Burgos, the Bilbao Bonus

The rain stopped in Burgos (and so did our bus)

My traveling companion was sprawled out on a seat behind me when the bus stopped for a half-hour respite. We were making an unexpected stop in Burgos, a town halfway between Madrid and Bilbao. The thought of finally glimpsing the city’s famous cathedral seemed too good to be true, and I was nearly beside myself when I realized that the bus station was thisclose to the historic center.

Paseo del Espolón

The Arlanzón River flows through town

“Wake up, wake up! We have half an hour, let’s go see the cathedral!”

Poor Megan had not seen the sign welcoming us to Burgos and thought that we had reached our final destination. Bilbao? Cathedral? Half an hour? I realized that I wasn’t making any sense so I give a bit of history as we strolled to the historic center.

This fairy-tale entrance, the Arco de Santa María, had a face-lift in the 1500s

León, the town I once called home, houses a strikingly beautiful cathedral. I circled it on the way to school in the morning and found myself there again in the evening as it was the meeting point before a night out. Pilgrims would ask me to snap their picture with the building in the background, weddings took place inside on Saturdays, and it was an obvious reference point when giving directions.

And now, la catedral in Burgos

Interior of the cathedral

Don’t forget to look up

Burgos, another town in Castilla y León, has an ancient rivalry with León capital. The people of either town will passionately argue that their cathedral is the best. I imagine that, just like in its sister city (shhh, don’t mention I called ’em that), Burgos’s cathedral also plays a huge part in social and cultural life after mass is over.

Somehow, I had never managed to make it to Burgos during a semester in León. And, with one serendipitous stop, the bus to Bilbao remedied that.

No matter which cathedral you prefer, meeting pilgrims is possible in both cities

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1 Comment

  1. The cathedral is so cool looking. Glad to hear that a mid-trip stop gave you the chance to see it. And your pictures of the park is gorgeous (like always!)

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