Friday, October 6, 2017


A very cold day!  A small bus took about 10 of us from the Hospederia up to the old monastery of Suso. It was a narrow road with hairpin bends, so only this bus is allowed. The  building incorporated the cave  where San Millan spent his life as a hermit.

The monastery was consecrated in 950. The architecture in Mozarabic style includes Moorish horseshoe arches. Surprisingly the columns in the nave do not appear to be constructed in a straight line. The "burial cave" has a preserved tombstone of the founder, made from black alabaster. It is said to be one of the finest Romanesque tombs in Spain.

Waiting for the bus to take us back down I chatted to a German woman from Hamburg. She told me about her hip replacement 18 months ago: horror of horrors, she was doing physio 6 weeks after surgery when it split open on the inside and she still has a hole in it: all the fault of her physiotherapist! Wow!

Back at the Hospederia, I asked them to call me a taxi. The cost was €42, but the alternative was to wait for the afternoon bus back to Najera, hang about for a connection and then get another bus to Santo Domingo.

Suso Monastery 

Looking down on the new monastery of Yuso

The guide talking in rapid Spanish

The nave

San Millan's cave

The burial cave


Mozarabic arches and tiles

The significance of Yuso is that it contains the earliest known examples of written Spanish. Around 1040, religious texts written in Latin, were not always easy to understand. People communicated on a daily basis in "Vulgar Latin" which would eventually become Spanish. This unrefined Latin was written beside the original as a gloss, or translation. The texts are known as the Glosses of San Millan.

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