I slept fairly well despite the loud music outside my hotel window, which ended about midnight. I got going around 8:30 to explore Burgos. Sometimes referred to as the Gothic capital of Spain, it was also the seat of Franco’s government until 1938, revealing its nationalist and establishment leanings. Named after its heavy defensive town towers, burgos, it was home to the warlord El Cid.
I walked past the 15th century San Lesmes, built in the 15th century to house the remains of San Lesmes, patron saint of the town who dedicated himself to the care of the pilgrims on the Road to Santiago de Compostela. I smiled at a squat sturdy couple sculpted in metal, and wandered through the empty streets of the city to the plaza fronting Catedral de Santa María, where I commiserated with the tired Monument to the Pilgrim.
I was headed straight for the café near the cathedral where I had seen churros and chocolate on offer the previous evening. I enjoyed those for breakfast, along with café con leche and orange juice.
Then I went over to the stunning 13th-century Catedral de Santa María, mostly Gothic with elements of Renaissance and Baroque. It’s a World Heritage Site. There is an excellent audio tour with more information than a person could ever absorb. I marveled over the multitudes of chapels, choirs, cloisters, altarpieces, and domes. It was huge! I’ll write another post with photos of the interior. 🙂
I passed through the Arco Santa María, the medieval entrance dating back to the 14th century, crossing the Puente de Santa María over the río Arlazón, the river that runs around the south side of the city and separates the old town from the new. I wandered to a pilgrim shop outside the old town that other pilgrims had told me about. I was looking for a small backpack that could hold a water bladder for my long trek ahead through the Meseta, since I had decided I would continue sending my large backpack ahead for the entire Camino. I found the pilgrim shop, but not the kind of backpack I was looking for.
I walked back into town and stopped at an outdoor cafe for tapas and limon y cerveza. I ran into a couple I’d met earlier on the Camino; they were from somewhere in the middle of Virginia, Dick and his wife. They said they were going to rent bicycles to go across the Meseta, doing two stages a day, in order to meet their timetable to catch their flight home. We planned to meet that evening at 7:00 for dinner outside the cathedral.
After lunch, I went to visit Iglesia de San Gil Abad, dating from the 14th-15th centuries, but a wedding was in progress so I couldn’t go in. I always feel sleepy after having a beer at lunch, so I made my way slowly back to my hotel for an afternoon nap.
I was on the fringe of numerous celebrations in Burgos, but I wasn’t feeling in a celebratory mood because my anger and anxiety over my loved one from the previous night was spilling over into my day. When I got back to my room, where I had wifi, my husband and I got into a disastrous exchange about him. He said they’d gone back and forth with a number of texts; he had told our loved one that I was upset that he’d blocked me on every form of social media. I said I didn’t like them talking about me behind my back and I wanted to know everything that was said about me. When Mike sent the text exchange, I was hurt by everything my loved one said. It seemed he thought it was “them” (Mike, him and his brother) against me, and that they should move forward, not backwards, without me. It was extremely hurtful.
I felt so angry with Mike for talking about me with our loved one and then trying to gloss over the conversation and not being forthcoming about it. I was angry with our loved one because he continued to blame us, especially me, for the problems in his life. He believed what society labels “schizophrenia” was a gift, not something that should be put down.
He sent this text to my husband, forwarded to me:
She loves the idea of us. If she actually loved us she would have been there. Sure we can’t go backwards. Let’s go forwards. If she actually loved us she would hear our concerns. Still not happening. She needs to reconcile her relationship with her mother. Mom needs to wake up to the truth that my grandmother was not crazy but in fact simply lived in a controlled world that didn’t want my grandmother sharing her truth. You guys both need to wake up to the fact that schizophrenic people are not born with a broken brain but their brain is broken slowly over decades by the people in their lives not listening and choosing to believe paid actors over their own family. She (and you) needs to wake up to the truth that shamanism runs in our bloodline. This is powerful work and this is what I came here for. The powers that be are working hard to silence us, the shaman class, and we are fighting back, but when our loved ones can’t hear us because of the strength of the deception it gets hard for us to get ahold of ANYTHING. You don’t have to agree, no, but in order for me to listen to you you’ve got to listen and not immediately put me in a box and start treating me like I’m broken. ……
Look at what I’ve said, I haven’t claimed to know the truth, I’m only saying that the evidence I’ve seen shows lies and cover ups in every major area of human activity and this leads me to question. Then I come to you guys, my parents, with these questions and you’re refusing to entertain the possibility. Even provided evidence, I mean look at mom’s response. She legit said she doesn’t care about this shit. She just wants me to let her live her life. Well living an unexamined life means you’re serving a master you don’t know. And for me to point that out to you is not offensive, it is simply true. ….
You wanna know how much it hurts me to know that you guys legit don’t care at all about me and you put on a facade every chance you get and are trying to shape me into the child you guys always wanted me to be,
I don’t understand why it’s so hard for you guys to comprehend why I’m angry. You both, my only parents in this world, are literally insulting my intelligence 🤷♂️ I cannot comprehend why you guys got so angry. I understand why you’re angry now. You were angry then and you keep making it worse. But you need to remember why you got angry in the first place and realize it’s a silly reason. When I remember why I got angry in the first place, it’s still completely justified no matter which way I look at it. I’ve been lied to since day 1. My life has been a witch hunt. Remember that time I got expelled from school for having a plant privately? Remember when mom SCREAMED at me for not completing one assignment in fifth grade, literally towering over a young boy violently yelling over not completing something from school, which you guys never even considered if it was a good place to put me, you just did it because other people told you to. Remember that little boy who sat at the window waving as his daddy left every day for 18+ years. Remember how badly he just wanted to be around his father and learn from him? Now you see this weak pussy of a Peter Pan boy crying because he never learned any life skills from his parents but gave him enough money that he never had to learn those skills himself. I know why I’m angry. I can’t figure out why y’all are angry? You have more than enough resources. You have the stability to take a minute and do some research and see if your son is crazy or if he’s just one of the few awake. I can’t figure out why y’all are so angry but I’m f** pissed.”
My husband wrote back to him:
So you think your parents were the worst parents in the world because we did the best we knew how and raised our kids the way our friends and peers raised their kids? You choose to focus on negatives vs any positives. Ok that is fine. Everyone makes mistakes – we are human. Many people come from dysfunctional families and in Landmark-speak, at some point in time you need to leave the baggage behind and figure how to move forward and let go of the anger and forgive or it will keep eating away at you. It just seems that you are so angry that we don’t agree with your views and yes we have heard them. That doesn’t seem right. Mom spent all night praying for you and for herself and talking with others to get different perspectives. She called this morning to suggest paying off the last three months of Alex’s rent so you guys could get a place together. I’ve read tons of books and continue to read so that I am open to new ideas. Mom read the book you sent her right away. Not sure how many moms would have done that.
I felt there was no hope, no way forward. I could not live with another emotionally unstable person in my life. I wanted to escape from the family. I felt it was them against me. My feelings were so strong and dark that I wrote in my journal: “I am feeling like I don’t want to live any longer. Maybe there is a cliff or a castle wall I can throw myself off.”
Not only did I not fit in with my own family, and I didn’t want to deal anymore with my loved one and his disastrous decisions that always impacted us, but I felt I didn’t fit in anywhere. I felt no connection to anyone. I hated being in the city with all those people and the loud noise. I decided then and there I wouldn’t stay in any more cities during my Camino.
When I went into several churches today, I was simply bitter with God because he wasn’t helping at all, despite my pilgrimage and all my prayers. He seemed totally oblivious to my struggles. My loved one seemed to be getting worse, I was feeling hateful, my husband was stressed, and I felt hopeless and isolated. My loved one despised me and was convincing his brother to hate me. All I felt I had was my daughter, and I felt she didn’t care about me that much either. I sent my father a gift card for his birthday and he redeemed it with no thanks whatsoever. All my relationships seemed to be falling apart.
I had intended to rest back in my room, but after all this, I didn’t get any rest. I distracted myself by posting pictures of Burgos on Instagram. At 4:00, I went back out and walked to Iglesia de San Gil Abad, where I told God I was angry and bitter.
I then walked to the 14th century Iglesia de San Esteban which was closed.
I climbed endlessly up to El Castillo park, where I walked around the ruins of the Castillo. From this high point, I had wondrous views over the city. I felt my spirits lift slightly under the blue sky and the far-reaching views.
I walked downhill to Iglesia de San Nicholás, the 15th century church that sits above Burgos Cathedral. A church service was in progress, but I determined to come back later because of the magnificent altarpiece. I ran into my Quebec friend Paul, who was waiting at a café in Plaza Santa María for his friend Richard to meet him. I sat and had a beer with him, but he seemed very preoccupied. I felt he wanted to be rid of me. I’m sure my gloom was evident, and I couldn’t say I blamed him. They would leave for Zaragoza the next day and I’d never see them again.
After leaving Paul, I went back up to San Nicholás because of the stunning white marble altarpiece I wanted to photograph, but this time there was a wedding in progress. I waited a while for the Virginia couple on the steps, but they never showed up for our agreed-upon dinner plans. I felt hurt that that they ditched me, even though I didn’t care much for them anyway. Then I reread my loved one’s disturbing texts.
I felt defeated. I trudged back to my room, stopping for patatas brava and another limon y cerveza. Back in my room, I couldn’t relax because of the loud music blaring outside my window, which only seemed to amplify my churning anxiety.
I needed to get out of Burgos. I felt I no longer had the heart for my Camino. I wanted to disappear, vanish into some faraway land.
*Day 19: Saturday, September 22, 2018*
*16,714 steps, or 7.08 miles: out & about in Burgos*
You can find everything I’ve written so far on the Camino de Santiago here:
On Sundays, I post about hikes or walks that I have taken in my travels; I may also post on other unrelated subjects. I will use these posts to participate in Jo’s Monday Walks or any other challenges that catch my fancy.
This post is in response to Jo’s Monday Walk: Mértola’s 10th Islamic Festival.
Oh, Cathy! So sad for you. Surrounded by such beauty but in such a bad place. I can sympathise with what your son has said while still realising what an attack on you it must have felt. Our expectations of other people can be completely unrealistic at times. I’m sure you’ve thought long and hard since, Cathy, and are helping him in the only way you know how. I love you, hon. xxx
Thanks for your love, Jo. It was definitely the lowest part of my Camino, and one of the low points in my life as well. But things do pass, don’t they? It’s a good thing life has its ups and downs; when we have the ups, we can really appreciate them. I hope all is well is the Azores, or are you back yet?
Sitting in the harbour at Horta on Faial after a wonderful ferry trip. Totally full and listening to Fado. We have 2 more nights here then back to the main island Sao Miguel for 5. Loving it, Cathy. Somewhere along the way I’ve earned this treat 😍💕
Wow, sounds very romantic and beautiful! I’m so happy for you, and certainly, yes!, you’ve earned the treat. Wow, you’re there for quite a while. Can’t wait to see photos and read all about it. 🙂
Great post 🙂
Thank you ever so kindly.
No problem 🙂 check out my blog when you get the chance 😄
I’m so sorry, my heart hurts for you.
Thank you, Anabel. It was certainly the low point of my Camino, and in fact one of the low points in my life. But thank goodness that good often follows the bad, and that life has ups and downs.
I hope you are now on an up x
We are, thank goodness. And thanks for your good wishes!
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Hopefully things improved as you moved on from here.
They did, Albert, mainly because I detached myself from the situation, prayed a lot, and immersed myself in other pilgrims’ stories. And once I let go of my loved one, he improved himself, at least for a time. Ah, the ups and downs of life.
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I am so happy to hear that…..
Thank you so much. I really appreciate it. 🙂
Churros and hot chocolate for breakfast – yum! You really needed to treat yourself and look after you on that day, Cathy.
Thanks, Carol. Yes, the churros and chocolate were a great treat. I needed all I could find to get myself through those rough three days!
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The Way of St. James to Santiago do Campostela again crossed my way, now at the Baltic Sea on the island of Usedom lying near the border to Poland. There was even special pilgrims accomodation in a more normal hotel. Crazy to imagine the long, long path still waiting!? Cheers @ Ulli
Wow, that would be a very long path from the border of Poland to Santiago. I know pilgrims hike from so many different places, and many from much further away than I did! It is crazy to imagine it. 🙂
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Sorry to hear of the heartache Cathy I do hope by now things are improving. It must be so hard for you when you are far away and not able to contact your son.
Thank you, Pauline. Things are going well right now, and they went well for some time after these three horrible days, but things are always changing. Up and down and up and down. I just have to take one day at a time.
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Pleased to hear things are going well at the moment Cathy
Me too. I’m just trying to trust and taking one day at a time.
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How hard to be going through family troubles, being so far from home. It really takes one out of such a special, spiritual place. It doesn’t show in your beautiful pictures though.
Actually it was strange that the family troubles became tests of my faith, and it was the spiritual journey that helped me get through them. The pilgrimage taught me a lot about letting go and trusting, and above all, about love.
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