After a good rest I did manage to visit Burgos Cathedral. It's hard to describe the sheer enormity of the building. It seems even bigger because of its close proximity to the smaller shops and hotels around it. With the pilgrims credential my entrance fee was only 3 euros, this included the audio guide, in English fortunately. As you would expect the building consisted of a main precept with several chapels branching from it. Each chapel was devoted to a particular saint and as you can imagine the display of gold and intricate craftsmanship was simply breathtaking. I sat in one of the chapels for at least half an hour staring at the ceiling and contemplating life, the universe and everything and God. In actual fact the ceiling, for me, was even more spectacular because of the way the detail of the masonry resembled icing on a cake.
After the usual 6am rustling activity, I woke up and was up and out early. I knew getting out of Burgos was going to be tricky. My previous experience in Pamplona had reminded me to be vigilant, because picking out the little yellow arrows in amongst all the other city paraphernalia was tricky. Usually there were people ahead of me that I could secretly rely on but there weren't this time. Anyway it didn't present too much of a problem and I got a certain satisfaction from looking back and seeing the string of men following in my footsteps. As I mentioned before, I'm fast. It's come as a surprise to me that I can keep up physically. In fact my speed has not gone unnoticed by certain sectors of the peligrino community! There are people joining the route all the time, inparticular, yanks who have joined from Pamplona or Burgos. This makes the need to get to the next destination early all the more important, in order to get a bed for the night. I find this thought quite a physical motivator.
Soon after Burgos the Meseta began. Its a mainly flat but slightly undulating landscape. It's fairly high above sea level and very open; fields filled with wheat. Once the sun broke through the clouds, it was hot hot hot. Water became paramount and fortunately they were some places to get it. However, if you missed an opportunity you could end up being in real trouble. I was drinking constantly, making myself do it even when I thought my bladder was going to burst. The last 5km were a killer for me, but I did arrive. It was just past 1pm. Around 27km in 6 hours with very little stoppage time. It's a good job I did arrive early as the hoards soon started coming in about 2 to 3 hours later. I am trying to go beyond the recommended places named in the guide book for each stage, in the hope that intermediate villages will be quieter, but it means that the pressure ' to motor' is relentless. Perhaps I'm putting this pressure on myself unduly, but I'm learning that I actually have quite a competitive nature.
The approach into Hontanos set my mind to thinking of spaghetti westerns. The village appeared like an oasis out of the driest savannah. I had to pinch myself to believe it was real, I was so tired. Then I smelt the coffee, literally and I think I actually speeded up.
Before I could go out and explore I needed to complete the usual ritual. Shower, hot if available, often not. Tend to feet: massage, compede and blister damage limitation. Washing: while sun still up to maximise drying potential, hopefully some hot water, but invariably not.
Routine complete, I ventured forth to see what Hotanus had to offer. It looked promising!