The Spanish people are the nicest, most conscientious, helpful and hard-working people on the planet, and the staff at the Hotel Norte Y Londres is no exception.
The day before yesterday when Tom and I got the last room in the hotel I saw the receptionisto trying to help some pilgrims who came in after us find rooms by calling around to other hotels for them. Yesterday morning when I asked the receptionisto at the front desk if we could stay another two nights because my husband was sick he seemed concerned and sympathetic and said that, though he thought the hotel might be already completely booked for the second night, he'd leave a note for the manager to see what they could do to help us. A few hours later the manager let me know that they'd worked it out and that we could keep the room for another two nights. Once again, we were very grateful to have landed at this place.
Yesterday morning we slept in until 7:20, about an hour and a half later than usual, as most albergues want you out the door before 8 am and some want you out even earlier, so they can start cleaning and preparing for the next batch of pilgrims.
We moseyed on down - well, I moseyed, Tom more dragged down - to the hotel comedor - the breakfast room,
....which was full of older pilgrims. We talked to a few of them who had booked an extra day, a "rest day" as taking an extra day in one place is called,, to visit the city. In the big famous cities like Pamplona, Burgos, and Leon, the albergues will let you spend an extra day to visit the city. Otherwise you may stay only one night, though I think if a pilgrim were sick in a small village where there was no hotel or hostel to recover in the hospitaliero would probably let you stay in the albergue.
The breakfast, which was included in the 60€ cost of the room, was lovely, in a bready way, though there were also some apples and yogurt along with the rolls, muffins, and croissants:
After breakfast Tom went back to bed and I went down to the lobby to ask the receptionisto if there was a laundromat in the neighborhood. He gave me a map and showed me how to get to a laundry service called Vite-Sec, where you leave your clothes to be cleaned then delivered back to the hotel.
Tom pulled himself out of bed and we walked the several blocks and, with the help of the local folks, who stopped to ask if they could help us a couple of times when we stood on the side walk trying to figure out my map - the Spanish always stop to help if they think you look the least hesitant about where you're going - actually, I've found New Yorkers to be the same way, though not necessarily Parisians, at least not the last time I was in Paris 40 years ago - anyway, we finally found the Vite-Sec, a busy place full of customers and workers, including a woman ironing up a storm, working that iron a mile a minute.
As the friendly lady behind the counter took our clothes and processed our order she told me she spoke a little English and I told her I spoke a little Spanish, so she suggested we should practice on each other. So we practiced talking about the weather for a minute back and forth in English and Spanish. It was actually quite a chilly morning, I was wearing my sweater and my jacket, and the lady explained to me that Burgos was a cold place, colder than most of the rest of Spain because it was in the north. For being so busy, she was a really friendly lady.
Anyway, by 7 pm our clothes were back at the hotel, clean, dry, and smelling wonderful. It cost us 12€, about $13.80, but we didn't care, those were some gross clothes before they were washed.
On our way back from Vite-Sec to the hotel we passed a pastry shop selling the most divine-looking pastries,
.....including some treble-clef eclaires,
...which it would have been wrong not to buy, so we bought a couple and brought them back to the hotel for later consumption.
A few hours later when lunch time rolled around Tom, still lying in the hotel bed, was craving some warm comfort food, a plate of spaghetti or some paella. Just hearing Tom talk about spaghetti gave me a sudden jones for spaghetti, too.
So we returned to the streets of Burgos, Spain, to look for an Italian restaurant. We found one right around the corner from our hotel. We ordered a small salad (with tuna, of course) which turned out to be massive, which we spit and two plates of outstandingly delicious bolognese spaghetti of such gargantuan portions that one plate would have been more than enough for us both. I, a gold-star member of the clean-plate club, could, regretfully, finish only of half my fabulous spaghetti.
Of course, I guess I was subconsciously saving room for the pastries waiting back in our hotel room which we polished off for dessert after our spaghetti lunch.
After lunch - and in spite of how yummy our lunch had been - Tom was feeling worse from his cold so he crawled back into bed and I spent most of the afternoon in the hotel by the side of my my sick mate.
Around 6 pm I left the hotel for a little walk around the city,
...and around the cathedral,
....and to get a few shots of the Ice Cream Man.
The Ice Cream Man seems to pop up all over Burgos.
I love the Ice Cream Man.
When I returned to the hotel Tom was still in bed and not interested in eating dinner.
So I ventured out on my own to seek some nourishment, maybe some tapas, the small, appetizer-sized portions that the Spanish like to snack on.. The streets around our hotel were crowded with Tapas bars and people standing around the outdoor tables socializing and munching on plates of tapas.
I ended up going into a restaurant that was empty when I entered but jammed with people having tapas by the time I left, and ordered a plate of patatas bravas - roasted potatoes in sauce,
....which were quite good but not as good as the totally awesome patas bravas we had in another town along the Camino,
...for which the sauce was ketchup over mayonnaise - I know, I wouod never have thought of that combination, either but it made a really good patas bravas sauce.
I also ordered a mixed salad,
....the first salad I've eve had in Spain that lacked tuna fish. Somehow I didn't mind.
A romantic comedy of errors.
Lots and lots of errors.
"Equal And Opposite Reactions"
by Patti Liszkay
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of German Village,
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