The Camino and the Spanish Civil War (part 5 – Burgos)

I’ve been to the village of Tardajos three times (10km west of the centre of Burgos), in 2016, 2018 and 2022, and if you’ve walked the Camino Francés, you’ve certainly passed through it too.  When I was there in 2018 I noticed something that surprised me; the name of the principal street was Calle GeneralContinue reading “The Camino and the Spanish Civil War (part 5 – Burgos)”

The Camino and the Spanish Civil War (part 4 – La Rioja)

There’s one person you’re bound to meet on your Camino, and if you don’t find him at first, keep looking and like Where’s Wally? (or Where’s Waldo? in the USA), he’ll eventually pop up — he’s José Antonio Primo de Rivera, and I first spotted him in La Rioja. You enter the famous winemaking regionContinue reading “The Camino and the Spanish Civil War (part 4 – La Rioja)”

Jacques de Molay – last Grand Master of the Knights Templar

There’s an awful lot of junk written about the Order of the Knights Templar, and it’s not just the fault of Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code – it stretches back at least as far back as the eighteenth century founding of the Freemasons, and ultimately has it roots in the events of the Order’sContinue reading “Jacques de Molay – last Grand Master of the Knights Templar”

The Camino and the Spanish Civil War (part 3 – Navarra)

Alto del Perdón, just south of Pamplona, features in almost every Camino guide thanks to a rust-coloured iron art installation of medieval pilgrims struggling into the wind, accompanied by the legend ‘Where the way of the wind meets that of the stars’ (Donde se cruza el camino del viento con el de las estrellas).  AltoContinue reading “The Camino and the Spanish Civil War (part 3 – Navarra)”

The Spanish Inquisition and the Camino

The Inquisition was an office within the Catholic Church that dealt with matters of religious orthodoxy (proper belief and practice), and the Spanish Inquisition’s reputation is not simply a result of its activities, but also of propaganda wars of the sixteenth century and later.  As Spain increasingly portrayed itself as a champion of Catholicism andContinue reading “The Spanish Inquisition and the Camino”

The Camino and the Spanish Civil War (part 2 – Navarra)

As you walk through Pamplona, you are guided along the Camino by the usual yellow arrows and occasional blue sign, but also by a series of shiny aluminum discs embedded in the pavements, with an engraved shell-star and a little biker symbol (I’ll confess that it was probably my third visit to Pamplona when IContinue reading “The Camino and the Spanish Civil War (part 2 – Navarra)”

How to read a (church) door

One of the most common scenes you’ll see over an external church door is the Last Judgement, where all the dead are summoned and Christ grants heaven to some and condemns others to hell (each according to their merits).  The sculpturing of these doors is amazing and was executed according to a universally understood designContinue reading “How to read a (church) door”

The Camino and the Spanish Civil War (part 1)

You might not notice it, but the Spanish Civil War (1936–39) is a conflict still alive in Spain.  Any Spanish person you meet of 60 years or older (e.g. some of the hospitalero who run the albergues you stay in) will not simply be old enough to have lived under the dictatorship, but will haveContinue reading “The Camino and the Spanish Civil War (part 1)”

Compostela — ‘Field of the Star’?

In a previous post I mentioned seeing the Perseid meteor shower about halfway between Burgos and León and it got me thinking about the origins of the name Compostela, which some suggest comes from the Latin Campus Stellae ‘Field of the Star’. Etymologies — the origin and explanations of names — can be fun.  ForContinue reading “Compostela — ‘Field of the Star’?”

Know your Camino architecture: Romanesque and Gothic

Do you have a favourite type of medieval architecture?  Weird question?  Personally, as a medieval nerd I’m a bit torn between Romanesque and Gothic, but I think the older Romanesque wins out.  Why?  Well firstly it comes down to what they can and can’t do. Romanesque and Gothic are readily identifiable by their trademark arches;Continue reading “Know your Camino architecture: Romanesque and Gothic”