Camino de Santiago de Compostela - Najera to Santo Domingo de la Calzadas

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September 3rd 2015
Published: October 7th 2015
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Our path on the Camino Our path on the Camino Our path on the Camino

After the rain last night the muddy path passes through the farmland on the Plateau above Najera
3 September 2015, Thursday, Stage 10.

GPS: 15.1 miles 6 hours moving, total time 8 hours leave at 0727 arrive 1515

Najera to Santo Domingo de la Calzada.

Fitbit stats: Stairs 103 Steps 33,426 Miles 14.60

We returned from our pilgrims dinner last night about 2130. We are in the room 5 minutes when the rain starts. The noisy kids now go inside so it is quieter until the man with the dirty, beat up Mercedes, without a muffler, pulls into the private alley where our Hostal Cuidad de Najera is located.

We pack, planning a 0600 breakfast and to be on the Camino by 0700. ( we were within 30 minutes). On and off it rains. About 0500 Karen awakes to the sound of the deluge. Najerillo, the river, is only 2 blocks away and there are some photos in the breakfast cafe of the flood of 1954. By 0545 when the alarm sounds the rain has stopped. Weather forecast indicates high probability of rain, so the ponchos go in the backpack and Karen puts on Marmot rain pants. Rain coats are on or around the waist. The routine is to get the bags down to front desk before 0800 so they are ready for the JacoTrans transfer service. Janjo and Harlan are on a first name basis from all the changes - no bags, then one bag, then 2 bags and now 3 as we had to purchase one to put in the emergency clothes we finally had to purchase prior to the bags being found.

We found, yesterday, a spot with eggs, ham, tomatoes, toast, coffee, orange juice and a sweet roll that opens at 0600 so we are back there today. Different waitress and not the same service but the food is fine.

Breakfast over we are on the camino and yes, Jo, all starts are uphill, today steeper than most. The town along the river is in a deep red colored rocky canyon, now we must climb to the top of the plateau. As usual we greet many others with "Buen Camino!" as they pass us going out of town. It is a constant guess as to where to find the next camino way markers to restore confidence that we are on the correct path. The heavy puddles and mud are evidence of the night's heavy rain fall. After
A house with two coats of armsA house with two coats of armsA house with two coats of arms

Many of the older more wealthy homes have coats of arms for the families on the building.
3.5 miles we are in Azofra and stop for coffee. One person we meet today is Rui, a financial analyst for Viacom, who had been working in Budapest, but is looking for a new direction. He joins us in the cafe for juice, coffee and we buy a sandwich for the road. Rui is Portugese from Porto. We discuss the significance of the camino in the quest for direction for the next phase of one's life. We leave first, knowing he will overtake us. When we first met he had told us he had biked the camino about 7 years ago right before his finance analyst chapter in life. Now he is walking the camino to close that chapter and search for the beginning of his new life phase. This time, from walking, he is experiencing shin splints. Harlan had given him the exercises he uses to help stretch those muscles and ease the pain when we first met him on the camino earlier. And yes, he now zooms by us feeling better. Karen's note. I will remember this little cafe because as you entered the door one heard the most wonderful Italian arias. Also, I will remember chatting with
The Scallop ShellThe Scallop ShellThe Scallop Shell

Karen and the symbol of the Camino near the trail
a very thoughtful young man who drank tea. First cup of tea I've seen since I've arrived.

As we crest the hill before Ciruena a young man has refreshments setup at a rest stop. We get an OJ and donate 2 euros. We learn that his English is good and that he would like to travel USA Route 66 and the Alcan highway to Alaska. But, since he studied socialist economics in Cuba, he cannot get a visa to come to USA.

It is a very long 6 miles to the next village, Ciruena, a golfing community with for sale or for rent apartments along every block of every street. Now the importance of the camino arrows. Looking at the map it appears we go right at the end of town and the albergue is to the left. Thinking we can save some steps, we retrace our steps to what appears to be the main road shown on the map. About half a km later we see a sign entering another village not on the camino, so we retrace our steps along the highway to the now visible roundabout mentioned in the guide book, and at the albergue, which are not as the map appeared to show. Quote of the day, "You cannot imagine how bad my feet hurt," as we get back on track. The proprietor of our lodging the next night will tell us this community of vacant houses was a money laundry operation by the Russian mafia.

We have rolling hills now along the way to Santa Domingo de la Calzada. This is a euphemism for lots more ups and downs before we start down into town. On the last descent we are joined by an Irish couple who are tackling the camino in stages this being their third. Like us they made reservations for the nights ahead on their own and have not used a travel service.

As we walk and talk into town we lose sight of the church steeple near our hotel. Looking backward we see the sign to the Parador Santo Domingo de la Calzada. The sign is not on the camino as Harlan had thought. It takes a round about way past the tourist office which closed 15 minutes earlier. Harlan goes ahead while Karen remains to read everything on the windows and around the tourist office. Ten
Parador Santo Domingo de la CalzadaParador Santo Domingo de la CalzadaParador Santo Domingo de la Calzada

The old pilgrims hospital historically decorated.
minutes later Harlan returns having checked in. Our bags again are already in the room. Tired, we love this service!!

I immediately shower and plop on the bed for a long nap, covered with a heavy blanket.

Awaking, we decide to check out the cathedral that has some interesting features and we must eat. We buy our tickets for the church and the young man at the ticket office suggests Restaurant Hidalgo for dinner. Although a sign on the sidewalk indicates the restaurant will open at 7:00, early for Spain, a gentleman on the street indicates it will be 7:30.

So we decide to visit the cathedral before dinner. Well, one needs at least a day, not an hour, to do this edifice justice. There are several features that, all combined, make this an amazing structure.

Building began in 1158. The choir sits in the middle of the structure which I always find most disconcerting. It breaks up the flow and harmony of the interior.

The altarpiece, incredibly complex, is to the side of the sanctuary and is covered with golden and polychrome elements. The sculptor added, to the habitual Christian scenes, profane mythology such
History of the ParadorHistory of the ParadorHistory of the Parador

Parador Santo Domingo de la Calzada
as sirens, centaurs, newts etc., since ancient times connected with resurrection but, just a few years after they were carved by the sculptor, the 1545 Trento Council forbade such representation in Christian art. Ah, Medieval censorship!

But the most unique feature--the hens and rooster

I know this is long but it is a wonderful myth😊

In the Cathedral there is a stone, polychrome and Gothic Henhouse, which was built in the middle of the XVth c. to keep alive a hen and a rooster in memory of the most famous of Santo Domingo's miracles. There are documents from Pope Clemente VI dated 1350 allowing these live animals inside the Cathedral.

Legend tells of a German Pilgrim called Hugonell who was walking to Santiago with his parents, when they decided to rest at an inn in Santo Domingo de la Calzada. The owner of the inn's daughter immediately fell in love with him; however her feelings were not reciprocated, so the girl, angered, placed a silver cup into his luggage and accused the boy of theft. Thieves at that time were punished by hanging, and thus was the fate of Hugonell.His parents, saddened by his death, continued
The Cathedral housing the spirit of St. Dominic and the cocks in the coop.The Cathedral housing the spirit of St. Dominic and the cocks in the coop.The Cathedral housing the spirit of St. Dominic and the cocks in the coop.

This church started in 12th Century, Saint Dominic's Hospital for Pilgrims is now the parador where we stayed. His church has evolved into this Cathedral.
the pilgrimage, and upon arriving in Santiago de Compostela, began their return journey to visit the grave of their dead son. When they arrived in Santo Domingo however, they found their son still hanging in the gallows but, miraculously alive. Hugonell, excited, said to them: "Santo Domingo brought me to life, please go to the Mayor's house and ask him to take me down." Quickly, the parents arrived at the Mayor's house and told him of the miracle, the incredulous Mayor, who was preparing to have dinner with friends, responded: "that boy is as alive as these two roast chickens we see about to eat," and suddenly, the chickens came to life, sprouted feathers and beaks and began to crow, and so, to this day there is a saying about the town which goes, "Santo Domingo of the Way, where the roosters crow after being roasted".

Santo Domingo was an illiterate young man who was not accepted for study in the monastery by San Millan, but instead spent his life helping Pilgrims along The Way. He built bridges, a hospital for the travelers and, in general tried to make their pilgrimage an easier passage. There are many wonderful myths
A portrait of fighting St. Dominic with his cockA portrait of fighting St. Dominic with his cockA portrait of fighting St. Dominic with his cock

The miracle is that he brought both the boy and birds back to life.
of this man but there is also a great deal of historical basis for crediting him with a life well spent.

We end the day by trying, again, the Restaurante Hidalgo and again enjoying lovely meals of salmon and pork ribs.

We return to the parador and run into Oscar, Jonathan, Cam and Marie. We catch up with news of the trail and agree we will probably meet up again the next day in Belorado.

To bed on linen that is embroidered and pressed with a mangle. What a life!


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