On the approach to Nájera, we first pass by the German version of a Spanish poem written further along on the same wall. (It was the original work of a priest, Eugenio Garibay Baños.) I rather like it. Not too deep-and-cheesy at all, it lists all the major attractions of the Way, and ends by saying that we don’t know the reason for any of it…but the Big Guy does. Seems about right.
Nájera doesn’t seem like a big town from the map in my Miam Miam Dodo. In fact, it’s substantial, with most services and a lovely old quarter across the river. Behind this quarter is a kind of many-pored cerro or cliff-face which explains the town’s historic defensive role, as well as its bird population. To my surprise, pigeon shooting was occurring before sunset, very close in to the town. I thought only Queenslanders behaved like that!
In the tenth century, when Pamplona fell to the Muslims, the Christian sovereign transferred his seat to Nájera. Hence there is a royal monastery and episcopal seat, though most of it was constructed much later in the fifteenth century. By that time, Nájera was part of Castile, and the Castilian monarch was careful to grant it the apelativo Most Noble and Most Loyal…which was his way of saying: You’re not Navarre any more!
Like another former capital, Lectoure, which we passed along the Le Puy route, it’s got the buzz of a city in small town format. I did not take a rest day in Nájera – not like me, I know! – but next time I surely will.
Bacalao in the open air market.
This, alone, is grounds for a rest day!