Finally there

Well we had no difficulty walking through Bilbao new town to find the bus station this morning. We were intrigued by the ‘International Mayor’s forum’ starting there today but there was no sign of Boris, despite the press cameras! Slow business getting tickets at the bus station but everyone was very helpful and I bought an excellent tortilla bocadillo for a late breakfast before boarding. Three hours on a comfortable coach with reserved seats to Burgos.

First impressions of northern Spain are how green it is! Bit misty today in Bilbao but good views of spectacular limestone mountains around Ameyugo as we headed south. I tried to get my bag off the bus at Burgos, where I thought we had to change, only to be roundly told off and hustled back onto the bus. No grabbing a snack on the move here – we stop for a proper, civilised lunch break at 2 pm! Sun started to come out soon after we left Burgos and temperature quickly climbed into the mid twenties :-). Actually the lunch break turned out to be at a Spanish motorway service station en route to Palencia, sharing many features with its UK equivalents, so not that exciting after all :-(. Scenery here was flatter and drier, but lovely wildflowers including abundant poppies and something purple I can’t identify out the bus window. We were both glad not to be walking here – it would soon get monotonous

Eventually the road turns north towards Astorga and the mountains we will cross in the next few days appear to the west. Some debate about whether the white stuff on the tops is snow or just exposed limestone. Hoping for the latter, but the highest mountains here are 1500 m and, if they’ve had a spring like ours… The bus dropped us close to Plaza Caterdal and, once we worked out which end of town we were in, getting our pilgrim passports at the cathedral and finding our first Albergue was straightforward.

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