On The Camino de Santiago in Spain, Nájera To Redecilla del Camino

February 10, 2012 — 4 Comments
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The heavy rain stopped and then continued as showers. As I walked, the number of vineyards decreased, and the landscape was dominated with fields of wheat or hay. Patches of mustard flowers often flanked the Camino and looked brilliant against the red soil and bright the greens of the fields. I slowly climbed to the alto near Cirueña and looked all around. The tops of the surrounding hills were covered with snow… From Page 79, Camino de Santiago In 20 Days.

On my last post, On The Camino de Santiago in Spain, Ventosa To Nájera, I left Nájera quite happy as I had a pleasant visit in the beautiful and peaceful Monasterio de Santa María la Real. Now, I’ll continue with my journey on the Camino de Santiago in Ventosa, La Rioja. 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). I’ll start off this post with a bit of a warning. Okay, maybe a warning is too strong — let’s call it an advisement. If you don’t like farmland and gray skies, you probably won’t enjoy this post at all. I can find beauty with the farmland west Nájera, but I must admit, while I was walking, it wasn’t very pleasant in the cold and rain.

 This is from the top of the small hill just west of Nájera. If it had been a nicer day I would have ventured toward the right and visited the ruins of the castle.

Photo of Gray skies, gravel path, scrubby hills, near Nájera, Spain

 

As I walked west from Nájera, the number of vineyards decreased and were smaller. Farmland went on for miles (or kilometers), and dark clouds were present all afternoon. Photo of Green farmland, vineyards, gravel path, gray skies west of Nájera, Spain

 

This aqueduct lined the path as I approached Azofra. I was fascinated by the irrigation system in Spain and will talk about it in future blog posts. Photo of Aqueduct, red soil, fields, gray sky, path, Azofra, Spain

 

A medieval, stone column marker, La Picota. As I wrote on page 78, “The gray and weathered marker had stood for centuries, while a new information sign in front had already fallen down.” Photo of Stone marker, Green field, gray sky, Azofra, Spain

 

Yes, the mud. Looking back, the red soil was brilliant even on this dull day. However, walking through the mud was not fun at all.

Photo of muddy path, red soil, green hills, farmland, west of Azofra, Spain

 

The nine kilometer stretch between Azofra and Cirueña was by far the worst I had seen for mud.Photo of Muddy path, red soil, yellow mustard, gray skies, near Azofra, Spain

 

Okay, I don’t mean to pick on any one town but I didn’t see much of interest in Cirueña. Instead of erecting a sign for the albergue, someone spray-painted at free will. Photo of Green sign, yellow letters, arrow, Albergue, Cirueña, Spain

 

  As I wrote on page 79, “The Camino was marked with more hand painted arrows than were necessary. One turn had five ugly arrows when one ugly arrow would have done just fine.”Photo of Gray skies, street, stop sign, yellow handpainted arrows, Cirueña, Spain

 

I didn’t see anything in Cirueña that looked old or remarkable. Photo of Gray skies, houses, field, Cirueña, Spain

 

As I left the town: The typical lonely Camino in the afternoon, especially in the poor weather.

Photo of Muddy red path, bright green fields, gray skies, west of Cirueña, Spain

 

Approaching Santo Domingo de la Calzada. The town was named for Santo Domingo de la Calzada or Dominic de la Calzada who lived a long life and died in 1109 at the age of 90. He was important to the area and was responsible for much of the infrastructure at the time. He built bridges, hospices, cleared many kilometers of paths, and helped rid the nearby forests of lurking bandits.

Photo of Gray skies, green farmland, gravel path, near Santo Domingo de la Calzada, Spain

 

The town of Santo Domingo de la Calzada was rich with historically important buildings. According to Gitlitz & Davidson on page 155 in The Pilgrimage Road To Santiago, the first church was established here in 1098, but much of the current building was from the 12th and 13th centuries. Santo Domingo de la Calzada is a co-cathedral, sharing a peripatetic bishop with the Iglesia de Santa María la Redonda in Logroño and the cathedral in Calahorra. The first photo is the south portal. Three saints are overhead, one being Santo Domingo de la Calzada himself.

Photo of Stone Cathedral, statutes, columns, Santo Domingo de la Calzada, Spain

 

I would have loved to climb to the top of the 18th century Baroque tower. I was disappointed that the the cathedral was closed.

Photo of Gray sky, stone bell tower, glass windows, clock, Santo Domingo de la Calzada, Spain

 

Photo of Stone Cathedral, gray skies, poster, Santo Domingo de la Calzada, Spain

 

This was the old pilgrims hospital, Antiguo Hospital de la Ruta Jacobea (The Old Hospital of the Jacobean Way). It was refurbished in 1965 by Parador Hotels.Photo of Old stone building, gray skies, balcony, flags, Parador, Santo Domingo de la Calzada, Spain

 

The Camino leaves Santo Domingo de la Calzada by crossing over Río Oja, on the Puente Santo Domingo y Ermita. One important note was that the town was one of the few places along the Camino that had English text on signs for the historic sites.

 

Back along the highway on a path known as a senda which would be a prominent feature in later days. If I remember correctly, this was also the first sign for the city of Burgos.

Photo of Gray skies, gravel path, green fields, tree, near Santo Domingo de la Calzada, Spain

 

This recent cross, painted dark, looked ominous under dark skies.

Photo of Dark gray skies, green fields, gravel path, black cross, near Santo Domingo de la Calzada, Spain

 

The sign just before Grañón,

Photo of Blue sign, descriptive, Camino de Santiago, Grañon, Spain

 

The village of Grañón. The tower of the Church of San Juan Bautista is in the centre.

Photo of Gray skies, Bell tower, green farmland, Grañón, Spain

 

Another of my favorite photos. Photo of Gray sky, green farmland, Bell tower rising, Grañon, Spain

 

The 14th-century Church of San Juan Bautista.

Photo of Bell tower, church, trees, gray sky, Grañon, Spain
 

Grañón was a true Camino town with one long main road that ran east-west. Photo of Cobbled streets, Homes, church, Grañon, Spain

 

Back along farmland, headed toward more ominous skies.

Photo of Gray skies, gravel path, green fields and farmland, near Grañon, Spain

 

On the hill between Grañón and Redecilla del Camino was this sign showing the border between La Rioja and the autonomous community of Castilla y León. I hoped this meant for a better signed and maintained Camino. Castilla y León is the largest region that the Camino travels through. It would take me over a week to get to Galicia on the west side.

Photo of Gray sky, fields, sign entering Castilla y León, Spain

 

Approaching Redecilla del Camino.

Photo of Gray skies, fields, gravel path, green hills, near Redecilla del Camino, Spain

 

  The plaza was vacant in the cold evening.

Photo of Cross, monument, Plaza, stone homes,Redecilla del Camino, Spain

 

Not only was the plaza vacant, so were the streets. In fact, I hadn’t seen another pilgrim walking for hours.

Photo of narrow street, vacant, stone homes, Redecilla del Camino, Spain

I hope you enjoyed this post as I concluded my day in Redecilla del Camino. On my next post, ON THE CAMINO DE SANTIAGO: REDECILLA DEL CAMINO TO BELORADO, SPAIN, I’ll leave Redecilla del Camino in awful weather and walk through more farmland and villages toward a town with Roman origins. Please join me.

If you have my book, Camino de Santiago In 20 Days, or have ordered it, I really appreciate your support. It’s also out on Kindle. My Goodreads page has reviews and more information. Please share this post, and thanks for your time.



About Randall St. Germain

Randall St. Germain, author of Camino de Santiago In 20 Days, is a middle-aged Canadian Boy who is passionate about nature, photography, hiking, music, and self-improvement. After the death of his mother, he chose to walk the famous pilgrimage, the Camino de Santiago, across the north of Spain, despite knowing little about it. He certainly didn’t plan to write a book until the latter days of his Camino. Similar to walking the Camino, writing and publishing a book was a learning experience. It was also very rewarding, and part of his ongoing journey. Please join him as he takes you along on his journey in Camino de Santiago In 20 Days, and on his blog Camino My Way.

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4 responses to On The Camino de Santiago in Spain, Nájera To Redecilla del Camino

  1. You are only fuelling my desire to walk the Camino!!! So much to do….so little time!!! On my bucketlist of places to go!!! Can’t wait!

    • Yes, that’s how I feel. So little time! However, I hope you and everyone can walk all or part of the Camino de Santiago one day. Thanks for your comment.

  2. Yo lamento que el tiempo lluvioso no te dejera disfrutar de Redecilla del Camino… Somos un pueblo que nacio por y para El Camino… Buen Camino, y gracias por elegir Redecilla del Camino para descansar de tu Camino…

    • Despite the weather, I enjoyed my walk into your town. It was a long day, though, and I wished I could have seen it better. I remember walking through the streets, without a soul around. The weather is part of the journey, and it made the best out of it, although I did complain a little sometimes 🙂

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