Here I go...

Walking and Talking Across Spain

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Day 10 - Logroño

The walk to Logroño was short and easy.

We laughed at this "scarecrow!"

Inside of the little Church of the Virgen of the Cave

There we stayed in the Municipal Albergue.  
When we arrived, there was a line of backpacks of people waiting to get in.

My pack is about half way up the line.
The albergue was clean, but packed.
Each person gets a private locker in which to keep their belongings.
The beds are close, but there is some privacy.

It was very hot and the air conditioning was broken!

It was here, we met Edeltraut, a German woman who we would walk with for the next few days. She was delightful, always laughing!  She had walking sticks that she used to zoom through the fields. Many years later, we would cross paths with Edeltraut again on the Camino...

Day 8 and 9 to Los Arcos and Viana

Joe tries the wine fount at Irache
We decided to walk the alternative route though Luquin. It was a hot day and we didn't feel like climbing. The route was nice, but there was no place to stop for food or water. The local bar in Luquín was closed. I've since walked this route two more times and like both this and the main route. This one has fewer pilgrims if you're looking for time alone, though it has more flies!

The view of Villamayor de Monjardín from Luquín

We spent the night in Los Arcos, staying in the Municipal Albergue, which was quite nice and well run.

Next morning, we continued on for a short day to Viana.
In Torres del Rio, we paid €1 to see the inside of the octogonal Iglesia de Santo Sepulcro, linked with the Knights Templar.  The interior was simple but pretty. The 13th century crucifix and ceiling were the highlights for me.

It was very hot walking, and I was happy to lay down in the dirt and rest. I am wearing the pajama top I nabbed at the last albergue from the free box. I slit the underarms to get air. The top protected me from the sun quite well!

Oh, it felt so good to lay down and put my feet up!
Pilgrims have made stone crosses along the Way.
We stopped for a well-deserved cervesa con limón!
 In Viana, we chose to stay at the parochial which is located in the church building. It was clean and friendly. We slept on 2 inch mats on the floor, but honestly, they were as comfortable as some of the saggy bunkbed mattresses we've had. The priest was young and very kind. We had a family-style dinner with him, and then he did a special Mass for us. Afterwards, he took us into the basement to show us the Church's treasures.

Father Cesár is sitting to the right of the guitarra.
The next morning at dawn, we were awakened by a beautiful choir singing outside our window. The song has since been taken down from the internet, but it was beautiful!  Here is the photo I took right after they woke me up:

The Auroras are a group of neighbors who come to sing at night through the streets of the city from 6:00 to 8:00 am in certain festivals of saints performing religious songs .

January 6: Aurora Reyes.
February 1: Aurora Foundation or San Felices.
March 19: Aurora San Jose.
Easter Monday: Dawn of the pilgrimage of the Virgen de Cuevas.
June: Corpus Christi Aurora.
August 15: Assumption Aurora or parish.
September 8: Dawn of the pilgrimage to the Virgen de Cuevas.
First Sunday in October: Aurora Virgen del Rosario.
November 22: Santa Cecilia Aurora.
December 3: Dawn of San Francisco Javier.
December 8: Immaculate Aurora.
December 24: Christmas Aurora.

I've written the words to the song here:
Viana and the Auroros

And you can see more photos of the Viana parochial here:
Viana Parochial

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Making Plans for the Camino?

Here is what you can expect!

Thanks Phillypilgrim for this most accurate chart of how most Camino plans result.

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Day 7 to Estella 2006

At the far end of Ciraqui
was a recently restored stretch of Roman Road,
which Joe examined closely.
though most of the Camino follows the Roman via Traiana,
these are some of the most spectacular remains.

According to Gitlitz, Roman roads were built pretty much the same as roads are built today. Surveyors decided on the best routes. Shallow trenches were scooped out, then filled with gravel, tamped down, then filled with sand.  The borders were marked with large rocks and the roadbed laid with closely fitted stones. Wedge-shaped stones were driven in to clamp the larger stones together. The roads were slightly higher in the center to facilitate drainage. Sometimes larger roads near cities were paved with different colored stones signifying the lanes of traffic.  And often, you can see a ridgeline between the two lanes, as in the example above.

A beautiful home

I was so grateful for this fountain!

We are now in Bruja country and little witches are to be seen everywhere.

Before Lorca, we passed over the brideg at the Río Saludo, where Melczer says:
"Beware from drinking its waters or from watering your horse in its stream, for this river is deadly. While we were proceeding towars Santiago, we found two Navarrese seated on its banks and sharpening their knives: they make a habit of skinning the mounts of the pilgrims that drink from that water and die. To our questions they answered with a lie saying that the water was indeed healthy and drinkable.  Accodringly, we watered our horses in the stream, and had no sooner done so, than two of them died: these the men skinned on the spot. [CC: BookV; trans. Melczer, 88-89]

Do you see the witch?
The walking is hot and dusty, but beautiful.

After Lorca, we passed through Villatuerta. Many hermits lived in these hills in the 10th and 11th century. Thre are some remains of their culture in the Museu de Navarra in Pamplona.

And finally, we reached Estella.

In the Middle Ages, Estella (also known as Lizarra) was the center of the royal court of Navarra and it was a major stopping point on the Camino Santiago de Compostela.

The most important monuments in Estella are on the edge of town. The Iglesia de San pedro de la Rúa is built on the top of a cliff and features a Mudéjar-influenced, sculpted doorway.  There is also the Palacio de los Reyes de Navarra on the other side of the Plaza de San Martin, the Iglesia de San Juan Bautista, and the Iglesia de San Miguel.

The name Lizarra means Old Church and Ezizrra means Old Town, and the city is known by all three names, depending on who is speaking. It began in 1090 when King Sancho Ramírez decided to build a commercial center for foreign merchants here and to encourage the settlement of Francos, who flocked from French Auvergne and limousin.

Medieval Estella had castles on each of her 4 hills.

Similar to Pamplona, within a hundred years of its founding, estella developed into 3 distince, separately walled, and often warring neighborhoods: San Pedro, San Juan, and San Miguel. Navarros, Francos, and Jews lived separately.

Wars with Castilla and squabbles between local clans took their toll on Estella during the 14th and 15th centuries. The black plague struck in 1348, 1362, 1380, 1400, and 1420, and recuded the city from 829 hearths in 1366 to 431 in 1427.

Estella had numerous hospices for pilgrims. IN each of the major parishes a brotherhood (cofradía) maintained a hospice, providing beds and rudimentary meals.  With the 16th century decline of the pilgrimage, the hospices fell on hard times and eventually were combined into one.

There was a charter in Estella in 1164 prohibiting abuses of pilgrims.

The albergue

Enjoying a salt and vinegar foot bath after a long hot day of walking.

A Little About Cirauqui

Photo by Cachirri photography
The Basque for Cirauqui means "nest of vipers," 
and it's a toss-up whether the name refers to house serpents or bandits!

As you walk, pay attention to the many 16th to 19th century mansions with coasts of arms and other beautiful decorations over the doors. 

Photo by Madill

This pretty hilltop village is full of balconied houses on twisted alleys, 
and lots of steps to climb. 
There is at least one nice little tienda here, 
where you can get snacks and drinks.

According to Gitlitz, the village grew in three stages:  
in the 9th century around the church of San Román; 
in the 10th and 11th century on the hillsides south of the church on San Román; and in the 14th century around the churhc of Santa Catalina.  
You climb to the high churches through a Gothic arch in the old city wall. 

Both churches are worth visiting.
Sam Román Portal
Next to the San Román's portal is a Civil War monument 
sporting a list of Cirauqui's soldiers who fell 
"for God and for the Fatherland."

Day 6 to Eunate and Ciraqui 2006

On September 4, we walked to Eunate 
through gorgeous fields of sunflowers, asparagus, and grapes.

Eunate is a small octagonal church which is one of the most important Romanesque monuments in Navarra. 

The name is Basque and means 
"house of 100 doors."

The church is commonly associated with the Knights Templar,
mostly because of its octogonal shape. 
Graves with scallp shells, 
presumably from pilgrims,
have been found around the church.
There is some talk the church may have been built
as a burial chapel by a locally prominant family 
in the late 1500's.

It's definitely worth the detour
to see, if you have the stamina 
and desire.

At one point in the not too distant past, 
there was an albergue here,
but it has closed,
due to local politics, 
and nobody seems to know for sure
if it will reopen.

From Eunate, we walked on to Obanos, where we stopped for a coffee.
Obanos is at the junction of the 2 main routes to Santiago, and this town, in the Middle Ages, controlled several churches and hospices. Obanos is also famous for its mystery play dedicated to Saints Gullermo and Felicia, performed since 1965 on the Sunday following Corpus Cristi each year.

The church of San JuanBautista contains Guillermo's skull, encased in silver. When his tomb was opened, a Santiago medal was found among his bones. 

On the day we arrived, 
a young girl about 10 years old was giving out sellos.
We took a shady rest,
then continued on.

In Puente la Reina we used the Internet (locaturia) 
and stocked up on Compeed.

Then in the heat, we kept walking...

Iglesia del Crucifijo
 To learn more about Eunate and Puente la Reina, see my blog post here:

About 1 kilometer out of town, Joe realized he had left his glasses.
I stayed with the packs under a shaded overpass while he walked back to retrieve them.

From there, we continued on through vineyards and dusty road to Ciraqui 
where we stayed at Albergue Maralotx.

This was a very nice albergue where they served us
 the best dinner we'd had to date 
in the cool bodega-like cellar below the albergue.