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Just 28 minutes from the airport we settle into our first hotel the Parador Olite to recover from the long flight over. This marks the start of our journey down the French Camino de Santiago route! Three star hotel in a medieval castle in the Pyrenees region.The former Kingdom of Navarra has had a very turbulent past. The area used to be inhabited by the Vascons but they were driven northwards by the Moors and are the ancestors of the present day Basques. Charlemagne drove out the Moors in 778 but later that year was driven back which is the subject of the twelfth century French epic "The Song of Roland". France regained control later. The three hundred years from 1234 were particularly turbulent as the Navarrese noblemen tried to regain independence. The French were finally defeated with the help of the King of Castile in 1512 when it became part of Spain. Restaurant at Olite Parador: The castle was rebuilt by King Carlos III of Navarra and was his summer residence until his death in 1425. Later his grandson, the Prince of Viana, lived in the castle. During the Napoleonic wars it suffered sever damage and was restored to its former glory about one hundred years ago. This Parador occupies one wing of this castle which has been declared a National Monument by the government. The decor of the interior maintains the medieval atmosphere, in particular the main salon, which is delightful with an enormous fireplace and large wrought iron chandeliers. In a niche, there is a suit of armor and reliable reports say that it no longer has a knight inside! There are very beautiful stained glass windows on the staircase and in the dining room and arcades with rugs, wrought iron lamps and wooden covered ceilings.
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