Santo Domingo de la Calzada, Spain: Today I cycled due east from Burgos, continuing on the Camino de Santiago de Compostela trail to the historic town of Santo Domingo. Some Spanish travellers whom I met in Ciudad Rodrigo had suggested I visit Santo Domingo, and I took their advice and a detour to see the place.
The ride to Santo Domingo was least pleasant of all my cycling days in Spain, and I rode in parallel to or on the Camino the whole way. The weather, with ominous skies, contrasted starkly from yesterday. This was not a day for a leisurely spin; I wanted to arrive in Santo Domingo before the rain. There were many walkers and cyclists of all shapes, sizes and ages doing the Camino, all heading westward to Santiago de Compostela. I was going against the flow. The road from Burgos was very busy, with many trucks plying the route. At times it felt like riding in Hong Kong.
Santo Domingo is located in the La Rioja region of Spain, an up-and-coming wine region. It’s green, its mountainous (there’s even a ski resort), and it’s pretty, but by now I’ve seen a lot of pretty. Along the Camino there are also many villages , each with their own church, including this one on the side of mountain.
Dominating Santo Domingo is a cathedral dedicated to Saint Dominick, who is buried in the cathedral. A thousand years ago he built a bridge and a hospital to assist pilgrims on the Camino. The sublime architecture and artistry of the Burgos Cathedral is a tough act to follow, and the cathedral here appeared cold and austere to me — but maybe its just the weather. What I found most interesting is the miracle of the rooster and hen, one of many miracles associated with Saint Dominic. There is a sliver rooster and hen in the church. This description of the legend is extracted from Wikipedia:-
The story goes that in the 14th century, a German 18-year old named Hugonell, from Xanten, goes on pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela with his parents. A Spanish girl at the hostel where they were staying makes sexual advances toward Hugonell; Hugonell rejects her advances. Angry at this, the girl hides a silver cup in the German’s bag and then informs the authorities that the youth had taken it. Hugonell is sentenced to the gallows, in accordance with the laws of Alfonso X of Castile.
The parents sadly decide to examine their son’s body, still hanging on the gallows, but suddenly hear his voice –he tells them that Saint Dominic has saved his life. His parents quickly make their way to Santiago de Compostela to see the magistrate. The magistrate, who is at the time eating dinner, remarks: “Your son is as alive as this rooster and chicken that I was feasting on before you interrupted me.” And in that moment, the two birds jump from the plate and begin to sing and crow happily.
In Santo Domingo I am staying in a hotel transformed from a former convent. Lovely place with good internet. Tomorrow I head north to Bilbao.
Day 12 summary (Thursday, June 16): Burgos – Santo Domingo de la Calzada, Spain
Day 12 distance: 68.18 km
Day 12 ascent: 457 meters
Weather: cold, cloudy, grey with a strong headwind
Distance: 928.92 km
Climbing: 6,875 meters
Number of rest days: 2
Number of police interactions: 1