The monastery has been partially rehabilitated into an albergue for pilgrims, and it is here that pilgrims were served garlic soup by the monks; a tradition that continued up to recent times. If you have never spent the night in a room full of pilgrims that have eaten garlic soup for dinner, you have not lived.
The church has been restored and is a popular place for weddings. Twice a year (the 20th of March and the 23rd of September, both equinoxes) at around 5pm, light shines through one of the windows to illuminate one of the capitals, moving from the Anunciation to the birth of Christ.
Ignore the information board when leaving San Juan de Ortega. It is incorrect and may trick you into taking the wrong road to Castañares. Continue straight along the camino that heads back into the forest.
The communities surrounding San Juan holds a small pilgrimage (a romería) to the church every 2nd of June.
Contrary to popular belief, the village is not the birthplace of San Juan, he was born 20km away in the town of Quintanaortuño (north of Burgos). He was the disciple of Santo Domingo, and together they built many of the roads and bridges between here and Nájera. He earned the name Ortega, which...