We waste no time and even before getting into the saddle we are heading to see the Cathedral of Santo Domingo de la Calzada in the morning, with the saint’s tomb and all. No one reported visions or nightmares, but we slept only feet away from Santo Domingo himself and countless other bodies having earned their space close to the saint.
We pay homage, storm the cathedral and its defence corridors way above he medieval city. What an amazing structure. The saint’s tomb is equal in impressiveness and simplicity. No gold or silver adorns any of the under-ground chamber, but appears carved out of monolythic block of local rock. The carvings are exquisit. The place demands silence and invites for reflection.
At this point we don’t quite know that the end of the day holds the discovery of another cathedral that dwarfs this one, making our jaws drop – the one in Burgos. However, until then we have a hard day riding ahead of us. Vamonos!
Since we want to be in Burgos at a reasonable time for visiting the cathedral and experiencing one of Spain’s finest inner cities, we are planning to keep this stage around 50km. The rolling hills, with some little “kickers” interspersed into the the mesatas, which are Spain’s high plateaus are surprisingly demanding. The 50km mountainbike ride poses a challenge in endurance and saddle stamina. We see pilgrims in pain, nursing their feet in cold streams off the path, massaging, sometimes in tears, some not willing or able to move on at all. Our little saddle sores are peanuts in comparison. We are beginning to grasp the myth called Camino. Well, at least the physical aspect of this torture. We confess, we are still learning. On the flip-side, none of the walkers have our sore bottoms. They might see the bikes, our crutches, to help us along, but at the end of the day, we as well as them are utterly exhausted.