A Drive through La Rioja to Parador Santo Domingo de La Calzada

After a stop in cold (warm in other ways) Pedrazza, and a break in Lerma, we headed towards our final destination for the day, to the Parador Santo Domingo de La Calzada. Santo Domingo de La Calzada is a small municipality in the La Rioja region. La Rioja region is well known for its wine, and we were hoping to tour some vineyards, but we were pretty late, and in the end we didn't even get to see any of them on our drive.

However, on the way to the Parador, we passed some of the farming country of La Rioja which when basked in the late light from the sunset, looked gorgeous.

The country side of La Rioja is pretty much all we could get while the light was out. We made our way through the dark meandering roads of the region, occasionally running into wondering cows from the near by farms - and eventually reached the Parador.

The town of Santo Domingo de La Calzada does not allow cars. You can go in there to drop off, and then be out of there. The Parador has special parking, so they allow you take your car into their own special lot. We were pretty thankful for that, because we were exhausted. We didn't really get to see anything at night, because the town pretty much shut down. 

The Parador itself is pretty cool. It's housed in a building that occupies a former 12th-century hospital near the cathedral, erected by St. Dominic to take in pilgrims traveling on the Camino de Santiago. It has a regal, elegant style, with majestic function rooms and a lobby filled with Gothic arches and wood coffered ceilings. We relaxed in the lobby for a bit and then it was off to the room for - room service! We ordered some of the traditional food of the region,  Pollo a la Riojana and Riojana Potato Soup and rested.

In the morning, we took a walk around town. The town is really small, and the main draw of the town is the Cathedral de Santo Domingo. This cathedral was built dedicated to Santo Dominic, who dedicated his life to this region. The town is a stop along the pilgrimage of Camino de Santiago, and during the summer it comes alive with all sorts of festivals and events. All along the streets, you'll also see the sign for the pilgrimage, to guide you along your way.