We are awoken by trucks – lots and lots of them, followed by street cleaning trucks. At 6am the church bells ring and the convey through town begins. Obviously there are bypasses to these smaller towns but these must be locals who wait until 6 before heading off. Perhaps they cant go in any direction from the Calle Mayor in the centre. Every town has a Calle Mayor meaning major street and they are tiny – only wide enough for 1 car.
The street cleaners come up and down the streets everyday with their whirring brushes sucking litter into trucks and sometimes hosing things down as they go, depending on how big the party was the night before. A slow walk through town to a cafe for a double espresso and snack and then onto the sightseeing.
After our visit to the Tourist info we headed for the Convent of Santo Domingo founded in 1259 for a prosperous community of monks and now converted to an old people’s home complete with bar and cafe. It is not open to visitors and like many of the buildings looks completely dilapidated on the outside but is probably spectacular inside.
Then onto Santa Maria Jus del Castillo which is in the Jewish quarter. Some pretty gory history here and the church was once a synagogue. It seems that just about all the churches and cathedrals have long histories of being something else along the way with various architectural additions that make them asymmetrical and full of hidden treasures.
Next the Church of the Holy Sepulchre which was begun in the 12 century and finished in the 14 and still needs a little more work. I took a happy snap for a pilgrim but think I got his feet – Pete was busy with our camera so wasn’t asked.
Now for the guided tour of the Church of San Pedro de la Rua at 12 noon. No one there … doors locked. This church has lots of arabic influences but can only show you the outside as no one showed up for the 1pm tour either.
Our last Church for the day is St Michaels, also closed. Hmmm. The smaller towns churches are always open and everyone is welcome. We read all about it and it sounds incredible so once again just exterior pics.
Drinks, food and feet up are next on the agenda.
Estella was built for and because of the Pilgrims Way to Santiago. It is full of churches and artistic landmarks. Pete has photographed most of them in detail. I’m definitely in a happier mood but definitely over the walking for the moment. The towns are so beautiful but the landscape between was under the pitiless sun without the protection of forests … to quote everyone who walks and writes about it. The next couple of days sound the same, with amazing villages and hostile terrain between so, Pete is walking the next two days and I’m bussing it to Logrono where we’ll meet on Friday.
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