He was born here. He, who is larger than life. He, who inspired many novels, poems, songs and epic films. He, whose life story is truly one for the books. His real name is Rodrigo Diaz de Vibar. From that small town of Vibar north of Burgos.
Some of you may have seen the Charlton Heston-starrer where the dead hero’s mounted on a horse and had folks thinking he was still alive and in command of his troops defeating Moors and gaining territories like Valencia, where he perished.
There are many other legends surrounding El Cid’s eventful life, some more persistent than others. Like how he persuaded King Alfonso to publicly swear he had nothing to do with the death of his brother Sancho, the former king whom Alfonso succeeded. The nerve of this knight!
As for me, Burgos’ charm rests on its carefully manicured parks and gardens, beautiful arched gateways leading to plazas and tree-lined walkways, flowing rivers and bubbling streams, outdoor gyms, bronze and brass statues, and best of all, the Burgos Cathedral housing many art treasures and the remains of its favorite son.
If one had only 24 hours in Burgos, he’d find that the Cathedral, Plaza Mayor and the lovely Paseo de Espolon with its tree-lined pathways are in one compact area, side by side with the many interesting restaurantes, cafe bars and shops.
Fortunately for us, we had more than just 24 hours in this city along the camino trail to Santiago de Compostela. From the looks of it, many peregrinos chose to spend more time here to relax and enjoy its beauty or to engage in gastronomic pursuits. And if one chose to spend an entire afternoon inside the Cathedral and see nothing else, no way he’d get disappointed. The interiors make a feast for the eyes.
With time, we browsed through the Museum’s treasures, leisurely strolled through the tree-lined lanes, checked out the outdoor gym in the park, walked under the arches and tunnels leading to the Plaza Mayor, cabbed our way to visit the Monasterio Real de las Huelgas, and savored Burgos’ famous dishes.
Even from the window of the hotel where we stayed, it was a luxury to feast one’s eyes on the beauty below and farther out. With more time, I would have visited more convents and museos. Instead, I went to the same restaurante where Burgos local cuisine takes centerstage. Priorities, y’know 😉