Long before leaving the States we knew this would be a must see stop on our Camino Pilgrimage. We cut our stay in Pamploma short to make this visit happen and this turned out to be the perfect, right, fortuitous choice. Having been Cistercians it was a trip back in time to our roots, our patrimony. It was more ‘off the beaten track’ than we had thought with steep, curving climbs. To make the visit as relaxing as possible and to enable us to see the monastery in good light, we hired a taxi to take us there and then come back to pick us up. It seemed quite apropos that our driver’s name was Jesus Angel Matinez.

The monastery tells its own story, the ruins speak the voices of the past. So, we’ll let the pictures (with captions) tell you the story of Iranzu and why it was so special for us. Both of us swore we could still hear the pure sounds of Gregorian chant and prayer rising up from centuries past.

One end of the inner cloister walk.

Main cooking station in the monastery kitchen. If Fr. Adam, OCSO lived back in the time of Iranzu he would have been in charge of cooking for the monks in this kitchen… a far cry from Spencer!

More cloister walkway.

The monastery lavabo where monks washed their hands before and after meals.

Ed getting ready for dinner or so he imagined?!?!?!

View from inside the lavabo looking into the inner cloister grasses and pathways for prayer and meditation.

Some ruins left from original parts of the monastery. To the far left, back, is the monastery cemetery with original stone markers.

Chapter room where monks proclaimed their faults, or a brother monk proclaimed one for you or community votes took place.

Marc doing penance…

Vaulted ceilings of chapter room.

Main church, clear glass rosette and lancet windows which were so characteristic of Cistercian architecture, statue of Blessed Mother.

Far back end of the church again with clear glass rosette window.

Statue of St. Bernard of Clairvaux.

Ed not being irreverent but as ‘Jules’ would say “way beyond precocious”.

Small rosette window above double archway.

View from cloister walkway of the lavabo room and the inner cloister open spaces.

View outside of the entire Monastery complex

Main church entrance.

Our taxi driver Jesus Angel Matinez. Couldn’t have been a more gracious guide to Iranzu and through the surrounding mountains.