Things to do in Burgos, Castilla y Leon

When I got word that I was moving to Burgos, Castilla y Leon I was so nervous. I have been obsessed with Spain for the past 14 years and I’ve seen just about every single travel video about almost every city here but for some reason I skipped over this one. When I first looked up Burgos online I saw the cathedral, those weird looking trees, and morcilla and thought “ohhhh no.” 

I had no idea what to expect coming to Burgos from spending a full month in the bustling city of Madrid but when I got here I was blown away. Burgos is surprisingly beautiful for being such an old city and the food is incredible. Now even though those are two major pluses the Madrileños that I told about my future move told me not so great news about Burgos. They said things like “Burgos es el mas frio en Espana” and “la gente alla son frias como el tiempo.” Basically to summarize people here are pretty closed and cold. They blame it on the weather but I call bs on that. I’m from Minnesota where temperatures drop so much lower than here and we are still “Minnesota nice” The citizens of B-town don’t know cold. They don’t know my pain….

With all that aside I just want to say that I do actually love this city so much. Like I said earlier it’s B-E-A-utiful, the food is incredible (2013 champs of the Gastronomic Capital of Spain), and it’s flooded (literally the river is flooded right now) with rich history. Let’s take a look at a few of the major things to do and see here in the capital of the province.

 1. Visit the Cathedral

This cathedral was built in the 13th century and took about 300 years to complete! It’s easily the city’s highlight attraction since it’s  UNESCO World Heritage Site and everyday dozens of tourists and locals alike are stopping by to snap a photo or  just to marvel at this amazing structure. According to my flatmate’s father, who has so much pride in his city he should be the mayor, Christopher Columbus walked through the gates in the back of the cathedral. Don’t quote me on that but he looked pretty serious. You can find the prices for admission here but it’s free from 4:30-6:30pm on Tuesdays. Fun fact: El Cid (the military leader who drove the moors out of the kingdom of Castille) is buried inside next to his wife.

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The food of Andalucía, Spain

“To know a country best you must dive deep into the flavors and colors of food” is a quote I heard once upon a time when I was younger and it’s stuck with me ever since. I truly believe that the greatest way to familiarize yourself with a new destination is to try the food. Learn the basics of where the flavors and techniques came from and open your mind (and taste buds) to try something new.

Food is VERY important here in Spain. It seems like the day is surrounded by your meals. Business meeting at 2? Forget about it, that’s lunch time. Happy hour with pinchos or tapas?….duh! Since it’s so important here they take care with their quality and preparation. Most food items are made in house and shortcuts in the kitchen are rare. I do understand that some things may already come prepared like bottled salsa brava or mayonnaise in some places or pre-purchased items that are just nuked in the microwave but for the most part things are done right here.

Recently I took a trip to Andalucía where good food and siesta are the most important. Quality seafood, insanely delicious cured meats, the best olive oil, and fresh produce are some of the things you’ll find in restaurants and markets there.

I’ll show you some of the things we ate while I was in this incredible gastronomic region.

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Under the maze of arcs in the Mezquita of Cordoba

All over Spain we are reminded about the legacy left over by the Moorish occupation with their stunning mosques and fortresses. Most of these buildings can be found in the southern region of Spain called Andalucia and they are incredibly preserved. Most of these structures you can still go inside and marvel at the distinct architecture created by them.

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In Cordoba you can admire the church turned mosque turned cathedral in the old part of town. It was built-in 784 and still in use today! It’s located near the Alcázar and right across the Guadalquivir River. It’s absolutely incredible on the outside and when you reach the courtyard inside you’ll feel like you’re in a paradise. There are orange trees everywhere and stone water channels circling around you. This mosque was regarded as the most important religious building in the “west” for the Islamic people of this time and Cordoba was the third most important city after Mecca and Baghdad.

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Entry inside the mosque is free from the hours of 8:30-9:30 am and they will kick you out if you stay longer than 9:30. Personally I don’t think you’ll need more than an hour unless you like to read every single plaque and relic that you find. The main reason I wanted to go inside was to see the arcs and the Mihrab.  You can do a guided tour for 37 euros a person if you want to go in-depth about the history about the building and you can pre-buy tickets on the website. Otherwise just the standard entry fee for adults from the hours of 10:00-18:00 is 9 euros. Youngsters aged 10-14 years old are 4 euros and kids under 10 get in free.

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5 Tips For You To Enjoy Hostel Life

Staying in hostels is pretty much inevitable when you travel abroad in Europe. They can be super hip and modern style hostels including fast Wifi, a kitchen, and clean bunks. Orrrr they can be a little on the sketchy side making you think you wish you had brought a tent. I believe that it’s all about your mindset. Whatever situation you end up in, I think as long as you enter it with an open mind and you are prepared, you will have a rad time in that new city you’re about to explore. So with that I’ve come up with a few tips to help you get prepared for your experience.

1. Read the reviews first

This one might be a no brainer but a lot of people I know skip over it. I trust the variety of opinions of my fellow world travelers and most of them tell it like it is. If I see a repeating problem from more than one traveler chances are that there is actually a problem. If it’s a big one liiike let’s say rude employees or dirty rooms chances are I won’t stay there and find a better option.

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2. Location, location, location

“Duh Lorial this is insanely obvious” but seriously. I understand that one of the main points for staying in a hostel is so that you don’t have to spend a lot of money on your room. But let’s say that you find a fricken sweet deal on a hostel and you’re only paying 10 euros a night but….it’s on the outskirts of town. Unless you have a car, or bike, or you like walking incredible distances to everything it’s going to suck. The whole point of travelling anyway is not so that you can hang out in the hostel. You’re supposed to go out and meet new people and explore that new place so being closer to the center or near all the action is where you should be.

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