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Camino de Santiago, Day 21: Burgos to Rabe de las Calzadas

Biscuit

Biscuit, the Great, of Rabe de las Calzadas

This is Biscuit.  He made my day.  More on him later.

I didn’t check out of the hotel Jamie and I shared until 11:59 AM. I did not want to start the Camino again.  For a moment in the hotel, I fantasized about just staying in Burgos and ending my journey. My feet were hurting. My body aching. The rests ironically just make it worse, not better.

But instead of ending the Camino, I laced up my boots, put my pack on, met Jamie downstairs and out the doors we went into the Main Plaza where Jamie and I parted ways, agreeing to meet in some future town.

The walk today was dry (hallelujah!).  It took a long time to get out of Burgos, winding through city streets, down parkways, past colleges, and then finally out into the countryside, but never far from the freeway.  Every step felt like walking through molasses.  Only 12 kilometers (7.4 miles) into the walk I spotted Jamie in the tiny town of Rabe de las Calzadas having his ritual “end-of-the-day’s-walking” beer in the sunshine. He’d checked into a hostel and suggested I do the same because of my pain.  I did and quickly rejoined him for some vino rosado (rose wine) which was cheap (1 euro a glass) and the best I’ve ever had.  One glass led to another and then another and soon my pain was gone and I celebrated with another and another…

We met Ignacio, who stopped in the bar after work.  We talked with him for hours about Spain and Switzerland (his recent travels there) and the United States.  He, as many Spanish people do, apologized profusely for his poor English, but we were grateful for the conversation and apologized for our poor Spanish.  My Spanish is however, slowly getting better.  I am learning a few new words every day.  I’m basically at toddler level – not quite able to put a proper sentence together, but able to get my point across generally with a string of nouns and an occasional verb in the wrong tense.

The bar had a mascot who I named Biscuit because that was clearly his name.  His tag wrongly said “Dana”.  Biscuit welcomed us into his town and indulged us in his presence which was at once aloof but furry.   Biscuit belonged to the bar owner.  I didn’t want to correct the owner when he introduced the dog as Dana, because I’m not rude.  And he was pouring my drinks.  But mostly because I am not rude.   But, I did refer to “Dana” as Biscuit repeatedly all afternoon.  When the owner shared some locally made cheese (Bueno!) with us, Biscuit joined in the tasting.  And when he was not doing the rounds at the Pilgrim’s tables, he sat majestically in a window outside the bar like a statue.  The animals I meet along the Camino usually make my day.  They don’t care what language I speak or why I’m doing the Camino.  They just are.  And a cat is a cat is a cat.  A dog is a dog is a dog.  Biscuit stole my heart and made me smile.

After more wine, we rushed back to the alburgue before the curfew of 10 pm and the doors shutting.  A short day of walking and a long day of relaxation in the much-needed sun.

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