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.
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.
As I left the town: The typical lonely Camino in the afternoon, especially in the poor weather.
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.
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.
I would have loved to climb to the top of the 18th century Baroque tower. I was disappointed that the the cathedral was closed.
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.
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.
This recent cross, painted dark, looked ominous under dark skies.
The sign just before Grañón,
The village of Grañón. The tower of the Church of San Juan Bautista is in the centre.
The 14th-century Church of San Juan Bautista.
Back along farmland, headed toward more ominous skies.
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.
Approaching Redecilla del Camino.
The plaza was vacant in the cold evening.
Not only was the plaza vacant, so were the streets. In fact, I hadn’t seen another pilgrim walking for hours.
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.
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