Saturday, June 27, 2015

Camino de Santiago - Part 3 - Larrasoaña > Estella

Camino de Santiago - Part 3
Larrasoaña> Pamplona> Puente la Reina> Estella

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Day 3 / Tuesday, May 19, 2015
Larrasoaña> Pamplona

Day 4 / Wednesday, May 20, 2015
Pamplona> Puente la Reina

Day 5 / Thursday, May 21, 2015
Puente la Reina> Estella

Day 3 / Tuesday, May 19, 2015
Larrasoaña> Pamplona

After leaving Larrasoaña and getting our morning coffee at a riverside cute coffee, We had to chose Between a path That would take us along the road or an alternate path That would take us up the hill to Zabaldika to see a small church. We chose the alternate path up the hill and for our group, aside from the fact That we all got along so well so Quickly, This would be our first truly amazing bonding experience.

By This Time I was beginning to learn the names of my two new friends. The Australian guy's name was Pavle  and his mother's name was Sveta . 'Tin Tin' was easy to remember .. but in a few more days I would Also Be able to call him by His Royal Welsh name ' Ieuan '(pronounced:' yah-yin '). All of These names too a while.

So while Pavle, Ieuan and I scampered up the steep hill, Sveta would always be just behind us. This was the pattern That we would walk in for the first two weeks, but then a Sveta Began to get up and leave Earlier than the rest of us, and she would limit her rests times. So by the end of the road, even though Sveta Might Have Been not the fastest walker, Were there several times When She was the first one finished during the day.

When we got to the top of the hill, we found a little church with a little, white haired, elderly nun at the entrance asking us to please come in. We were Asked what languages ​​we spoke as They Had printed literature about the church in a multitude of languages.

As We walked through the door, We Were Greeted With the site of an ancient, beautiful, wooden carving of the crucifixion. However, all around the image of Jesus Were yellow and green post-its With prayers and blessings written by pilgrims That HAD passed through. The calming energy in this place was very special. The elderly nun spoke to us in a kind, soft voice, but with a sincere Also With eagerness to know who we are and why We were each traveling on the road.

The stone, spiral staircase up to the choir loft was wonderfully claustrophobic. Then But after arriving in the choir loft, the staircase continued much farther up, all the way to the bell tower. Here there are signs on the wall, telling you That, if you would like, you can ring the tower bells softly one or two times .. but be sure to close your eyes and listen to the sound Until it fades. Took all of us softly turns ringing the bell. It Might not sound like much, but in esta atmosphere, In This building, on This hillside .. it was absolutely a magical experience.

The action of ringing the bell is not so hard. You gently pull on the rope Until the heavy metal softly clapper strikes the side of the bell. However, when it Became Sveta's turn, she gently pulled on the string Until It Reached the side of the bell ... and Then She kept pulling, and pulling .. Until the bell was Practically Entire sideways. As she Looked at Us with the expression "Is this what I am supposed to do?" we Screamed with laughter (and mild fright) as it Looked Like She Was About to pull the bell right off the wall (see video below).

Zabaldika &
Zabaldika is one of the 26 villages, stretched out along the Esteribar Valley. It is situated 9 kilometers from Pamplona, ​​and 37 kilometers from Roncesvalles. Its population at present Consists of 40 neighbors, made up of 13 homes and a religious community. The village is divided into two separate districts 'neighborhoods' by the main road. The houses are built of dressed stone With semicircular arched doorways and the window portals and symbols are typical of the architecture of the 17th and 18th century.
St. Stephen is the patron saint of the church. It dates from the beginning of the 13th century and has not any HAD any major Alterations. It is Romanesque in style and Its barrel vaulted dome is pointed. Typical of the 13th century, the bell tower rises up from the choir section of the church and is supported by it. Its body is rectangular and the bells are situated in two arched windows. One of the bells, the smallest one bronze, is Said to be the oldest in the whole region of Navarra. It probably Belonged to St. Saviour's Monastery in Asiturri, Which was situated, in Earlier Times, on the other side of the river Arga. It has a beautiful sound.
If the church is locked, a key can be Obtained from the Society of the Sacred Heart house next door. 
The main doorway is protected by a barreled vault and framed by three decorated Romanesque arches resting on fascia and squared stone pillars. A wooden carving of Christ Crucified Welcomes the pilgrim at the entrance. The main altarpiece is 17th century and is Attributed to Juan de Gasteluzar.

!!!! SECRET WAY !!!!
The Church of San Esteban in Zabaldika is the only place along the Camino de Santiago Where You will be welcomed to climb the bell tower and ring one of the church bells.

(Sveta almost destroying the church.)

After the wonderful experience of ringing the church bell, speaking With the kindly nun and taking a break In This sacred place That Seemed so wonderfully casual and restful, another nun from the RSCJ (Society of the Sacred Heart) in the house next door came out to meet us and she gave Sveta Such a wonderful surprise When she started speaking to her in her native Balkan language. You can see the joy on Sveta's face on the photo below, so This was the first time in a very long time she Had the opportunity to speak her native language. It turns out That the nun HAD gone to the Balkan area During the war to help the Refugees flee the country and to Provide them with food and shelter along the way.

This is Also When I Began to learn the incredible background of my two new 'Australian' friends. Sveta was from Yugoslavia and at the time the Balkan war started she was still pregnant With Pavle. It was not long after Pavle's birth That She Had to flee her home, everything she owned and everyone She Knew .. and escape the country with her infant child. Were there many people, like this amazing nun, That Helped her along the way .. So This was more than just a nice conversation .. Also it was slightly emotional. From this point on, Sveta hearing talk with her thick accent Balkan Sounded like music to me.

THROUGHOUT the next three weeks, There Were a few soundbites Sveta That would Constantly repeat. At least 10X per day I would hear her say ! "so sweet" Regarding the multitude of wonder people, children or animals we would meet - "! so beautiful" every few steps as We walked through all of the wonderful nature - and "Where is Pavle?" was not any time Pavle Within her eyesight. None of esta ever Became old or in any way annoying, Because Sveta is absolutely one of the sweetest people you can possibly meet, and her constant Mentioning That things are 'sweet' and 'beautiful' was always a constant reminder to acknowledge and appreciate These wonderful things all around. And her constant search for Pavle was lovely .. well .. Because she's his mom.


Church of the Blessed

From the Trinidad de Arre bridge (above), your gaze falls on the Church of the Holy Trinity (13th century) situated on the other end. Since the Middle Ages esta church has Belonged to the convent of the Marist Brothers, Which still runs a pilgrim hostel today.


Three trolls on top of a bridge entering Pamplona.

(Basque: Iruna)
The capitol of the autonomous region of Navarra. The town is Said to be of Roman Foundation dating back to the 1st century BC. A varied history Followed with invasions by the Visigoths (5th century), the Franks (6th century) and finally the Arabs (732). But Already in 755 the Basques managed to shake off the Moorish rule. 
In the year 778 Charles the Great, after  an unsuccessful  campaign against the Arabs at Zaragoza, Had Previously the Basque fortress razed  to the ground to cut off the Moorish pursuers' path. The ensuing battle on the Ibaneta pass Went down in history as the 'Song of Roland' (see my blog way, Part 1).
From the 9th century onwards, the kingdom of Navarra was created with Pamplona as STI Capital, but the town's revival did not begin Until the Influx of pilgrims.

Cathedral of Santa Maria

Behind a colonial-looking facade (18th century) lies a massive Gothic church building from the 15th century. For more information and history on This cathedral visit STI  Wikipedia page .

The founders of the cathedral, the royal couple Carlos III, the Noble, and Leonora de Trastamara, are buried in the chancel in an alabaster sarcophagus (around 1420).

The unique and hair-raising bull running is world-famous. This tradition is Celebrated in Spain THROUGHOUT MOST cities on different dates, but The most famous Bull Run is definitely in Pamplona. Often viewed a barbaric Among the animal lovers, the bulls run right through the center of old town During the festival (6th through July 14). However, without Ernest Hemingway 's novel 'The Sun Also Rises (1926) and the spectacular (especially for tourists naive) extremely dangerous bull run Would Have Remained a totally standard patron saint's festival without any international popularity. In the 12th century, French immigrants Brought into the town the remains of Saint Firminius, WHO came from Pamplona but was sent as a missionary to France in the 3rd century. Since the 16th century the festival has-been held in His honor at the start of July. The relics can be found in the Church of San Lorenzo .
A stroll through the ancient streets Between the town hall and the cathedral and along the remains of the town walls Gives you a beautiful impression of the old town. There are Numerous restaurants and cafe's in the arcades around the Plaza del Castillo . The town fortress stood here Until the building of the new citadel.
!!!! SECRET WAY !!!!
Within Plaza del Castillo is one specific coffee, Cafe Iruña . This is the cafe Where Ernest Hemingway spent a lot of His time while writing 'The Sun Also Rises.' The decor of esta landmark is unchanged from the time Hemingway spent His time there.
If you walk through the restaurant gallery area to the back of the room and look all the way on the right in the back of the room there is a door. It will probably be closed during the day .. but you can probably sneak in. Behind this door is the tiny, tavern bar Where Hemingway spent quite a bit of time .. and as a tribute, there is a life-sized, bronze statue of Hemingway leaning against the bar.

One of the best parts of sneaking into the back bar at Cafe Iruña during the day .. Is That We were the only ones in there. We got to spend some quality, one on one time with Ernest .. and I got to put the signature flower hat on Hemingway.


Day 4 / Wednesday, May 20, 2015
Pamplona> Puente la Reina


In the above photo you will see a stack of hay off to the side of the path. From far away however, aged These stacks of hay, leaning to the side and toppled over in some places, looks just like castle ruins. Though we would see like stacks of hay on out journey, esta first haystack HAD Tin Tin and I completely fooled, and We were excited to see the ruins up Until the point we got about this close to it.

We did not get to see ruins, but we had fun With This pile of decomposing straw none the less.

First, I through out there to the notion That Tin Tin This was the site of the fabled kingdom inhabited by pigs haystack. The village met ITS fate When a marauding band of Moorish wolves huffed and puffed and toppled the kingdom.

I provided the basic concept for a story, and for the next hour Tin Tin expanded on the story With An epic tale, complete with characters, character voices and historical references to other Real-life events to tie everything together. This Seemed to be a system That Tin Tin, Pavle and i had that worked out the best. I would give the The most basic notion of a story .. and Then They would expound upon the storytelling to the point it Became an epic tale. Often I tried to interject further storylines into the mix, but I Could not Keep Up With these guys and More Often than not I was quite happy to walk along beside them and simply laugh hysterically As They filled each story With brilliant character dialog.
The history of Haystack Castle included a prosperous time when pigs would stop there to rest on their way from St. Jean-de-Pork Pig-to Spamtiago. Haystack Castle was the first place the pigs Could find shelter after leaving Spamplona. But Then Came the wolves. I think it would make a great movie.


At the top of the Perdon Pass there is a memorial to the pilgrim chapel and the hospital of Nuestra Senora del Perdon Also or Astrain. In 1996 Navarre's friends of the Way of St. James erected an unconventional sculpture of a pilgrim caravan next to the memorial.

Just below the pass is the spring called the Fuente de la Teja . Tradition holds That the devil Offered some pilgrims to drink from the spring in the hope That They would renounce God, the Holy Virgin or at Least St. James. The brave pilgrims refused the offer.

Sveta and I snacked on a few of These snow peas.



Puente la Reina
The origins and development of this town are closely connected With the iconic bridge (bridge) from the 11th century gave the town ITS Which name. At the start of the 12th century, Alfonso I, king of Navarra and Aragon, gave this place, located on the Rio Arga, town status. More and more merchants and craftsmen, many French amoungst them, Settled on the left and right of the pilgrim route. Still today the Mayor Street runs in a straight line through the well preserved old town to the bridge over the Arga. The bridge is Said to Have Been built on the wishes of a queen (probably Dona Mayor, widow of Sancho Garces III) Hence it the name 'brindge of the queen (queen)' Road and bridge construction was so Important in the Middle Ages and social and economic growth made ​​possible in many regions, Also along the way of St. James.

The former Templar's church, the Church of the Crucifix (11th century) is named after the unusual pilgrim cross (12 / 13th century). The crucifix has-been made ​​in a Y-shape and is Said to be the gift from the Rhineland pilgrims. This, and a second crucifix in Carrion de los Condes, are the only examples of crucifix in esta design in Span. An archway connects the church with the monastery of St. John, situated on the other side of the road.

In the center of town lies the Church of Santiago (12th - 14th century With redesigns in the 16th and 18th centuries).


I have no idea how icing-covered, chocolate,  donut shaped cookies inspired the name 'Filipinos'.  But just letting all of my Filipino friends know .. They were delicious.
Day 5 / Thursday, May 21, 2015
Puente la Reina> Estella

Leaving the village via the Queen Puenta the next morning.



I took the photo of the above bit of graffiti on the 4th day of the journey.  Much later in the way, in the 3rd week, I randomly met the artist.  He was sitting outside a cafe drawing and we started talking.  He and his Were girlfriend taking Their Time .. camping along the way.

Tin Tin Gandolf doing his best impression.

The development of esta village is linked to the pilgrimages to Compostela, as the village lies on the road to Santiago. The two-arched, Romanesque bridge crossing the river Irantzu, divide the village. During the famous Black Death devastated Europe in 1348 Which, Villatuerta was reduced to a quarter of Its population from 204 to 54 houses, or families.
The church, devoted to our Lady of Assumption, is the Most Important building in the village. It was originally built in a Romanesque style in 1200, but in 1378 Castilians Set Fire to the village. It was later restored With more of a Gothic influence. The Altar by Pedro Izquierdo and sculptor Juan Imberto III is dated mid-17th century Which is why it shows late renaissance and early baroque styles.


King Sancho Ramirez was instrumental in making Estella, in around 1090, into a significant stopping place along the Way of St. James. I Summoned, in particular French settlers into the Basque village of Lizarra, gave the new settlement on the Rio Ega town status and altered the course of the pilgrim way Which originally ran further south. The town grew and flourished Quickly. In the 13th century, STD wealth was comparable only to the of Burgos. The magnificant many civic and religous buildings Estella earned nicknames like ' Toledo of the North 'and' Estella, the beautiful '( the beautiful Estella ). Praised Aimeric Picaud in the Codex Calixtinus Estella as a welcoming town with 'good bread, excellent wine and meat and fish in abundance.' During the war of independence in the 19th century, the star of Estella finally Went Down.

At the entrance of the village pilgrims pass the Church of the Holy Sepulchre (14th century). The one-nave Certainly early Gothic building is in a sorry state, but as In This case, a bit of decay absolutely adds to the charm of the town.

The showpiece of Estella is the late Romanesque church, the Church of San Pedro de la Rua . Elegant steps accentuate the impact of the raised building.

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