Burgos, Spain: Pedaling is a natural reflex now. I don’t give much thought to the how or the why or even to the ouch associated with cycling, I just hop on the bike and move my legs.
This morning, as I made my way through the beautiful golden Castill countryside sharing the road with tractors and rabbits and the occasional squirrel, it occurred to me that I jumped off the corporate ladder and into the deep end exactly two months ago. I’ve been F U for 60 days. That’s Fabulously Unemployed.
Everything has changed in these past 60 F U days. I counted my blessings many times today, and made sure I stopped to smell the flowers a few times as well.
I am trying not to think much about anything as I ride across Europe, especially about what I will do when I grow up. Most of my thoughts are pedantic: Have I missed a turn? What am I going to have for lunch?
But I do want to plant some seeds and let this sabbatical fertilize those seeds. One such seed is the book “Half Time” by Bob Buford, which I finished reading over the weekend. He’s a former television executive (sound familiar?) who in his 40’s decided to get out of business and do something that really matters to him and to his faith. Half Time is about moving from success to significance, about making the second half of one’s life – arguably the most important half – meaningful and impactful and rewarding. This is a theme I will come back to on this blog and during my journey, but enough said for now.
About today’s ride: It was gorgeous. The first two-thirds of the ride was perhaps my most enjoyable yet on this expedition. After yesterday’s navigational nightmare, today’s journey to Burgos was straightforward, involving just one left and two right turns and 100 km in between.
Throughout the Castill countryside there are expansive wind farms., the biggest land-based farms I have ever seen. They sit atop mountain bluffs and dot the landscape. In totality I find them very beautiful, perhaps even majestic, towering above the land. Fortunately for me the blades were slowly turning; it was not a blustery day. I also cycled past a few solar farms which harness Castill’s abundant sunshine. I am very impressed with Spain’s clean energy commitment.
Today at the town of Castrojeriz my road, the N120, intersected with the Camino de Santiago, one of the great pilgrimages of the Christian faith. The Camino stretches from France to the end of Spain. ,My route today and tomorrow is part of that route (though I am not cycling on the actual Camino, but some do). At the wonderfully old and quaint town of Castrojeriz, I was famished and joined three German hikers who are doing part of the Camino. They are walking 10-20 km a day on their pilgrimage.
There were a number of cyclists out between Castrojeriz and Burgos. One local Spanish cyclist joined me for a bit and we rode together until I had exhausted my very limited Spanish vocabulary. You can only say “Castill, Bueno” so many times.
I am blown away by Burgos. The Cathedral, built in the 1200’s in just forty years, is one of Spain’s treasures. The cathedral of Burgos is truly an architectural and artistic masterpiece, but after two weeks in Europe, I have seen enough cathedrals. Quaint churches are in. The city of Burgos is lovely, with immaculate planning and landscaping. The city center feels and looks like a very well manicured park.
I also met my first cranky Spaniard today. I’ve been in the country for a week now, so that’s a pretty good success rate. He was some sort of student protester who is occupying a square in Burgos. In trying to understand what has so incited him and his cause, he snapped: “no photos – this is not a circus.” Excuse me. He obviously hasn’t been schooled in the art of public relations.
Day 11 summary (Wednesday, June 15): Palencia – Burgos, Spain
Day 11 distance: 99.28 km
Day 11 ascent: 624 meters
Weather: hot and sunny
Distance: 860.74 km
Climbing: 6,418 meters
Number of rest days: 2
Number of police interactions: 1