Travel 2013. Day 14 Segovia El Burgo de Osma.
See Travel Itinerary for a rationale of this trip, a who's who of those travelling, and our itinerary.
After an excellent buffet breakfast in a room where one wall was completely taken up by a terrific photo of Segovia silhouetted against the sky, we started on our way to El Burgo de Osma, about 144 kilometres north east.
We arrived in El Burgo de Osma in the early afternoon, and quickly settled in to our hotel, II Virrey Palafox, conveniently located in the old town, to one corner of the Plaza Mayor (Main Square).
The hotel has lots of old world Spanish charm. The foyer has dark polished woodwork, coffered ceiling, some kitschy cherubs, chandeliers, large leather seats, low marble tables and a sweeping staircase.
The rooms are modern and pleasant, and we were delighted that ours overlooked the Plaza Mayor. Outdoor parking is available.
El Burgo de Osma (burgo is a cognate of the English “burgh” as in “Edinburgh” or “borough”) is not on the usual travel route, but is both an interesting town in itself and an excellent centre for day trips. Once straddling the buffer zone between Christian and Moorish lands, the land around El Burgo de O is full of medieval castles and villages. Cid, Castile’s most famous hero; it also witnessed the death of one of al-Andalus’s (Moorish Spain) most famous leaders, al-Mansur. Al-Mansur, the 10th-century scourge of the Christian north, seized El Burgo de O in 989. He is said to have been wounded in battle at nearby Calatañazor in 1002, and died from his wounds shortly after in Medinaceli en route to Córdoba. His defeat and death precipitated the collapse of the once-mighty Umayyad caliphate of Córdoba.
Located on the Ucero River, El Burgo de O has a population of just over 5,000. The town boasts one of the oldest bishoprics in Spain, dating back to the late 6th century, and was once important enough to have its own university (Santa Catalina, 1555).
It was late-afternoon when we wandered down the Calle Mayor towards the cathedral. The weather was pleasantly warm with a few light clouds crossing the sky. At this hour the street was empty, shops closed and restaurants shut. In one restaurant about to close, we grabbed a hasty lunch under the impatient eye of the waitress who was clearly eager to shut shop.
After spending some time admiring the old walls and the lofty 72 m/235 ft, 18th-century cathedral tower that dominates the town, we retraced our steps along the Calle Mayor. It was early evening by now, and some shops were open. We stopped at a pastry shop just opposite the entrance of our hotel to the Calle Mayor, and bought a wide selection of goodies. We had decided to eat in our rooms that evening because we wanted to watch an important soccer match that all Spaniards would be glued to: the second leg of the semi-finals of the European Champions League between Real Madrid (RM) and the German team, Borussia Dortmund (BD). We had missed the first leg on April 24th, when Real Madrid was soundly beaten 4-1 in Germany. With home advantage (and an away goal, which counts for two in an aggregate tie), there were high hopes that RM could overcome the deficit.
John, Leslie, Andrew and Alex squeezed onto one bed; I took a chair alongside them (Margaret stayed in our room reading). It was an exciting game punctured by shouts of encouragement from us (in between munching our pastries) but, despite our vocal support, RM fell just short, winning 2-0. If they had won 3-o, their away goal would have been the tie breaker, and they would have gone on to the final.
Exhausted after a busy day and a cliff-hanger soccer game, we were all ready for bed. A last look out on to the Plaza Mayor where restaurants/bars were still busy, and it was time to draw the curtains.