We got to Burgos nice and early to pick up our accreditations – found the place without much problem, although at the end we had to ask in a photo shop where the office was.
We waited several minutes in the reception area before following a fellow down several long hallways to get to Teresa’s office. We gave her our names and she promptly brought us a large envelope containing our photo ID’s, stickers for the van, road books of the race but only one red ‘photographer bib’.
We did a bit of grocery shopping on the way back to the campervan, then went for drinks and dinner at the campground’s restaurant. I had some excellent seafood soup followed by meatballs with fries – it was supposed to be with rice but it was very tasty in any case.
On race day number one we headed into the city of Burgos nice and early to find a place to park to see the start, which is at the cathedral, as well as suss out where we want to be for the finish which is the castello on the hill right above the cathedral.
We thought we’d found an excellent place to park, then had a long conversation with one of the policeman there – even though we had an ‘official’ sticker and our badges he told us we couldn’t park where we wanted to. He directed us to a ‘campervan’ parking place a couple of miles away.
We drove to the parking area he’d directed us to and it was ok – right near the river and in shade for Mo. She wasn’t happy about being left behind, as expected, but we left her with water and under shade with a cool breeze.
Walking into the centre of the city only took about 15 minutes and we soon saw the cathedral. Burgos is one of the larger stopping points on the Camino so the scallop shells marking it are everywhere.
We got our bearings, had a nice cup of coffee, then got ready for the sign-in and start. Since I didn’t have a red bib one officious fellow wouldn’t allow me into the ‘inner area’ so I retreated a little bit back but still inside the barriers – the ‘guardia civil’ fellows didn’t mind at all.
After all had signed in they gathered at the start line inches from where I was. Several dignitaries lined up with a colourful ribbon and had a drawn-out ceremony of cutting the ribbon, then the race was on. Well – at this point it’s a ‘false start’ as they don’t really race until they’re out of the town, and they really bunched up as they went under the arch and across the bridge.
After the start was done we hustled back to the campervan to check on Mo – she was fine, but was really happy that we were back. We had a bite to eat, then headed up the hill to the finish at the castello. Since we had the ‘official sticker’ we simply followed the race route to the top, showed the race official and were told where we could park nearby.
It was perfect – a short climb up a small staircase and we were at the finish line. We walked around a bit, including down to the place where the podium presentations will be held. It’s a viewpoint looking out over the city, with the cathedral right below. The edge of the viewpoint is ringed by a stone wall topped with a beautiful series of cast-brass reliefs of all of the main/important sites and buildings in the city below – it’s really quite extraordinary and very interesting.
We then went to check out the castello. No luck – unfortunately they don’t allow dogs in – the lady was very sorry as she thought Mo was adorable, but no go.
Right at the entrance were two police, a man and a woman, each with a dog. We had a little chat with them and asked if they were sniffer dogs or attack dogs and they were sniffers – not for drugs, but for explosives.
We had a little sit-down at the cafe that was right at the top next to the finish line, then took Mo back to the campervan, which was once again parked nicely in the shade for her.
We both ended up sitting on the road just inside the barricades a few feet past the finish line. The racers came around a corner just below us and up the final bit of the climb – it was great. There were two just in front of the rest and it came down to a few inches for the winner.
Down at the podium ceremonies we once again got special positions because of our badges – we were right in front as all of the presentations were made and I got some really great shots.
As the winner of the first stage the same fellow from Dimension Data got several presentations of different jerseys and different coloured flowers.
Afterwards we had no trouble getting out of the site and back to the campground near Cavia. Back at the restaurant for dinner again we were told they were out of the excellent soup I’d had yesterday, but the smoked salmon and poached egg salad was a great alternative. A main course of teriyaki salmon steak was also very good.