Still as cold as Christmas!. When I left the hotel at 9.15 it was 7 degrees and when I returned at 1.30 p.m. it had only risen to 10 degrees! I decided to pay another visit to Real Monasterio de Huelgas, a Cistercian convent, which had impressed me 2 years ago. As I walked there along the river bank an amazing thing happened. I met American Mary on her way to the bus station, complete with backpack! It had finally arrived at Ortega at 2.30 p.m. on the day I left her at about 1.30. She was able to return my pyjama top which I had never expected to see again! She was going to Leon by bus to meet her husband and they were going to walk to Santiago together.
Huelgas was just as fascinating as before, especially the exhibition of early medieval costumes. Inside the church, I was able to sneak a couple of illicit photos while lagging behind a big Spanish group. (We were not allowed to go round the place on our own, and twice I had not been lucky enough to encounter an English speaking group). After the tour I was this time able to purchase a guide book in English. Atapuerca should take note! I took lots of notes of my own and also a few sketches of the costumes, the like of which I had never seen anywhere in the world. They are in such good condition and are being preserved in dim light.
The convent itself was founded by Alfonso VIII (1156-1214) and his wife Eleanor of England. It was to become the burial place of the monarchs. There is one section of the church containing 16 elaborately carved stone tombs. All except one of these were opened and robbed by Napoleon's troops.
Alfonso also founded the nearby King's Hospital to provide care and accommodation for all the pilgrims going to Santiago. The buildings are now part of the University of Burgos. This was my next stop before walking back to Burgos through the park.
I had a long siesta back at the hotel. Then I watched the BBC World Service in bed for a couple of hours. Suddenly I noticed outside the window a storm had blown up, with huge hailstones falling on the balcony, followed by heavy rain. Later that night the local TV News showed pilgrims out in the blizzard up at Ortega contrasted with tourists sunning themselves on the beach at Alicante. This was my last day on the Camino, till I come back next year to do some more...
Painting of the Battle of Navas de Tolosa (1212) on the screen separating the nave from the choir
Hospital del Rey
Stamps on my Credencial: there is space for more next year
Shells point the way on the pavement out of Burgos