From the evocative city cathedral to the prestigious Human Evolution museum. Going through art, design, traditional sausages and starred restaurants
It almost always happens this way: when we leave for the Spain you tend to pack a sweater or sweatshirt in less than you should. It will be because just imagining the yellow and red flag the mind flies unchecked to the Andalusian summers, seasoned with toast made from sangria, on the beach, at all hours. The disconnect between reality and meteorological expectation, however, becomes evident – and a little penalizing – when a detour is organized in that Burgos, principal city of the autonomous community of Castile and León, in the north of the country, counted among the principal ones gastronomic capitals of the Iberian Peninsula. Here the altitude, to be clear, is 856 meters above sea level and winter temperatures can even drop to minus 10.
Moral: not being caught off guard by some insidious breeze cooler than expected can help you enjoy Burgos in all its charm, made of impressive medieval buildings, of interesting museums dedicated to the most disparate subjects and, yes, also of a gastronomic offer really not bad. So we try to find accommodation close to the city center, to be able to fully immerse ourselves in the local atmosphere and reach all the main points of interest in a few minutes on foot:AC Hotel by Marriott Burgos, an elegant structure with a high rate of design and art, can do for us.
Exploring the medieval city
After a hearty breakfast buffet, and after some inevitable ritual photos of the fascinating interior architecture of the hotel (see is believing), we set off towards theArch of Santa María, evocative Renaissance-style door with the appearance of a small castle, adorned with representations of Count Diego Rodríguez Porcelos, Emperor Charles I and the national hero of the Spanish Middle Ages, El Cid: crossing it we will start towards the main historical attraction of the city, the cathedral of Burgos, an imposing building in Gothic style inserted in 1984 among the UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
Resisting the temptation of a souvenir selfie could be difficult. And then let us take it peacefully, before letting ourselves be amazed by the heights, the precious works of art and the rich baggage of stories and legends which is kept inside the cathedral. Choosing a guided tour, even in Italian, can really help you understand the complexity and charm of this sacred building, which for beauty and elegance almost seems to wink at the most famous churches in and around Paris.
Discovering typical cuisine
We count on an abundant hour to visit everything properly, and then let's take a little break in the green city of Paseo del Espolón, charming tree-lined avenue set between the bridges of San Pablo and Santa María, on the banks of the river Arlanzón. After a moment of relaxation, it's time to fully dive into the local gastronomic wonders: we decide to do it at the restaurant tables Casa Ojeda, a real authority in local cuisine.
Let's browse the menu and focus on the great traditional dishes. Starting from Morcilla de Burgos, the typical sausage of the city, prepared with rice and pork blood: a piquant specialty, served for the occasion with a side of baked peppers. We then continue with the main course, the icon of the restaurant, the Cordero Lechal, a tasty roast lamb prepared directly in a wood-fired oven. And we conclude everything with the sweet of the house, the Tarta de Hojaldre, aka a pastry filled with abundant cream.
Between history, science and archeology
After a well-deserved coffee we return to the street, cross the Arlanzón river and head towards the Museum of Human Evolution, absolutely among the most important and internationally recognized museums of the entire autonomous community of Castile and León. Here we can leave for an itinerary to discover the famous ones archaeological finds of the surrounding area, the Sierra de Atapuerca. Original fossils with an inestimable scientific value, such as the remains of Homo antecessor or the skull number 5, for friends more simply Miguelón, belonging to a specimen of Homo heidelbergensis.
Let's go back to the center of Burgos and head to Plaza Mayor. This pretty square with colorful buildings will surely require some souvenir photos and, who knows, maybe even a quick shopping session. But the hands run fast, and so – to break our afternoon sweetly – let's sit down by Juarreño, right on the edge of the square. In this pastry shop we will be able not only to sit and enjoy a good coffee, but also to find a really unique confection of sweets: these are the Bifaces de Altapuerca, a collection of chocolates filled with the characteristic shape of stone that recalls that of the sculpted tools used in the Paleolithic. The best way to gently end our afternoon immersion between history and science.
The time to go back to the hotel and get ready for the evening is almost here, but contemporary art lovers may want to give themselves a quick stop before Centro de Arte Caja de Burgos, museum inaugurated in 2003 that collects a collection of over 600 works by contemporary Spanish and international artists. One last pleasant stop to discover another side of the city's varied cultural offer.
A starry dinner
A shower – more or less – fast at our AC Hotel by Marriott Burgos, and then off to a tasteful evening. A reserved table in the restaurant awaits us Cobo Vintage, where it will be possible to live a very pleasant experience among Nordic style furnishings and small pampering for the palate. In the kitchen we find Miguel Cobo, that after having participated in the Bocuse D’Or 2013, and after arriving among the finalists of the first Spanish edition of the culinary talent show Top Chef, has earned its Michelin star with this sign with a modern, friendly and playful spirit.
So let us be won over by the paper proposals, and we opt for a tasting menu which tries to be as respectful as possible for our portfolio (with prices ranging from 55 to 70 euros, wines not included). Let's start with a typical ham croquette, and continue with a Ajo Blanco, a cold Andalusian soup with almonds and garlic, completed by the chef with a shrimp carpaccio and a fresh tomato tartare. And then we range from creamy rice with chicken de corral, a free-range poultry from the area, allo wagyu beef tail stew with bed serum and mashed sweet potatoes, to arrive at a voluptuous spoon dessert made with lemon cream and white chocolate mousse. A toast with the excellent red wines of Ribera del Duero, or alternatively with a good glass of Rioja, will allow us to conclude our 24 hours in Burgos to perfection. At the top the glasses, then, and cheers.