Day 10 – Najera to Santo Domingo de la Calazada

I am currently in Santo Domingo de la Calazada (Saint Dominic of the Road), a town that very nicely blends the old and new.

Saint Dominic lived in the early days of the Camino de Santiago about 1,000 years ago, and dedicated his life to creating infrastructure for pilgrims that ultimately caused this way station to be named in his honor.

Spent the day walking through more vineyards. With a lot of time on my hands to think, I began to wonder how the Rioja wine region compares to our most popular areas in the US, Napa and Sonoma. According to Google, Rioja has about 50% more planted acreage than Napa and Sonoma combined. From my perspective, we don’t think much about Spanish wines in the US, but perhaps the low profile is because much of the product is being consumed in country!

Santo Domingo has a wonderfully preserved church and cloister. Instead of describing it, I thought it would make more sense to share my  observations about the majority of churches I have seen so far. First of all, it is important to mention that the Camino has hundreds of churches on its route mostly built in the Romanesque style, and dating from the beginning of the Camino 1,000 years ago. The Romanesque style is characterized by thick walls and columns, rounded arches and vaulted ceilings, and somewhat dark inside due to a lack of natural light. Most of the exposed walls, floors and ceilings are natural stone, but the alter often has a very ornate backdrop that stands out dramatically in the otherwise monochrome setting. Larger churches are usually built with a central nave and crossing transept to form a cross-like footprint. They will often have crypts and small chapels around the perimeter. Choir members site in a cage-like structure toward the back of the center nave.

Off to Belorado tomorrow in what looks like another shorter walk.

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