Burgos is one of my favorite cities in Spain. It’s cathedral is one of my favorites. It’s surrounded by a plaza, where you can enjoy a café con leche or cerveza and admire the grandeur of this ornate and compact cathedral. El Cid, one of Spain’s legendary figures, who fought both for and against the Moors, is buried in the center of the cathedral in a tomb that is easy to miss.
I love to stay at the Hotel Meson El Cid, which faces the cathedral. The rooms and furnishings are simple. The attraction is to have a room facing the cathedral. The view each morning and evening is spectacular. The sun rises around 8 a.m. A brilliant globe of light rises over the horizon and gives an aura to the already majestic cathedral.
I met The Rev’d Ildefanso Quintana at the cathedral five years ago when I was walking the Camino Frances. He is the Secretary General of the Diocese of Burgos. He’s the Bishop’s chief assistant. Ildefanso, named for the patron saint of Toledo, had just preached and celebrated the Eucharist in the cathedral. I was a pilgrim who always attended the pilgrim’s mass each evening.
I was about halfway through my first 500 mile trek to Santiago. My feet and back were sore. Ildefanso, now age 72, and I struck up a conversation after the Eucharist which led to a friendship. He invited me to the clergy home where he lives for dinner. We spent the evening speaking Spanish while eating a most unforgettable meal amid fine company of Spanish clergy and nuns.
Ildefanso offered to take me to visit some medieval monasteries outside Burgos two days later, if I could stay longer in the city. I took him up on his offer and loved stepping back into this ancient world of the Middle Ages with him while speaking Spanish all day.
Five years later, it was great to be reunited with Ildefanso. Neither Burgos nor he have changed.
With love and prayers from Spain,