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Monday, November 16, 2015

Eunate and Puente la Reina


 Leaving Pamplona, we walk through Cizur Menor and up over the Alto del Perdon, where hundreds of pilgrims like ourselves have taken the obligatory photograph of themselves alongside the wonderful wrought iron sculpture of medieval pilgrims, heads bent into the wind. 
Coming down the other side of the 790 m hill puts us in Uterga, where there is the smallest albergue I know of. One room houses one set of bunk beds where 2 or 3 pilgrims can have a quiet night with shower and toilet if you know where to find it.

From Uterga, a short 2.5 km detour will take you to Eunate.

If you choose to take the short side trip to Eunate in the fall, 
you will be rewarded by walking through fields of sunflowers 
for as far as the eye can see. 
It's a surreal feeling, 
like one is one the way to OZ to visit the Wizard!

It isn't OZ at the end of the yellow-bordered road, 
but it is something just as lovely.  
Soon, you come round a bend and find yourself in front of 
the beautiful Romanesque Church of Saint Mary of Eunate, 
a hermitage dedicated to the Virgin. 
I love this llinoleum block print by Melissa West

Joe is contemplating Eunate
 Since the late 19th century, there have been several theories 
about the original function and authorship of Eunate. 
Because of its octagonal shape, some theories stated 
that Eunate was a Templar church, 
related to other central plan churches the Holy Sepulchre of Torres del Río, 
and other undoubtedly Templar buildings 
like the Templar convent of Tomar, 
the Temple Church of London or the Holy Sepulchre of Pisa;
all of them inspired by the Church of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem. 

Holy Sepulchre of Torres del Río
Ceiling of the Church at Torres del Rio
 This alleged Templar origin 
and the aura of mystery that surrounds the church 
have contributed to esoteric interpretations. 

While the presence of Knights Templar 
in this zone of Navarre is not documented, 
the importance of another military order, 
the Order of Saint John of Jerusalem or Knights Hospitaller, 
that could have operated a hospital ('hostel') for pilgrims to Santiago,
is well known.

 Archaeological excavations have found many burials 
here as well as the typical St. James' shells.

Leaving Eunate, the road is flat and the walking is easy.
Soon we find ourselves in Puente la Reina.

Puente La Reina 
Puente la Reina means "bridge of the Queen." 
It is a town  located in the autonomous community of Navarra,
in northern Spain.
On a calm day the view can be stunning!

The pretty pedestrian bridge over the Rio Arga was built 
under the direction of a queen. 
However, which queen was responsible is a mystery.   
Doña Mayor, wife of King Sancho III was the queen who gave her name to the town 
and is thought by many to have built the six-arched bridge
for the use of pilgrims on their way to Santiago de Compostela.

This town was laid out with parallel streets perpendicular to the river in 1122.  
 It had French, Basque, Jewish, and Spanish districts, 
each ethnic group keeping to its own quarter.
In 1142, the town was given to the Knights Templar by King García Ramírez.
They kept it until their expulsion from Spain in the early 14th century.
 In the Middle Ages, Puente la Reina hosted many pilgrims. 
A Templar´s hospice, documented in 1146, sold bread and wine to pilgrims, 
but by law had to lodge them for free.   
They were entitled to one night´s lodging on their way to Santiago 
and two nights upon their return. 
I suppose “donativo” is pretty darned close to still being free, isn’t it?

In “The Pilgrimage Road to Santiago,” Linda Kay Davidson tells us
the universal experience of pilgrims hasn’t really changed 
since the Italian pilgrim Domenico Laffi made his pilgrimage in  the 17th century:

“We passed through a great forest, finally reaching Puente la Reina… After a short walk through the town… we looked for an inn to lodge. But we could find nothing… and there was nowhere for us. We looked for lodging in many places but in vain. But then God, who never abandons anyone, reminded us that at the entrance to the town, at the distance of no more than a gunshot, there was a little chapel in the middle of the open road. We decided to go there in order to sleep inside… The bed consisted of four heaps of vines spread on the ground and covered with a blanket. Thus we settled down as best we could.”

I know of several pilgrims who have slept in doorways, 
churches, and under bridges on their journey to Santiago.

In older times, pilgrims were protected by law, 
just as they are today.
Records from 1350 show a man was hung 
for stealing money, books and clothes from other pilgrims. 

One of the important churches in Puente la Reina is the Iglesia de Santiago. 
This church has a statue near the west door showing Santiago as a pilgrim.  
The Iglesia del Crucifero was built in the 12th century by the Knights Templar.  
 It later maintained a 15th century hospice. 
During the Carlist Wars, the church and monastery became a barracks,
and were also used as a prison and munitions arsenal. 

The original 12th century Romanesque church had a single nave.
A second Gothic nave was added in the 14th century. 
The church was originally named for the 12th century Romanesque seated Virgin
with the adult-child Christ on her lap. 
This statue was stolen years ago and though recovered, 
has been replaced by a replica which is inaccurate in some details. 

The interesting Y-shaped crucifix in the church
is said to have been a gift from a German pilgrim in the 14th century. 

This Y-shape is an ancient symbol, as is the cross itself.
It is frequently a representation of the division of the world into four elements or cardinal points, or alternately as the union of the concepts of 
divinity, the vertical line, 
and the world, the horizontal line. 

  As a crucifix, this Y-shaped cross is known by many other names 
such as the Ypsilon Cross, Y-Cross, Pall Cross, Furca (The Fork), Gabelkreuz (Fork Cross, Branch Cross), Schacherkreuz (Thief's Cross, Cross of Robbers).
The names Thief's Cross or Robber's Cross
comes from the belief that criminals in Roman Judea were crucified on a forked cross. However, there is little irrefutable evidence about the origins.

The Cross as a TAV has particular meanings.  
 Tav is said to have come from a mark perhaps indicating a signature. 
Its literal usage in the Torah denotes a wound. 

Tav is the last letter of the Hebrew word emet, which means truth. 
The midrash explains that emet is made up of the first, middle, and last letters 
of the Hebrew alphabet (Aleph, Mem, and Tav: אמת). 
Sheqer (falsehood), on the other hand, is made up of the 19th, 20th, and 21st 
(and penultimate) letters.
Thus, truth is all-encompassing, 
while falsehood is narrow and deceiving.

In Jewish mythology it was the word emet
that was carved into the head of the Golem which ultimately gave it life. 
But when the letter "aleph" was erased from the Golem's forehead, 
what was left was "met" — dead.
And so the Golem died.

A few hundred years before Christ, 
Pythagoras added the letter upsilon to the Greek alphabet, 
which is ‘Y '' in uppercase and 'u' in lowercase. 

Pythagoras viewed the 'Y' as a symbol of one's journey through life.  
 The vertical line represented your life's path. 
The point where the vertical line converges with the two diagonal lines 
represented the choice between the right branch, 
the difficult road following the goddess of Arête (Virtue) for a blessed life, 
or branch left on the easy path following the goddess Kakia (Vice) to a life of ruin.

This is related to ideas about the right hand being the good or "dexter" hand
and the left hand being the bad or "sinister" hand.

Look up the word sinister in the dictionary or 
go online and do a search on dexter vs. sinister
for some really great information.
Even Wikipedia has a very interesting article on left-handedness.

Matt. 7:13-14 tells us to "Enter through the narrow gate. 
For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, 
and many enter through it. 
But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, 
and only a few find it."

Is it simply a coincidence that the Roman font for the letter 'Y' 
has a broad left arm and a narrow right arm,
symbolizing the wide and narrow roads?

 I could go on forever about the symbolism of this cross,
because I'm really into such things.
But I know it can boring to some.
So I’ll let those interested persons do their own meditation on the symbol. 
I hope you will stop in and take a look at the "Y" Cross.
You don't see such a thing every day.

The bridge, with its 6 arches, is one of Europe’s most graceful Romanesque bridges.
Be sure to have your photo taken upon crossing! 

Ok.. that's it for today.
Buen Camino!

2012 - Spring
Group Trip and I'm sick  :(

Today we realized that the walking directions
for the Camino in the old Brierley guide
are different from the newer version.
Joe's old guide took him to the Municipal Albergue first
while the new guide drops you off the Camino
right at Albergue Jakue (pronounced hawk'-oo-ah).

I was sick today and could not walk.
Joe walked with the group.
I took a bus to Puente la Reina today from Pamplona. It left at 10 am and arrived at 10:30. The cost was under 3 euros.

I tried to get some rest and am not sure if I will walk tomorrow or take one more day off. The cold seems to be settling in my chest and besides feeling like crud, I really don't want to spread this around. So keeping to myself is my plan unless people really need me.

Joe walked to Eunate today.
He said the Albergue there was open
with 8 places and only 3 pilgrims were there.
It is donativo and they serve dinner and breakfast.
(Note in 2016: I believe this albergue has permanently closed)

Here are some of Joe's photos from today.

It's best not to use fountains when the streams are this muddy

Lounge at Hostal Jakue

The rain storm never did manifest, luckily. 
The road was muddy from last night's storm but easily passable.

The pilgrim rooms in Hostal Jakue are quite nice but you must reserve them early. They have two twin beds plus a pull-out couch, so three pilgrims can share a room.

I'm on my way to the kitchen now to make some hot potato soup given to me by April and Galia. 
They are taking good care of me!

Goodnight world.

2012 - Autumn

Our group left Pamplona in the dark 
and followed the Camino signs on the road.
I've walked this road so many times
it's second nature,
but I cautioned my group members
to keep their eyes on the ground
for the waymarks 
out of Pamplona.

Looking for a soft-hearted Pilgrim handout!
 The weather was hot and beautiful.
Up ahead we could see Alto del Perdon 
and the windmills on the hillside.

We passed ruins as we walked through the farmland.
This is ground where Charlemagne defeated a Muslim army in the 8th century. 
Looking back at other pilgrims and at Pamplona.

Memorial to a  fallen Pilgrim.
We are a couple of weeks too late to see the beautiful sunflowers. 
All that is left are brown crispy stalks.
But the figs are ripe! 
Today I passed a man picking figs. 
I asked if I could buy some. 
He said no, but I could take some. 
A man handed me a ripe fig. 
Then a woman handed me one. 
Then as I walked away, 
a little boy ran after me to give me another! 
Generosity is alive on the Camino!

What is left of the beautiful sunflower fields.

A pretty waymark.
We pass through the village of Zariquiegui
and past the Church of St. Andrew.
Now it is time to begin the hard climb up Alto del Perdon.

The trail winds up.

Looking back 

Almost to the top.
When we reach the top,
we are happy to see Father Jeffrey has made it! 

 Everyone, including me, must take the our photo in front
of the wrought iron sculpture
representing Pilgrims, their heads bent toward the wind.

We ran into several other people from our group
at the summit.
We visited,
had a snack and a drink of water,
then began the hot climb downhill
into Puente La Reina.

Piedras suertas.

Lunch is tuna and olives on bread.

I thought this tree was beautiful against the blue sky.

Our Lady watches over the Pilgrims as they pass.

 I washed my shoes in Wales and shrunk them. 
So I've had a few hot spots to deal with. 
I stopped in Uterga and soaked my foot 
in the familiar fountain there,
before doctoring two small blisters. 
The water was ice cold and felt like heaven!

Joe picked almonds all day today.

I believe this is Church of John the Baptist, but am not sure.
Whatever church it was, the light and shadow were lovely.

After a long, hot day of walking, 
we finally reached Albergue Jakue,
on the far side of Puente La Reina.

A few minutes later,
a weary Father Jeffrey 
showed up at the check in cabin.
Oh, what a relief!
Soon after, 
Eileen showed up!

And not long after,
in came Linda and Patti. 
We all applauded!

Soon after, Ekanah and Charmaine arrived! 

Albergue Jakue is a very nice place to stay.
They have both group and private accommodation.
They have a small kitchen where you can cook,
but most of our group bought tickets for the evening buffet.

Photo by Linda Hendricks
All the group had a good day of walking. 
They are feeling stronger and Camino-wiser each day!

2014 - Spring/Summer

The weather yesterday was perfect
and the walking to Puente la Reina was glorious!  
It began a bit drizzling but soon dried out.
 Big fluffy clouds and an occasional sunbreak 
made for some gorgeous photos too!

The river was brown and rushing fast. It must really have been raining hard in the mountains!
When the river water is this brown,
it's best not to drink from the fountains
until it clears up.

Paul waits for Chantal and Pat

The wildflowers...

Joe's Autumn Group

I just got word from Joe that the Anniewalkers group has safely arrived at Hostal Jakue in Puente la Reina and all is well.

 However, the internet is down, so for now, no photos or news. This is a common occurrence on the Camino - no wee-fee - so if you have a loved one walking, please do not panic if you don't hear from them for a day or two.

Once the internet is up, which could possibly not be until tomorrow afternoon, all will return to normal communication.

Tomorrow, the ladies and Joe head to one of my favorite albergues, La Casa de la Abuela, in Los Arcos. It will be a beautiful walk!

and later that day . . .

Joe just contacted me from Puente la Reina, 
and the internet is back up!

Here are photos of his lovely group of Peregrinas!  
If you click on the photos, they do get a bit larger.

In Plaza San Francisco, Pamplona, before the morning walk.

Up at the top of Alto del Perdon
Joe says:

It was very windy at Alto del Perdon but very nice after. 

We did not do Eunate. 
All of us were too tired after 8 hours walking. 

It took us an hour to get out of the last coffee shop in Pamplona - 
these Peregrinas like their coffee and pastries! 

 ::::Annie doesn't blame them!::::

We also stopped to buy some fruit

Good job Peregrinas!

Get a good night's rest - tomorrow will be easier.
Buen Camino!

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