Burgos – A Cathedral and Local Food

Burgos has the third largest Cathedral in Spain. Its construction began in 1221 on the site of an existing Roman temple. The first part was consecrated only 9 years later. The construction was completed in 39 years, apparently a record! It follows Gothic patterns, the Bishop at the time having recently visited France. It went through major changes in the 15th and 16th centuries, adding side chapels in Gothic and Baroque styles.

We did the tour of the cathedral and there were a lot of side chapels, each containing extravagant alters dedicated to various saints and bishops. To be honest, after a while we began to get a bit bored of gilding and poly-chroming.

The cathedral is set slightly into a hill side, so the back entrance is 8m above the main floor level. This was made into a feature called the Golden Stairs.

The Golden Stairs

The cathedral was also home to the coffin of Rodrigo Díaz de Vivar, also known as El Cid. He was a Castilian nobleman and military leader in medieval Spain. He seems to have taken every army he lead to victory and was a general medieval badass.

Local Food and Drink

After the cathedral, we decided to try some tapas. We found a local tapas bar called La Mejillonera and sampled the patatas bravas and calamari. It was a very relaxed, everyone just standing at tables, chatting, eating their tapas with a beer. The barman however not relaxed, he could sling tapas and drinks faster than I could pronounce patatas bravas.

Our personal tour guide (thanks Jess) provided us with the following information:

Spanish fact of the day: in the north of the country (roughly Madrid upward) ‘tapas’ are called pintxos (in Basque Country) or pinchos. It is only in the south that they are called tapas. Pinchos are often something in a bread base with a toothpick in it. In some bars, the way they add up the bill for your pinchos is by adding up the number of toothpicks on your plate when you pay – very trusting! Pinchos are not free with a drink but only cost a small amount. Pinchos are named after the Spanish word for toothpick. Tapas in the south are very often free with a drink and may be served at the bar on a plate. You don’t normally get a big choice of tapa, maybe one or two dishes or sometimes just one. The name ‘tapa’ apparently originates from the days when a piece of bread was served on top of the glass with a piece of ham or cheese on it to keep the flies out. Try some tapas and/or pinchos when you’re there – patatas bravas or tortilla de patatas are good potato based tapas which are served on most places. I can also recommend Pinchos Morunos – little spicy pork or lamb kebabs 😋
¡Buen provecho! (Bon apetite in Spanish)

Back at the campsite, we needed to do some planning. It looks like we’ll be away from big campsites for a few days, so we needed to catch up on some van chores so I didn’t run out of pants.

Keeping it classy on laundry day

To finish the details of the planning, we went to the campsite’s bar. They had about 5 different types of San Miguel beer on tap. It turns out that the brewery is only a few hundred metres away.

San Miguel Especial

A personal tour guide says:

Spanish fact of the day: they don’t generally drink pints of beer in Spain (unless you are in an Irish bar – of which there are many, for some reason – or on a hipster bar). Most people order beer on tap when they go out. This is normally Spanish larger. You ask for a ‘Caña’ and you’ll get a tall glass of cold beer, roughly equivalent to a half pint. Of course you can get bottled beers in places too but if you want to fit in with the locals, order: “Dos cañas, por favor”🍻😊

Moving on tomorrow… need to find somewhere warmer overnight!

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