Traveling the world, learning languages, and immersing myself in new cultures.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Castillo de Javier and Monasterio de Leyre

Synopsis: Virginia and Leo recommend a day trip to Castillo de Javier and Monestario de Leyre. Arthuur and Rodrigo are at their grandparents' house so it's just Gonzalo with us.

We head first to Monastery De Leyre. Leo and I pay 2,75€ for the crypt, which takes like 28 seconds to see. But, Leo and I are goofing off and taking pics and having fun. We walk around the monastery grounds for free, so Virginia and Gonzalo join us. The monastery is surrounded by breathtaking scenery and mountains and a lake. We walk into the church part, and a mass is in progress. After seeing the whole monastery in about 45 minutes, we leave to go to Castillo de Javier.

First thing you see when walking to the castle from the parking lot is a spectacular view. It's like a miniature castle, maybe the smallest castle I've been to in Europe. It's 2,75€ to enter the castle, which is effectively a museum dedicated to San Francisco Javier. Upon entering are a series of dioramas depicting Saint Javier's life. He was a missionary to India, Japan and China, so there are also some Oriental artifacts inside. Apparently, he was the first missionary to Japan. We make our way up to the top of the castle and go outside, and we're greeted by biting cold wind despite beautiful sunny weather. After ascending to the top, you simply descend and walk out the castle, but not before stopping by the small jail by the entrance, that shows just how cruel prisoners were treated back in the day.

We arrived at noon and there was no line. We leave around 13h and there are twenty people in line. Head to the church next door with mass going on and notice the same architecture from monastery.

On the drive home I can see the signs for Camino de Santiago, the pilgrimage some people taking in the warmer months, and it seems like it would be pretty cool. We stop in the city of Lombiers and eat at a cafe. We spend more time waiting for the waitress to bring us and then pick up the check, than we did waiting for the food. 

Approaching the city of Javier

The Monastery

Day trippers!

Just amazing scenery

Headstand in the crypts

Quite a busy day at church

Having too much fun

I'm so happy to be here

Say cheese
Saint Javier y yo

Japanese Jesus

Not sure what these were but they were all along the route from the Castle

The signs for the Camino de Santiago

Final Thoughts: So many great places to see in my new backyard. I am excited to explore them and thanks to my friend, Anya, who gave me a book on the "Back Roads of Spain", I'll be able to discover those secret nuggets. I learned that the 'Autopista' you have to pay for, while the 'Autovia' is free.

Location: 31411 Javier, Navarra, Spain


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