September 23

Najera to Santa Domingo Dela Calzada   22km

I was going to have a lie in this morning but everyone got out of bed at 6.30 so I didn’t get much of a chance. In this Albergue that I am staying at tonight there is a notice on the door saying everyone has to get up at 7.00am and everyone must leave the hostel by 8.00am. I think this hostel has 211 beds. It is very efficient. Mind you they don’t provide breakfast nor dinner. 

It was a misty, cool start to the day

There was a hint of hills just above this layer of low cloud 

The route lay along gravel tracks through a couple of villages. The first one was just right for a cup of coffee, the second was deserted. 

In Spain you sometimes wonder whether things are done on purpose or by accident. I think this effect was deliberate…

This track walked down and then along the main road in the distance. 
The track slowly climbed onto a plateau and then away from the vines into rolling fields. These three pics are of the same place;

Big spaces

Close upThere are 28 people in this shot. 

Eventually the path descended to the old town of Santo Domingo

The elevation here is 640m – 2,000ft. We are up on a high plain. 

A shortish day gave me time to have a haircut and to buy a new pair of shoes and to visit the cathedral. Ah the Cathedral. Here comes some more ‘culture’

There is a golden reredos from the 1560 but you’ve seen enough of those. 

There is a wonderful carved choir stalls

They have an exhibition and I was most impressed by the facial expression on this wooden Virgin and child from 1650:

This town is called Santo Domingo dela Calzada. The town was founded by this guy

He is Santo Domingo. He was a hermit here who saw the problems of pilgrims going to Santiago. So he built a bridge across the river, he cleared the forest, built a road, built a hostel for the pilgrims and of course founded a church. This was around the year 1040. His relics are under this ornate structure. The silver arch is made from Mexican silver given in 1763 by emigres from this area. The statue dates from this time as well. 

The town was founded to look after pilgrims. I guess that’s why the Albergue I am staying in is so large.