Found the monastery in Najera, Monasterio Santa Maria de la Real, it was absolutely amazing, not only stunning but a good reflection of the historical importance of this area In mediaeval times.
Access is through the gateway there is a large staircase and a large painted dome.
The Knights Cloister is stunning with all the limestone lattice in the windows. The cloister was the social hub around which the bedrooms etc are arranged. During the war of independence in 1809 it was used as a barracks which caused considerable damage to parts. Bullet holes can be seen in the cloister walls, apparently target practice.
The chapel of dona Mencia Lopez de Haro houses the tomb in the centre.
The monastery chapel is just spectacular. Built in 1422 in late gothic style it includes:
The royal pantheon which has the tombs of the kings of the area.
The cave. The legend says that in 1044 the founder of the monastery was hunting and saw a partridge, he sent his falcon after it. The birds entered the cave and when he followed, deep inside he saw the image of the Virgin Mary with a bell on one side and on the other a lamp and in the centre a vase of lilies. Thus has been retained within the chapel.
The main altar is spectacular.
Even more spectacular are the choir stalls all in carved wood. The detailing is quite incredible, every carving is different and all the stall include a seat representing a different Saint.
It was an amazing hour spent this afternoon so pleased I went.
This was followed by an early dinner and an early night
Quote of the day today is: ‘yesterday is history, tomorrow a mystery and today a gift. That is why it is called the present.’
Today breakfast did not start until 7.30am so I had a lie in and departed at 8.30am, although today is a short day of 21km, it is also 5 degrees cooler which is lovely.
The walk today was very quiet, loads of farm land and fields, we seem to have passed through the vine yards and out the other side.
We passed through two towns Azofra and Cirueña. We did not stop for coffee in Azofra although I stopped to use the bathroom and we met two Canadian women, Carina and Hazel. I met Hazel in the queue for the ladies (nothing changes), she recognised me from the group prayer session and tour of the cathedral in Pamplona! She is clearly far more observant than me.
We walked the next few km with them. Carina is doing her 4th Camino and has done various routes. She was a font of all Camino knowledge. We agreed that as a single person, by far the most social way to travel is to stay in the auberges where everyone tends to eat or cook together, but then they also sleep and shower together too, which really does not appeal!! I remain happy with my choice of Glaminoing, even if most people staying in hotels are travelling as couples or pairs.
We then passed through Cirueña. It is safe to say that this village was spooky, there was absolutely no one around, all the apartments and houses had their shutters down, loads were for sale, it felt like a ghost town. By this stage we were very keen to find a coffee but there was nothing!! Right at the end of town their was a sign for a bar, a few hundred yards the wrong way out of town from the trail. As we turned the corner, we laughed to see a steady trail of pilgrims all heading the wrong way for a coffee, or in some cases like the 3 women in their late 60s a beer and sausage around 11am!!
We then pushed in for the final 7km into Santo Domingo. We have decided to change our routine and before heading to the hotel we stopped for a late lunch before the kitchens close. This means that we won’t snack all afternoon until 7.30/8pm for dinner, and neither will we go to bed in a full stomach. It remains to be seen whether we are hungry again later but the logic is sound!! See the specialities of the day, I did not try the tripe and snouts!!
I have to say, despite all the walking I think I am gaining weight! How is this possible?
I have also discover that walking early morning to mid afternoon the sun is on my left side all the time, and I have one now browning side whilst the other remains white. I cannot see how to resolve this dilemma, short of spending a few days walking backwards, so I might be coming home with a very brown left side!!
Well off to explore Santo Domingo now…till tomorrow.