…and rosemary, and juniper berries, and bay leaves!
In this rough, scrawny country on the track to Viana you’ll find all the flavourings for a good braise or pot roast. And to sweeten up a long cooked oxtail alla romana…there are even free raisins strewn on the ground!
Don’t pick the grapes still attached to the vine: they’ve sent their sugars back to the root. In fact, just scavenge off the roadside, since farmers are rightly fed up with pilgrims tramping on their land.
A day of open panoramas…
And a foretaste of the Rioja, with its endless vineyards.
Though the olive grows well enough in the alkaline scrabble.
The architectural highlight before Viana is the twelfth century church built by the Knights of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem, and named after their order. The lovely Romanesque structure is an unusual octagon, and actually burnt a lantern in its linterna to guide pilgrims by night. Serious, round-the-clock business, this pilgrimage thing.
The day’s destination, Viana, is a substantial town with emblasoned houses and some of its old wall still standing.
Look, when you’re situated between Navarre and Castile, you’re one bone between two hungry dogs who loathe each other. Such was Viana’s history.
Re-established by Sancho the Strong, and possibly receiving its name as a fashion statement to reflect the very prestigious French city of Vienne, it earned its epithet of “Most Noble, Most Loyal” by adhering to Navarre whenever possible.
One of history’s most famous and capable villains died here, a man who lived all his short life in the glare of notoriety but died quite obscurely in Viana. His family name will never be obscure.
Let’s make it a story for the next post.