Welcome to my blog, where I take pleasure in words and pictures, be they my own or those of others. I'm a creative individual, and the crafty side I explore on my 'other blog', Picking Up The Threads, which I hope you'll visit too. I'm sure you understand that I have sole copyright of my original work and any of my contributions, so please ask if you want to use them. A polite request is rarely refused. So, as they used to say on the BBC's 'Listen With Mother' radio programme, many years ago: "Are you sitting comfortably? Then we'll begin."

Wednesday, 9 October 2013

Beguiled by Burgos

There he is, El Cid himself, riding high in the city of Burgos, the former capital of Castilla y León in Northern Spain, where the legendary hero lies buried in the Cathedral. He didn't bear any resemblance to Charlton Heston in the film, but this was an imposing monument to Spain's national hero. I was glad to have seen him but more pleased still to meet someone I had hitherto only known through our shared interests on Sepia Saturday.

By careful planning we managed to ensure that our tour of Northern Spain last week landed us in Burgos on the same day as Brett Payne, better known to you all as Photo Sleuth. Brett is currently walking the Santiago de Compostela pilgrim route and was having a couple of well-earned rest days.  Brett lives in New Zealand and we live in Lanzarote, off the coast of Africa, so we consider it a feather in Sepia Saturday's cap that not two, but three Sepians managed to get together in this way. In case you're wondering Caminante (occasional Sepian) took the picture, but as I live with him anyway that bit was easy. Here we are having just met under the clock of the Ayuntamiento (Town Hall).

John and Brett admire the Casa del Cordón
The Cathedral of Santa Maria

We explored the city together and stopped to  gaze at the ornately spikey Gothic cathedral and the Casa del Cordón, where the Catholic monarchs welcomed Columbus after his second Americas expedition. The house is named after the monk's ropes, carved in stone, hanging over the door.

We stopped a couple of times for a snack known as Pinchos, or Pintxos (in Basque), a beer or coffee. It was very hot and we were pleased to find a little shade in this arcade, whilst we chatted away and got to know each other a little better. I'm pleased to report that Brett is just as nice as he appears in his weekly Photo Sleuth submissions and his Facebook comments for Sepia Saturday.

All over Northern Spain there are wonderful statues and fountains in the streets of even the smallest towns. Brett offered to be photographed sharing this young lady's umbrella; fortunately the fountain was switched off at the time.

We had no idea that our visit coincided with a Medieval Festival, but it turned out to add a whole different dimension. Sepia Saturday likes anything old and here in Burgos, and the next day for John and me, in León, we found that the place was steeped in history; ancient streets with balconied buildings and medieval churches. The festival gave the city's proud inhabitants the chance to let their hair down and celebrate their traditions and regional produce whilst dressing up and generally having a good time.

Hard to resist the many food stalls; Brett chooses some local cheese for his lunch next day and samples some proffered local ham.  

Don't even think of your diet; just look at the tarts and pastries on display here. 

You could burn off the extra calories perhaps by taking a turn at a 'medieval' carousel, worked entirely by pedal-power. As Brett was giving his pilgrim's legs a rest, he politely declined my suggestion that he offer his services. The young man running the machine was clearly having so much fun it would have been a shame to deprive him. 

Here's another young man, but this little troubador is being shepherded by his dancing master along one of the main streets of the city. We found we were constantly stopping to admire these statues  and to enjoy the details and humour.

The one below was dedicated 'A nuestros mayores con el carino y el respeto que merecen' - 'Our elders with the affection and respect they deserve' in November 2009. I love the fact that the grandma is a crocheter like me. Sadly her yarn basket was a bit soggy due to a recent rainfall. 
Brett encouraged John to join the group and show them what a senior really looks like! 

By now we were ready to sample the Pilgrims' Menu at a local restaurant. Very basic; three courses, with bread, water and wine for about 16 euros.  All too soon it was time for us to go our separate ways as Brett needed a good night's sleep before a very early start next day. We asked our waiter, now making his way out of the door dressed in his medieval costume, to take our picture. Here you have it, three Sepians together; Photo Sleuth, Caminante and Little Nell, hoping to meet again in real life one day- who knows?

Sepia Saturday this week has a picture of a ship being launched as a reminder that it is hundred years since HMS Queen Elizabeth was launched at Portsmouth. Alan says:

In Sepia Saturday 198 we celebrate the start of something new. It might be a life, it might be a love, it might be a new chicken coop or it might be a mighty ocean liner.

A backward glance at the city gate of Burgos, illuminated for the evening, as we made our way back to the hotel, and a reminder of a very pleasant day spent in good company  and the celebration of a new friendship - will that do? 

Join other Sepians as they share their own celebrations, and whatever you do, don't be like ships that pass in the night.


  1. A fascinating profile of a region I knew nothing about. My favourite photographs - the statues.

  2. Wow -- Brett is so tall and you're so short! Your report of the day makes me wish I could have been there too.

  3. I'm glad he was as nice in real life as he is on the computer. Wouldn't it be awful to have to warn the group about someone who wasn't? The photo of the man in the booth at the medival fair looks almost sepia.

  4. Thank you, Marilyn and John, for the opportunity to get to know both of you. Burgos is a delightful town, but my visit was so much more special by virtue of being able to share it with two lovely people who I now feel privileged to call friends. Have a good round of SS this week - I must be off to attend to more mundane Camino-related duties.

  5. I'm a genealogist and big fan of Brett's. I've spent a few mornings in the archives of that cathedral in Burgos, quite a fun experience since the monk who is the archivist won't let you talk whilst researching. We've been following Brett's camino and thus followed his link to your blog. Isn't it interesting how the internet works?

  6. Looks like an amazing place and sounds like you had a wonderful time!
    Liz @ Shortbread & Ginger

  7. Marilyn, I thoroughly enjoyed this post. How fun that you three were able to get together and explore the city, Thanks for all of the pictures and the tour.

    Kathy M.

  8. How wonderful to have the opportunity to meet a fellow Sepian & in such a beautiful place. And isn't Brett on a trek! We watched the 2010 movie "The Way" with Martin Sheen so are vaguely familiar with the route. Even in the movie the scenery was magnificent so I can imagine in person it must be, for want of a better word, awesome. But the scenery in Burgos is lovely, too. The cathedral of Santa Maria, even in a photo, almost takes your breath away. The city gate is rather impressive as well. All those old cities are so archeologically beautiful. I hope all of you are having a splendid time wherever your separate travels take you.

  9. What an interesting place!
    Isn't blogging great! You get to make new friends from all around the world with similar interests who you wouldn't have met otherwise.

  10. Three Sepians in one place, and in such a beautiful place - how wonderful! You three look great. I'll remember the Pilgrim's Menu (for maybe one day...) The city gate of Burgos looks like something from a fairy tale. I love it!

  11. Wow that was an exciting post. I think it is always fun when I hear of bloggers meeting in real life. We already have a common bond so its not too hard to feel comfortable with new friends. I met a couple when I toured the States a few years ago.

  12. It's always great to meet people you have previously only networked with online. What a beautiful setting to do it in too!
    Nice article Marilyn - off to share it now. xx

  13. It's nice you got to meet Brett. I especially enjoyed the statues.

  14. Lovely photos and it sounds like you had a wonderful visit.

  15. Marvellous how online communities can blossom out into real life at times. Brett must be delighted too. How great to be in a foreign city miles from home, and find a friendly face! Looks like a good time was had by all.

  16. I have had the pleasure to meet up in real life with three or four Sepians and the experience is never a disappointment. One day we will hold our World Congress (Sepia Saturday 1000) and what a gathering that will be.

  17. That's just wonderful news. Thanks so much for sharing it with us.

  18. The difference in height between Brett and yourself struck me immediately. He looks huge; it's good to be able to see a Sepian you only know from a head and shoulders shot. You picked a beautiful place to me.Loved the three seniors.

  19. This was such a joy to read. And the photos are lovely. Thanks for sharing.

  20. Bravo! A mark of how blogging makes good friends. I like Alan's idea of a Sepians World Congress but let's not wait so long.

  21. What fun, real people exist behind these screen images, where they talk about their real lives...and here you had a chance to meet in person. I'm absolutely thrilled to hear it. The internet wins again as a medium to serve humanity.

  22. Thanks for sharing. You made me feel I was there too.

  23. 3 Seians, Spain, and a medieval festival? That's hard to beat!!
    Glad to hear you all had fun.
    Good luck on his journey.
    A friend of mine did that in 2007.
    Between her pics and my limited editing skills [back then],
    I made a short clip of her journey:
    She was delighted by her journey.
    I think I could live off on those pastries for a week,
    maybe two!!!
    A SS World Congress, in 15 years and 20 weeks?!?
    Hey?!? I'd be retired by then!!!!!!!!

  24. I didn't know Burgos was such a nice place to visit. Ah well, Spain is loaded with beautiful medieval cities. Thank you for showing the photos and stories. It reminds me of Malaga, there is a square with a bench where you can photograph yourself with a statue of Picasso. Walking the famous pilgrim route is not my cup of tea, but who knows, maybe when I'm older.

  25. A Part Of Spain I've Not Been Too Yet.Praise All Spanish Pilgrims!


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