This very easy stage brings us close to the river Ebro, which will be our traveling companion from now on and during many stages. This being a short stage, we can quietly enjoy the beauty of the towns and villages through which we pass.
LAPUEBLA DE LABARCA: With more than 850 people, was founded in the year 1369 and has its origin in the boat that used to cross the Ebro River to connect the two provinces on its banks, Navarre and Castile. The church of the Assumption of Our Lady (16th cent.) used to receive all the passage money from the ship on Sundays and feasts of the Virgin. How ancient the production of wine is in the area can be seen in the neighborhood of Las Cuevas, where cellars dating from the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries are set into the hillock that rises west of the town. Here we can find restaurants, pharmacies, supermarkets and banks.
FUENMAYOR: It seems to have originated in a castle tower that could supervise the distribution of water for irrigation and the abundant spring from which the town derives its name, which means The Great Spring. In 1363 Fuenmayor was already a settled village, which had its own church and a certain number of inhabitants. In that year, the monastery of Santa María la Real (the Royal) sold the village of Fuenmayor, with its 27 neighboring homesteads to Navarrete. In 1521, during the Battle of Pavia, Charles V defeated and captured the French king, Francis I. A certain Antonio de Leyva, the one who made the French king prisoner and a native of Fuenmayor, won new privileges for the town. It is good wine country, which is reflected in its monument to grapes, in front of the church of Santa Maria (16th cent.). The church tower was destroyed and rebuilt in 1981. We can find here restaurants, pharmacies, supermarkets and banks.
NAVARRETE: a city famous for its pottery workshops and the scene of battles between Castile and Navarre. Built on a hill, the houses with their coats of arms show the importance of the town, where the Dukes of Najera had a palace. King Alfonso VIII of Castile asked the villagers to gather around the fort to protect and defend its borders from the kingdom of Navarre. In 1482 the Catholic Monarchs granted the noble title of Duke of Najera to the father of Duke Antonio Manrique de Lara (also viceroy of Navarre from 1515 to 1535), who knew Ignacio de Loyola very well., Ignacio came to the Duke’s palace in Navarrete to settle an outstanding account with him when he was on his way to Montserrat. The parish church of the Assumption is built in stone, with three vaulted naves. Its construction was begun in 1553 by Juan Vallejo and Hernando de Mimenza, and there were masons of the caliber of Juan Pérez de Solarte and Pedro de Aguilera, who finished it in 1645. We can see an altarpiece of Saint Francis Xavier in the transept, the work of Brother Matias de Irala (from Madrid) which he painted in 1720. In Navarrete we may meet pilgrims on the so called “French Way” to St. James in Compostella. There is a wide choice of restaurants, pharmacies, supermarkets and banks.