Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Camino Vasco - Day 5 - Vitoria-Gasteiz

After the climb through the St Adrian yesterday, today is a leisurely walk on the plains. Distance is a manageable 27 km.

Vitoria-Gasteiz, the second largest Basque city after Bilbao is the end point. The famous Santa Maria cathedral here is forever under renovation. The albergue is below on the street from the cathedral. It is more like a youth hostel with card keys, six to a room with own toilet, Wi-Fi (though the password is not working) and not just for pilgrims. Quite a number of people here but lucky only the two of us are in our room. The cathedral has a tour at 6:45 pm only in Spanish (English tomorrow but since we won't be here had to take the Spanish tour). We get a 2:50 pilgrim discount (5.50 instead of 8 euro).

The cold weather is good for cocoa with milk and goat cheese before the cathedral tour.

This cathedral is nothing much to see on the outside with all the scaffolding but beautiful inside. If you are a fan of Ken Follett then this is also your pilgrimage. This cathedral is the inspiration for his novel Pillars of the Earth, a must read novel. It appeals to all pilgrims even though the novel is not about pilgrimage. The tour bring us to the excavated site below the cathedral where it used to be a fort (the church came later). Then onto the cathedral and the narrow corridors above where the pilgrims used to be separated from the locals below during mass a long time ago (like the cathedral in Santiago). We even have to wear hardhats in the tour to engage some of the tight spaces.

Great tour. There is still much work to be done on the cathedral fixing the cracks here and there. This structure was almost derelict not too long ago and now is a showcase for restoration.

A supermarket run and a quick dinner then it is back to the albergue. The restaurants here don't open until at least 9 pm!!

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