Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Spain 1

So I don't have to email this to everyone I know, I'm detailing my trip to Spain on my blog. I took over a thousand photos, but won't bore you with them all here. If you're interested in a particular place or monument though, ask and I'll post more photos of it for you.

Due to the ttc strike in Toronto I had to walk for two hours to get to the York Mills subway station where I caught the Go bus to the airport. The flight to Amsterdam was fine, as was the connection to Madrid. I flew into Madrid on May 28th and went directly to the bus station and got a ticket for Burgos. Burgos is about 2 1/2 hours north of Madrid, and reached through some amazing scenery (something I could say about every city I went to in Spain).

It was in Burgos that I hit my first snag. The hostel I'd intended to stay in was full so I had to look around. A lot of hostels were full. Luckily one receptionist called a place she knew and it had a vacancy. Instead of staying 2 nights as I'd originally planned I decided to leave for Leon the next day.

To achieve this I toured as much of the city that night as I could. It stays light pretty late, so it wasn't hard. I saw the castle remains and the outside of the cathedral. I also got photos of the statue of El Cid, just inside the medieval city. There were some very pretty lanes of trees and gardens. Burgos is a gorgeous city, very medieval but in an easily navigable way (several other cities with medieval heritages were not easy to navigate).
The next day I visited the Cathedral and bought my pilgrim's shell.

I then took the bus to Leon, where I stayed in my first albergue (pilgrim's hostel). I was able to see the basilica and the cathedral before they closed. The cathedral had a tour of the upper part of the church to better examine the restored original stained glass.

From Leon I bussed to Ponferrada and it's Templar castle. Most of it was later additions, but the main square is still visible.

Another bus brought me to Pedrafita, where I started my camino (pilgrimmage) to Santiago de Compostela by walking in a hail storm. The view from the road once the freezing rain stopped was worth the effort though.

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