Here I go...

Join me on my new adventure - Van Living!

Monday, November 16, 2015

To Estella


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

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.  Accordingly, 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]

I was so grateful for this fountain at Lorca with its ice cold water!

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

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

Soaking our weary feet


The walk to Estella was beautiful this year, but long.
It warranted a foot soaking for me and other peregrinas. 
Walking here, we encountered a few sections
of old cobbled Roman Road.
The road is interesting, but tough on the tootsies!
On our way to Estella, we crossed the Medieval Bridge over the Rio Salado.

Ermita de San Miguel
Estella in the Distance
 In the hills are traces of various ermitas in this area.
The Ermita de San Miguel can be seen for many kilometers.
We stopped there for a break and ate almonds that had fallen from the trees.

Inside the Albergue at Estella - Photo by Kialoa3
 The albergue in Estella is very nice!
The hospitaleros were very friendly and helpful.

Spring Group

Today the walkers go to Estella.

Catherine and Mimi

This is made from old recycled car tires!

Taking a break!

Church of the Assumption in Villatuerta

Pilgrim Petitions on the Hermitage Altar
Our pilgrims seem to be settling in nicely.
 They each are walking at their own pace, some starting at dawn and others getting a later start. 
I have backed off and given them space and they are all walking their own Camino, 
which was the goal. 

Our baggage transfer company has been doing a nice job picking up and delivering our bags. 
The latest driver came early the last two days 
but I've been assured he will no longer come before 8 am. 

Last night we slept at Hostal Christina in Estella. 
It was a very nice place and the lady Christina was very concerned about my cold,
 asking I'd I needed medicine or hot milk.

This morning I'm still not feeling 100% human so I'm hoping to bus one more day.

Right now I'm having juice in this awesome pastry shop called Boutique Ega Pan. 
 They also have wi-fi for their customers and my-oh-my,
 their chocolate-filled pastries are to die for!!!

Ok. I'm off. 
Hopefully there will be a bus for me. 
The weather is holding and my group is doing great!
 I hope all is well back home.


 Autumn Group

Breakfast in Puente La Reina
was one of these lovely pastries!
Good thing I'm walking!

It was still dark as we passed through town.

Sunrise was striking!

The early morning coolness 
made for nice walking.

I'm in love with the doors I see in Spain!

Looks like the CIRCUS is in town!

Father Jeffrey and I share a love for cemeteries.

Phallic symbols?
 Soon, we could see Ciraqui
up on the hill ahead.
The name, "Ciraqui" means den of serpents.
The streets were full of drunk teens,
still partying after last night's festival.

These are VERY tall standing stones, taller than the houses.

Shields hanging from balconies in Ciraqui.

Streets of Ciraqui.

Some funny Peregrino graffiti.

Another fallen Pilgrim

This man is roasting red peppers.

Flat and dry

We meet Judive on the road, still with her new walking partner.

What ARE these berries?
 We pass the Ermita of San Miguel,
and then while taking the bridge over the Rio Ega,
we see this 3 legged horse!
I decide it's time to count my blessings!

Somebody must have loved this horse.  He got around fine!

Stencil on steel bridge.
We finally made it into Estella.
We stayed at Hostal Cristina, 
a lovely old pension ran by an elderly couple.
The place is filled with lovely antique furniture
and is very conveniently located.
I felt we were very lucky to get reservations there.

Joe and I went down to the square to eat
and while sitting people-watching,
we saw these bad little boys,
totally destroying a restaurant chair
just for fun.
The thing was,
nobody did a darned thing about it!
They just destroyed the property
and nobody seemed to care.
I pretended to call the police
and they ran away.
Little buggers... where were their parents?!

Bad boys! 
Joe and I found this 50's diner
and had a GREAT hamburger and fries for our dinner
for the grand price of 5 euros!

Where's Elvis?

2014 - Spring/Summer

Another beautiful day on the Camino.
 Lots of sunshine and great views!  
The hermitage St. Michael was sweet.
 There were many prayers on the altar. 

Barbara, Jack, and Chantal in front of a lovely Spanish home!
Chantal taking photos

The altar inside the little hermitage.

2015 - Joe's Autumn Group

Just got news from Estella.
Everybody is snug in their beds in their apartments there.
Wifi is up and Joe says:

We have Wi-Fi here, but have been busy today.

It was about 82 degrees but a good walking day. 

Everybody is having a good time.

These two photos are of our peregrinas leaving Ciraqui 
on the ancient Roman road.

Wow!  Look how GREEN it is!

The fountain at Convento Comendadoras Del Espiritu Santo 

just past Puente La Reina.
This is a good place to water up just before
the long steep climb to Maneru.

A dry fountain at Villatuerta
just in front of a candy store.

* * *

Some History of Estella

Estella is called Lizarra (Old Church) or Erizarra (Old Town) in the Basque language.  A part of Navarre, it is southwest of Pampona.  In medieval times, it was well defended, with castles on each of her 4 hills.   Unfortunately, Navarra's remaiing castles were destroyed in 1572 to concentrate the kingdom's defenses in Pamplona.

Similar to Pamplona, the town was divided into three sections where Navarros, Francos, and Jews lived separately.  Weekly markets were held on the left bank and an annual fair in the Fall drew traders and moneylenders, wholesalers, and artisans from all over Europe,  At one point, Estella rivaled Burgos as a commercial center.

 In 1090, the town was granted a charter by king Sancho Ramirez. It was then, it became a part of the Camino Santiago and enjoyed the commerce brought by the Camino.  The wealth resulted in a development of Romanesque architecture, well represented in the town by the Church of San Pedro de la Rúa, Palacio de los Reyes de Navarra, Church of San Miguel, and others.  As a major cetner for pilgrims, Estella had numerous hospices, each providing beds and rudimentary meals.

Donenico Laffi was a priest from Bologna, Italy
who made 3 pilgrimages to Santiago in the late 1600s.
He wrote:
"This is a beautiful town that lies on both sides of a great river. There are some fine large houses and monasteries, in particular the Monastery of the Redemption where they provide charity to all pilgrims, consisting of bread and wine. In the castello they give alms of money to those pilgrims who are going to St. James of Galicia."

Estella's 1164 charter forbade the abuse of pilgrims.

In the 1328 Navarra civil war, much of Estella's Jewish community was massacred. Five men found guilty of instigating riots had their hand cut off and were then publicly hanged. Attempts to rebuild the Jewish community were made, but it was largely destroyed again in the countrywide anti-Semitic riots of 1391. When Navarra finally expelled its Jews in 1498, most of Estella's Jews converted to Christianity rather than leave their homes.

The Palacio de los Reyes was originally located on the rock where the Church of San Pedro now sits. The original palace was demolished in 1572 by order of King Felipe II and in this demolition a portion of the cloister of Saint Peter de la Rua was lost.

The first known writing about this palace was during the reign of King Teobaldo II of Navarre.  In 1255, he received homage here and it was in this place that his heir, “Teobaldico,“ fell from the arms of its wet nurse and died. I wonder what happened to the nurse?

Although no known monarch ever lived here,
Elizabeth,daughter of Carlos III the Nobelman, was born here in the 15th century.

The original building was a single floor. One of the exquisite capitals portrays three mortal sins, another,
a scene from Song of Roland.
During the Carlist Wars,
the town was a major headquarters of the Carlist party.

  These Carlist Wars were civil wars in which contenders fought to establish their claim to a throne. Even today there is some passion about which line should rule. There were two major uprisings; 1833-1840, 1870-1876.

The building now serves as a tourist office and a museum,
housing the works of local painter Gustavo de Maeztu.

A parish church dedicated to San Miguel
is said to have existed here in 1145,
located on top of a rocky escarpment, "La Mota,"
and well endowed for defense of the borough.
However, the oldest preserved remains
show a building after this date,
probably between 1187 and 1196,
date of the invasion of Navarre by the Spaniards
during the reign of Sancho VII the strong.

The outside of the church has the appearance of a fortress.
Access to the interior is through two doors
on the sides of the Epistle and the Gospel.
The southern gateway is very simple,
with semicircular arches supported on capitals
decorated with stylized plants and some small heads.
Of greater interest is the northern doorway that shows
one of the best iconographies of late Spanish Romanesque style.

In this doorway is a wide portico of medieval origin
transformed in the baroque style in the year 1637.

A steep staircase will lead you
 to the main door of Estella's major church.
It is said to have existed since 1090,
although the church is not named in documents until 1174.
This church is worth a visit and the cloister is especially interesting,
with statuary that reminds one of the Asian and Celtic influence here.
Where did this statue originate?
 The inside of the church is very beautiful
and I never tire of visiting.
The altar is decorated with the All-Seeing Eye of God,
a motif familiar in Hermetic and Templar art.

I loved the Celtic Knot decoration on the bannisters.
The serpent has many meanings, depending on tradition.

These churches along the Camino
have more to see than I have room to write about
in this short blog.
For pages of specifics on architecture and art,
please see The Pilgrimage Road to Santiago
by David Gitlitz and Linda Kay Davidson.

 A note to pilgrims:
Please remember, when you're visiting churches in Spain 
that these are not public museums. 
These are places of worship where real live people come every day 
to worship and pray. 

Please do not carry on conversations in the churches. 
Even whispers can be disruptive.
Also, please dress respectfully. 
In Spain, that means no short-shorts, no bare feet, and no bare midriffs.
It is understood that you are pilgrims, but please be respectful pilgrims. 

No comments:

Post a Comment

All comments are moderated.