Vivir en Burgos
Burgos is the smartest city that we have visited in Spain, it feels quite up market, so much so that it feels like we are in France! The New York Times has listed Burgos as the best city in Spain.
The elevation of the city is over 2,800 feet giving it a different climate to other parts of Spain, with hot days and cooler nights, apparently the winter can be very cold here. It's a very green city, there are three square miles of parks and one tree for every three inhabitants.
The surrounding wheat plains can be seen from the highest point of the city. Wheat is one of the major industries here.
Is a World Heritage listed cathedral, described as one of Spain's glittering jewels. It's also the burial place of El Cid, the 11th century soldier, who was portrayed by Charlton Heston in the 1961 movie.
During the building of the cathedral land was excavated which gave a drop of eight metres from the street above. So as to access the cathedral from the upper street a very impressive staircase was built.
There are Michelin starred restaurants which can be expensive, but there are also Michelin rated venues. These can all be found on the Michelin App which we have used lots.
In Burgos we discovered another of the Michelin rated tapas bars, here the display of food is amazing and a tapa costs less than €2 each.
Sunday in the park
We walked over to a monastery 3KM outside of town. On the way we stumbled on a restaurant, La Fragua, in a park. We decided that it would make a great lunch stop on the way back, which it did.
As we dined we looked around and noticed how the tables in the garden, the bar area and the restaurant were full of families and groups of all ages. In Spain coming together to eat and drink is such a large part of the social culture. It's really quite beautiful to experience it and to be part of it.
As well as fields of wheat and sunflowers, there are also some very cute villages surrounding Burgos. Covarrubias is one of them, it has some very unusual, almost Tudor styled, houses that look like they could fall down at any time.
Being inland means that the food style in and around Burgos is quite different to other parts of Spain. There is more of a reliance on meat with sausages, black puddings (morcilla) and other meats making up part of the diet. A speciality in the area is wood fired roast lamb, which we tried as part of a €12 menu del dia, it was blooming delicious, and this place was another Michelin recommendation! When we went into the restaurant to make a booking, the host wrote in the book "dos Ingles".
Word of the week
We visited a monastery in the village of Santo Domingo de Silos. As we entered we noticed the sign, "silencio", with our acquired knowledge of the Spanish language we knew immediately what this meant.
Six times a day the monks chant vespers in the church, we went along to listen to one of these sessions. These guys had a huge album in the UK in the 1990's with Gregorian chants. As we left a group of local housewives chatted, obviously their knowledge of the Spanish language is not as good as ours.
"Travel makes one modest, you see what a tiny place you occupy in the world" - Gustave Flaubert. We totally agree with this quote.
Then we visited the Burgos Museum of Human Evolution. In nearby Atspuerca bones and teeth were discovered that are believed to be the oldest known Europeans at 1.2 million years old!
Burgos is the most liveable city in Spain that we have visited, or as the Spanish would say "vivir en". It has great style and culture, some really good museums and sights and it's surrounded by beautiful countryside, all it needs is the beach and it would be perfect!
Next stop Rioja. Mamma Mia, her we go again!