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PILGRIMAGE TO SANTIAGO

2. NAVARRE AND LA RIOJA

[Camino] [Journey] [Pyranees] [La Rioja] [Meseta] [Mountains of Leon] [Galicia & Santiago]
 
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Soon after Pamplona, a high ridge is crossed, giving the pilgrims their fist view of a different landscape, the gentle hills and fertile lands of Western Navarre and La Rioja. This area includes the important pilgrimage towns of Puenta la Repna, Estella and San Domingo de la Caleza as well as the regional capital, Legrono. This region concludes with the majestic city of Burgos.

 

Pilgrim Gate, Pamplona. *

Pamplona is the capital of Navarre, famous for bull-running during the festival of St Firmin. Particularily to be seen are a Gothic cathedral and the fortifications. The Camino leaves the city via a park - I missed a way marker in the park, but within 50 metres a friendly local asked if I was going to Santiago, in which case I was on the wrong road - and it was still 700km away!

Pilgrim sculptures at the Alto de Pedron, sited on a high ridge past Pamplona. *

Entrance gate, Obanos.

The beautiful stone bridge over the River Agra at Puente la Reina.

ust outside this small town a point is reached when the Spanish Aragones route (originating in France at Arles) joins the Navarres route, so all of the East to West Caminos become one.

Medieval bridge over the River Salado before Lorca.

Estella: Convent of Santo Domingo, now converted into an old people's home. At its feet lies the Church of Santo Sepulcro. *

Estella, 'La Bella'. A town which developed to serve pilgrims, it includes an astonishing array of outstanding Romanesque architecture, including the churches of San Pedro, San Miguel, San Jan Baptista, Santa Mari Jesus de Castillo and San Sepulcro as well as the palacio de los Reyos de Navarre.

Estella: cloisters of St Pedro de la Rue.

Irache: wine and water fountain - free to pilgrims!

Octagonal church of Santo Sepulcro, Torres de Rio. Built in the twelth Century a major example of the Navarese Romanesque, with Arabic influence.

Legrono: St James in this alter ego as Matamoros, 'slayer of Moors'.

Legrono is the second major city on the Camino, capital of La Rioja and sited on the river Ebro. The Camino goes through the old town, passing the church of Santiago .

The grave of Cesare Borgia, Navarrete. Buried in disgrace on the pavement outside the church.

The hen house, cathedral of Santo Domingo de la Calzada.

A town famous for its Cathedral where Santo Domingo is buried. The cathedral is home to a cock and hen, commemorating what is my personal favourite miracle of the Camino. Briefly the story is that a man is hanged for a crime he did not commit. By virtue of saintly intercession, he returns to life on the scaffold; when informed of this development, the local justice was dining and said 'if this be true then let the chickens on my plate return to life' - and they did, giving the town its legend as the place the cock crows after being roasted. In one particularly rich version of the legend, the cocks in the Cathedral are decendants of the original ones in the story.

The understudies to the cathedral cocks and hens are kept at the hostel, waiting their turn to appear on the big stage...

Santo Domingo was a famous bridge builder, this being his most famous creation. The river it crosses is today little more than a stream.

On the road with fellow pilgrim Narciso, who walked the Camino with his two donkeys and a dog. He has previously journeyed to Rome.

The Cathedral of Borgos, a magnificent stately structure.

City of Rodrigo Díaz, El Cid, who is buried in the Famous Gothic Cathedral. Rodrige was an eleventh century war-lord, who mostly earned his fame from the song ”Cantar de mio Cid”, which was written some point during the 12th century. The Cathedral is a World Heritage Site.