de Santiago / French Way : 02. Roncevalles - Zubiri
Roncesvalles you will pass the Cruz de
los Peregrinos erected in 1880 by Prior Don
Francisco Polite. After about 200 metres you will
come across a map of the Camino and the beginning
of a woodland track which leads you towards Burguete
(known as Auritz in the Basque dialect).
to spook anyone who walks through these woods but
they do have a couple of legends attached to them.
The first is that in the 16th century a coven of
witches was believed to be based here. Whether this
is true or not it unfortunately led to nine people
being burnt at the stake by the Inquisition for
story pertains to that of the Queen Juana de Labrit
who was Enrique IV's (Henry IV) mother who died
from poisoning in Paris in June 1572. A rumour circulated
at the time was that Catherine de Medici, Henry's
future mother-in-law, sent Juana a pair of perfumed
gloves that had been poisoned. She did in fact die
from natural causes but then that spoils the mythology
of it all.
Catholic who chose to convert to Calvinism upon
ascending to the Navarran throne, Juana banished
priests and nuns from the region, destroyed catholic
churches and prohibited the Catholic ritual. Her
body was reputed to have been stolen by Lamias,
creatures with serpent's bodies and women's faces,
and brought to the forest surrounding Irati. On
stormy nights they would come out and destroy churches
until the locals found that those that had been
built on a Saturday were not touched, therefore
the locals would then build their churches this
way and therefore liberated themselves from the
3 kilometres out of Roncevalles, Burguete
is a beautiful village with most of the whitewashed
houses having been built in the 18th century in
response to the increase of pilgrims through the
region. It is a calm and relaxed village surrounded
by woodland filled with oak, hazel, ash and poplar.
Hemingway, the novelist, is reported to have stayed
at the Hostal Burguete on his way to the Fiesta
de San Fermin (the running of the bulls) and mentions
Burguete in his book "The Sun also Rises".
He had stopped to fish for trout in the River Irati
and even wrote to his friend and fellow writer F
Scott Fitzgerald saying "heaven would be a
big bull ring with me holding two barrera seats
and a trout stream outside that no one else was
allowed to fish in".
the pilgrim there are a number of cafés, hotels,
a bakery, a bank and for those already suffering
from blisters, the welcome sight of a pharmacy.
you continue your Camino you will pass 17th century
Iglesia de San Nicolas de Bari, a saint closely
linked with the Camino de Santiago and a protector
the wooden bridge cross over the Rio Urrobi (more
a stream than a river) and after about 200 metres
take a left over another bridge onto a minor road.
Soon this road becomes a track and will eventually
take you through some woods, all the while going
uphill. After approximately 4 kilometres you will
reach the Iglesia San Bartolomé
at the entrance to the village of Espinal
(also known as Aurizberri).
Founded in 1269
by King Teobaldo II, like its neighbour Burguete
it was destroyed by fire by the French in the 17th
century. In the village you will find plenty of
places to eat and drink including bars, restaurants
and a bakery (panaderia) and small shop. There are
also a couple of guest houses (casas rurales) here
if you were unable to find somewhere to stay in
Roncevalles as well as a private Albergue.
the signs out of the village you will come across
a quiet road that will lead you to a track and up
some steps towards the beech woods and towards the
Alto de Mezquiriz 1.5 kilometres from Espinal.
Here you will find a plaque written in French, Spanish
and Basque to the Virgin and Child, asking the pilgrim
to pray for Notre-Dame de Roncevaux (our lady of
Roncevalles). From the Alto de Mezquiriz there is
a steep downward path which runs parallel with the
main road. In recent years this has been resurfaced
and can be slippery when wet and can be extremely
dangerous when icy.
3 kilometres further along the path you will come
to the village of Viskarret (Biskarreta in Basque)
where you will find a café. You can also get your
Credencial stamped at the village church. Upon leaving
the village you will come to the River Erro where
you can cross the river using the stepping stones
then walk past the cemetery.
Once past the cemetery
take the middle of the three paths then cross
the main road and down a track into the small hamlet
Walking under a wooden bridge linking
one of the hamlet's stone houses with a high walled
garden, this path leads you to a steep uphill dirt
track which begins to level out a bit after a couple
of kilometres before it begins to descend. After
a further kilometre or two you will reach the mountain
pass called Alto de Erro where once there
was a refuge for pilgrims called the Venta del Puerto
but which now stands in ruins. Thankfully from here
on in the path continues to descend towards the
town of Zubiri approximately 4 kilometres away.
is located about mid way between Roncevalles
and the city of Pamplona and is considered an essential
stop on the Camino Frances.
Here you will find the
medieval Puente de la Rabia from which the town
gets its name (Zubiri means village with the bridge
in the Basque language). Legend has it that this
bridge has a supernatural power. It is said that
if a rabid animal is led around the central pillar
three times it will be cured of the disease. Some
say the reason for this is that a local saint named
Santa Quiteria is buried beneath the bridge.
Zubiri you will find a couple of Albergues (one
private/one municipal) as well as some hostels and
pensiones. Within the town there is also a grocery
store, a bakery and a bank.
à CF description
at wanadoo.fr - 07/01/2014