with tips for cycling & hiking
A couple of hours drive after leaving Santillana in Cantabria brings you to Burgos, once the capital of the united kingdoms of Castile and Leon.
We based ourselves at Camping Fuentes Blancas which is an ACSI off peak site, so offers exceptional value.
It is an open site and as you would expect with a city site, a lot of transitory traffic and this perhaps does give the impression of a green car park but there is plenty of room and excellent facilities, with an easily accessible MH service point, lashings of hot water and an attention to cleanliness which was first class as they appeared to be constantly cleaning and emptying litter.
There is also a pleasant bar area and restaurant which we can not comment on.
You would be best advised to ignore your Sat Nav as you get close to the site and lookout for the signs to the site.
The site is conveniently sited for the town with a regular bus service but give that a miss and take the picturesque two mile walk into the City, following the Arlanzón river.
You will soon see the gem in Burgos’s crown, the cathedral come into view.
As you approach the town you come to the bridge and the magnificent gateway ‘The Arco de Santa Maria’, which leads into the old quarter and to the impressive Gothic cathedral, which is Spain’s third largest.
The town is reasonably compact and it is extremely pleasant to just wander around, particularly as you do not feel that you are overwhelmed by tourists.
It is impossible not to be drawn by the cathedral, which is truly impressive both in and out, but we both felt afterwards that we were all ‘cathedraled out’ and not in a rush to tackle any more.
The cathedral houses the tombstones of El Cid and his wife Jimena. Folks of our age will remember El Cid being immortalised in the film of the same name, starring Charlton Heston. El Cid comes from the Arabic word Sidi, meaning ‘Lord’ and was given to Rodrigo Diaz de Vivar for his heroism fighting the Moors and capturing Valencia for the Christians, conveniently forgetting that he at one time he fought for the Moors before changing sides. I suppose 11th century politics is not much different from today.
The western side of the cathedral which you pass on the climb to the citadel.
A different vista can be achieved by climbing up to the citadel, last besieged by Wellington in the Peninsula War and though in ruins and only open at weekends, offers a very pleasant walk around its walls.
The perimeter walls are reasoanably intact and though a level walk around them, it is a steady climb to the fortress; they tend to build castles on hills.