Day 10 – A Special Mass Off The Camino

Santo Domingo de Silos

Today was a special day thanks to the people at Hotel San Anton Abad of Villafranca-Montes de Oca.

We were off the Camino and in a taxi by 7:30 am today on our way 110 kilometers (70 miles) away, south of Burgos to celebrate Mass at Santo Domingo de Silos with the Benedictine monks of Monasterio de Santo Domingo de Silos.

Cathedral at Silos

Cathedral at Silos

It was beyond cool–a tearful goosebumps-on-your-arms Mass. One we will remember forever.

We had considered the idea before beginning the Camino, but decided to wait and see how things went during our early Camino days. As we were finishing yesterday’s walk we agreed that this offered us a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that we just couldn’t miss.

The Santo Domingo de Silos monks are the order that created and released an album in 1994 that eventually hit Number 3 on the Billboard list of albums–the only Gregorian chant album to ever hit the list.

Monasterio de Santo Domingo de Silos album

Monasterio de Santo Domingo de Silos album

The wonderful people at the hotel helped arrange the cab and we were picked up right on time–in a Peugot no less–and off we went.

The drive was a long one, with the last twenty minutes through a very mountainous canyon with dramatic drops from the winding road.

Our driver Serge, who spoke nearly no English, communicated that he had never been to Silos, and when we arrived in the town, we found that we had seven minutes to spare before the 9 am Mass.

We were among only nine people in the church other than the 30-some monks. It was like going to a private Mass with some all-star monks–haha. It was super cool.

No cameras or sound recording equpment allowed.


Most of the monks, about half in long off-white colored robes with drab green trim, and others in dark brown robes, paraded from the rear of the cathedral to the front, where they took their seats, along with other monks, who were physically limited, and had entered from the church front.

They celebrated the Mass in Spanish and Latin.

There were readings by monks, some of whom were obviously physically challenged.

The resulting chanting and group involvement was amazing.

Monk after Mass. On his way to the museum

Monk after Mass. On his way to the museum

The church was very plain, compared to the many others we’ve seen. Obviously, the acoustics mattered for the sounds that these guys performed.

Jim is a softy and was teary eyed through a lot of it. We both loved it.

In the end–We aren’t sure it was a part of the Camino, but it was certainly a spiritual blessing that we could not have gotten without being on the Camino. We found it at least as uplifting and life lifting as slogging along 20 or 25 kilometers, as we had the day before.

Jackie and Santiago in Burgos

Jackie and Santiago in Burgos


We were out of Santo Domingo de Silos by 10:15 am and on our way for the hour ride to Burgos, where we are staying two nights.

Burgos Cathedral

Burgos Cathedral

Burgos is beautiful.



We were fortunate to secure lodging at Hotel Meson Del Cid, with a view, 100 feet away, of the amazing Burgos Cathedral.

Burgos Cathedral from our balcony

Burgos Cathedral from our balcony

This isn’t a small time church.

This is Big Time Catholic stuff.

The church is massive, and old city Burgos is built around it.

Carving jamon--Burgos

Carving jamon–Burgos

We did some exploring today and tonight in the old city, and plan to do much more tomorrow, before getting back on the road.




Categories: Uncategorized


  1. I got chills just reading about mass with the monks. What an amazing experience. Love all your details and photos.

  2. My friend went by bus to visit the monks 10 yrs ago and I hope to do the same in Oct.
    I wonder if Mass is every day or just Sundays.
    Thanks for posting this.

  3. Strangely, the local paper here today had an article about the Camino. It was such a coincidence; normally, I would not even have noticed the article or had any idea what the Camino was. Even stranger was that it did not mention that my brother is doing the walk….

  4. Great stories….keep them coming….thank you! Valcarcel, Miami.

  5. once again, and i cannot stress this enough, you both are so lucky to being a part of cultures that i have always wanted to learn about!!! the photos that you take jim, should be in National Geographic!! I’m happy to hear that everything is going well, and that you both are still very happy and healthy, being so far away from you guys is a little tough, but i know that you are in good hands. I’m proud to hear that you travel so much area in one day, everyday. keep up the dedication and blog posts!! you both are truly inspirational to me. i love you both and wish you *safe travels* -T

  6. This is wonderful Jim and Jackie. Big time Catholic huh? Love the blog, happy to know you can cab it once in a while.

  7. I have listened to that CD many times. What an incredible opportunity!

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