Up and at ’em by 7:00 today. Wasted some time because I got turned around. Finally got on the way and passed by this entertaining fellow soon after:
He was the first of many surprises.
Didn’t know food trucks would be parked along the pathway:
Or that bee hive structures similar to some in my hometown would appear — seen in a few spots today–these even have adjacent picnic areas.
You can also find these bee hive structures on the west coast of Ireland:
Upon entering Najera this typically American sight was just ahead–could swear a K-mart was around the corner:
Not too much further lay “thickets” of poppies whose color mirrors those in my yard — these can be seen everywhere along the pathway:
Once in the city I began a quest for food–stopped at a supermarket–not a surprise that it looked like an American store.
Shortly thereafter I found a cafe facing the river Rio Najerilla and chowed down– you’d think I hadn’t eaten in days– trust me I had:
The folks at the adjacent table are French and have traveled around the world on a sailboat.
I was primarily excited about visiting Najera because of the Monasterio Santa Maria de la Real. Declared a national monument in 1889 its built into sandstone cliffs. Within its walls Castilian royalty from the 11th –13th centuries are entombed:
Built in the 12th Century it was filled with beauty as only a European church could be–see photos–entering the knights cloister:
Entrance to the cloister called “Gateway of Charles the 1st of Spain:
The church’s golden interior dedicated to Saints Benedict and Scholastica and king Don Garcia and Dona Estefania. It’s considered to be priceless:
Fixtures along the sidewalks of the church–St Michael the Archangel smiting Satan, St James (see the shell symbolic of “The Way”) and Christ:
The Monastery’s choir loft and mausoleum represent the best of 12th century craftsmanship:
The gate of the “Tree of the Garden of Good and Evil” must be crossed to enter the courtyard garden:
The interior courtyard garden and it’s well–reminiscent of Mont St Michele in France:
Legend has it that in 1044 King Don Garcia found this in a cave where the Monastery stands today:
This is certainly a national treasure.