Food poisoning is the pits, but having to sit the bench on the eating squad while you are in food-frenzied Spain is torture.
As consolation, on our way to the vibrant university city of Salamanca, I stumble upon convalescing, royalty-style at Landa Palace in Burgos, situated in north central Spain. This grand 37-room structure is marvelous in its own right, but with no nearby landmarks other than the freeway entrance and a petrol station, this restored castle built in the 1300s stands out like a sunny day after a long period of rain. With all of the tricked out modern necessities one could covet (heated floors, flat panel TVs, concierge service), this palace is the antithesis of sportin’ Medieval amenities.
Plus, knowing El Cid (one of Spain’s greatest rogue heroes) was born here in the 11th-century and his remains lie in the giant cathedral in Burgos, make this Gothic city seem even more regal.
With two restaurants, a bar, and a pool, there is really no reason to ever leave the premises.
In the summer, you can even dabble back and forth between the indoor pool and the connecting outdoor pool.
“Fight fire with fire,” I tell myself as we press on 150 miles to Salamanca. First stop: Valor, the famous churros and chocolate shop. Retaining the look of the 1950s, this old school joint is juxtaposed against hoards of university students taking a study break.
What to do in Burgos, aside from staying at a palace:
- Eat: My friend Jorge’s dad asserts Burgos is THE place for cordero asado (roast suckling lamb) and he is right. Also, try the morcilla (plump sausage filled with pig’s blood, rice, onions and spices) and you can never go wrong with cured meats.
- Walk: Take a stroll around the historic streets around the Plaza Mayor, the main square. Ceramics and woodcarvings are common products to purchase.
- Check out the Grand Cathedral: I generally have a short attention span when it comes to cathedrals, but this Unesco World Heritage site’s Gothic architecture and history are enough to win me over. Catedral de Santa Maria, started in the year 1221, took over 300 years to complete.