Group 1 — Brianna, Jessica, Monica and Trent
Another early day in Burgos began with a reminder that while we may be in Spain, we are still in school. Dr. Sheffler’s lecture and accompanying discussion was a welcome reminder of the theories behind the reasons for pilgrimage and how landscapes are shaped by people and institutions. It was interesting revisiting these ideas now that we have experienced portions of the Camino ourselves and the storied landscapes it traverses. While we were unable to view any of our own data, Dr. Baynard’s class time sparked a very interesting discussion on what makes a map and how one’s understanding of an area can change depending on the amount and type of data represented.
After classes we were let loose to explore the city until late afternoon. Despite initially trapping ourselves on the riverbank, we eventually made it to the city center where we browsed the different storefronts lining the streets. Our first stop was the appropriately named “El Peregrino.” The store was a nice place to find postcards and other Camino-related trinkets for friends and family back home, but it’s hard to ignore the commercialization of the Camino when browsing St. James snow globes. Another reminder of what Dr. Sheffler means by the “normative” factors of pilgrimage. We also stopped into a shop that reminded us of Forever 21 from back home. Of course, all the girls browsed around and tried on clothing they could at home. Jessica and Savannah ended up buying a couple items but wanted to keep it secret. They were a little upset that they gave into a commercial store instead of finding a hole-in-the-wall boutique but were still happy with their purchases.
Late afternoon everyone met back up to walk to the top of San Miguel hill where the remains of the Castle of Burgos stand. The prospect of touring a fortress that stood from the early years of the Reconquista to the Spanish campaigns of the Napoleonic Wars was interesting enough, but not one of us was ready for just how unique the castle truly was. To use Dr. Sheffler’s favorite word yet again, we soon learned the palimpsestic display present at the castle extended deep underground through a 12th century well 66 meters deep, winding 14th century siege tunnels, traps laid in the ensuing centuries, and the destruction wrought by the retreating armies of Napoleon. I’ve been told that one can find history in the weirdest of places, but I think we can all agree that this was certainly the strangest. That only made it all the more interesting.
We look forward to our final full day in Burgos tomorrow and of course our trip to the Cathedral.