Nearby, I took shelter inside a café, which sat in a wooded area beside the reservoir. I chose a table away from the smokers at the bar and ordered a Coke Light and an ice cream. The students who had passed me earlier entered and the café became loud and lively. On the television, the evening news showed the weather in Spain was about 10°C cooler than normal for this time in May. They showed a clip of snow on the mountains and then something I didn’t want to see – a forecast of more rain and cold for at least a week. Not good news for this fair-weather pilgrim… From Page 70, Camino de Santiago In 20 Days.
On my last post, On The Camino de Santiago in Spain, Viana To Logroño, despite the inclement weather, I enjoyed my short stay in Logroño. Visiting the Iglesia de Santa María la Redonda was very special. I recommend spending some time in the smaller chapel in the back, a peaceful place, especially when less tourists are around. Now, I’ll continue with my journey on the Camino de Santiago. Even if you don’t have my book, you can still enjoy this post, and learn more about walking the French Way or Camino Francés (map from Wikipedia Commons).
Fisherman at the reservoir, Pantano de la Grajera, which was created in 1883.
Near the cafeteria, was one of the few public washrooms along the Camino. Make sure you use the facilities before resuming. There won’t be another like it for a long time. This park next to the reservoir was deserted in the inclement weather.
The path had been paved all the way from Logroño and the walking was easy. A gravel path now led through the peaceful park.
Back along farmland and vineyards with rich soil.
There is a short climb to the Alto de la Grajera with Logroño in the distance. This was probably the largest field of mustard I had seen so far along the Camino. In many areas of the world, mustard is considered a weed. The Government of Ontario, Canada has a webpage where it discusses mustard as a problem species. However, I thought it was quite beautiful especially when it lined the path. This scene would have been nicer without the dark clouds.
Pilgrims attached crosses made of twigs and other pieces of wood to this chain-link fence along the freeway or autopista, N-120. For many kilometers in this area, the Camino follows either alongside the freeway or very close to it.
Even on such a dull day, the reddish-brown soil looked vibrant. The town of Navarrete is in the distance.
All that is left of the 12th century Hospital de San Juan de Acre. According to Gitlitz & Davidson in The Pilgrimage Road To Santiago, the hospital flourished until 1568 when it began its demise. In the background, is the Rioja Don Jacobo Crianza Winery.
The colourful sign for the Hotel Rey Sancho as I entered Navarrete. I never looked inside the hotel but if needed, it may be a good break from the pilgrim hostels or albergues.
The plaza in Navarrete was very quiet in the cold, damp evening. The central area of Navarrete has been designated a Cultural Property.
This metal statue was across from the church.
The Iglesia de la Asunción was the main feature in the central area of Navarrete. I was so lucky that the church was opened when I arrived. Similar to the Iglesia de Santa María in Los Arcos, the interior of the church was far more exquisite than I had expected in the small town. The Baroque retablo was amazing. My photo of the retablo wasn’t clear, but you can check this page from Vino Turismo Rioja for their photos of the church. If you have Gitlitz & Davidson’s book, The Pilgrimage Road To Santiago, they discuss the retablo in depth on page 132.
I can’t find any references to this scene in the interior of the church.
Two more photos taken from around the central area.
Just west of Navarrete was the cemetery. The portal that you see is actually from the front façade of the Hospital de San Juan de Acre, on the east side of Navarrete .
For the entire afternoon, there were mostly dark clouds and intermittent showers. However, during the brief moment the sun peeked through the clouds, it showcased the vibrant colors of the landscape, dominated by vineyards.
The scallop shell, the symbol of the Camino de Santiago, was even placed under some of the freeway overpasses.
More beautiful vineyards.
The hills and terraced grounds on the edge of Ventosa.
I hope you enjoyed this post. On my next post, On The Camino de Santiago in Spain, Ventosa To Nájera, I’ll wake up to the recorded sounds of monks chanting, experiment with a new piece of rain gear, emerge from the albergue into the rain and the cold, and then ditch my new piece of rain gear. In fact, the next chapter in my book is aptly named Frío, Frío (cold, cold). I’m shivering just thinking about it now. Please join me.
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