure out to Burgos.

Because my friends were already busy or had already been, poor Maddie-no-mates (all together now, awww) went to Burgos alone, so please excuse me for the selfies I took to prove I went. You’ll have to let me off for the one above; I don’t have an excuse for that!

Burgos is a beautiful old walled city in Castile. People here had warned me that due to its high altitude, Burgos is famously cold. Some of you may remember the time I went to an incredibly rainy San Sebastian without an umbrella and spent majority of the trip trying to keep warm and dry in bars; determined not to make a repeat of this, I layered up with lots of jumpers, a scarf and gloves. Perhaps because it was so sunny there too, or perhaps because of the amount and pace of walking I did, I ended up lugging most of it around in my rucksack. Better safe than sorry, I suppose!

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First stop was the cathedral. As you’re about to see, it wasn’t difficult to find because it’s so big that it takes up most of the old town! It’s a very imposing building and looked really beautiful in the sunshine. When I was young, almost every family holiday involved a visit to a cathedral or old church, which at the time I didn’t appreciate as much as I should have and as I now, with the gift of hindsight, do. How my twelve or thirteen year old self would laugh if she knew I’d go voluntarily when I was a bit older!Excluding St Paul’s, of course, this is one of the biggest and most impressive cathedrals I’ve seen.

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Whilst my brother and I were fairly dispassionate towards many aspects of  many of the churches and cathedrals we visited, we had a strange, macabre fascination with the relics of dead saints in some of them, (I like to think that this is normal and human, or at least child-like!) and I now remember the buildings by who was there – so to speak! Particularly memorable is a trip to a church in Lucca, Italy, which is “home” to the entire, preserved body of St Zeta, who is actually taken out and paraded in her glass coffin once a year …but that’s a different story!

We (my brother and I, not Zeta) would have had a field day in Burgos cathedral; there are so many tombs! Most famously, the cathedral houses some of the remains of El Cid, a medieval military leader and heroic protagonist of many Spanish legends.

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The interior of the cathedral is beautiful so I’ve put a lot of pictures up! The Dome is said to be the most beautiful example of Renaissance architecture in all of Spain. Philip 2nd said it must the the work of angels, not men – see, I was listening to the audio guide!

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The altar piece is Classical and the chapel is Gothic (I 100% remember when these periods were…). The really colourful ceiling was remodelled in the 18th century in horror vacui baroque style, which, as we all of course know, means fear of emptiness. Have a look at the picture below – it is fitting!

If I’m honest, the vast majority of what I’ve writted above and was said in the audio guide was way above me, but I feel like you should at least pretend to know about what you blog about, so  I went to the effort of making notes just for you, lovely readers, so I hope you appreciate it!

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These are only a small selection from the photos I took; the cathedral is so big that I spent a larger-than-expected portion of the day there. However, this was only in part due to its size and in another (large) part to being made to walk through the museum and art-galleries before you could leave. The museum was filled mostly with these ancient stone heads. I tried very hard to maintain my interest but, let’s be honest, there are only so many time-ravaged faces you can marvel at before you they all start to look the same and boredom sets in.

ImageHow did they work out  who he was supposed to be?

There was an art gallery with some more tapestries and another final one with modern religious sculptures, which I quite liked:

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After eventually leaving the museum, I ventured further into the town to find some lunch. Burgos is famous for its morcilla, which is sausage made with blood and oatmeal – a bit like black pudding. I’m ashamed to say I didn’t try any, but I really don’t like black pudding, so I played it safe with patatas bravas!

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After lunch I headed for the castle. The castle was, as you might expect, at the top of the hill! In the hot weather, with a heavy rucksack, it felt like a trek, so you can imagine the disappointment I felt when I got to the top and fount that it was closed for siesta! At least there was a cafe outside so I could revive myself with coffee while I waited!

ImageThat arrow is not used lightly!

You can imagine my even further disappointment when I entered to castle to find that it wasn’t worth the wait! The castle was destroyed by the moors, rebuilt, and they destroyed again buy the French in the Revolution, which is very interesting but meant that what’s left of the building is not very impressive! Since I’d walked all the way up there, and waited, I took some pictures. Here are the best ones:

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On the plus side, halfway up the mountain was a viewing platform which gave amazing views over the town. I chose a great day visibility-wise so I could see for miles! Underneath the platform was a glass-fronted nightclub with infinity views over the vista, which probably makes for a great night but sadly I didn’t stay the night to find out as I had to work on Monday. It’s probably the coolest nightclub I haven’t been to!

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Another week is now in full swing, but don’t worry – I’m won’t be working too hard tomorrow because we’re going to see an English play that’s touring Spain!

Hasta luego!

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