Estella to Los Arcos
26.3 Kilometers – Over 16 miles
Sorry these paragraphs run together-Internet Connection in Los Arcos is bad
Some days it is fun being a pilgrim.
Today was one of those days. We were nearly skipping as the day began.
From the early morning breakfast at our amazing boutique hotel in Estella, Hospederia Chapitel, to enjoying a little wine at a public fountain, to moving closer and closer to an ancient castle built high above the town that it was supposedly built to protect.
We have learned an important measure for the Camino—the earlier you begin, the earlier you end each day. And with days like today, where high temperatures reached 95, the earlier you finish, the better.
We were eating breakfast before 8 am, and were on the path by 8:30.
The path from Estella leads higher through a couple of small suburbs, until Pilgrims are rewarded with the site of Bodega de Irache where Pilgrims can fill their bottles with free wine from a tap.
The Wine Fountain
The wine fountain was built in 1991, one side of the fountain features red wine, while the other tap is cold water.
Two plaques located at the fountain say:
“A beber sin abusar te invitamos con agrado. Para poderlo llevar el vino ha de ser comprado”. (“We are pleased to invite you to drink in moderation. If you wish to take the wine with you, you will have to buy it.”)
“Peregrino si quieres llegar a Santiago con fuerza y vitalidad de este gran vino echa un trago y brinda por la felicidad”. (“Pilgrim, if you wish to arrive at Santiago full of strength and vitality, have a drink of this great wine and raise a toast to happiness.”)
We stopped, filled our bottles with water and did taste the wine. We will say, it was not a great vintage.
But it was pretty cool.
It is a famous stop on the Camino.
As we left the suburbs and left the wine fountain behind we entered a new environment—forests. The shade from those trees were an entirely new event for us on the walk. It really felt like we were walking in northern Michigan.
We got silly in the forest.
The center of our fun was the enunciation of Spanish words.
The Spanish say words like they are spitting the words from their mouth.
Agua, the Spanish word for water isn’t said agua, it is AGUA!!! Like they hate agua.
The same for Buen Camino. The nearly knock you over with the force of the words when they say it.
Oh well…………..we had an hour’s entertainment on that subject.
Long before we stopped for water and Diet Coke at a small village named Ayegui, we could see in the distance, high above the valley, the appearance of an outcropping of rock.
We wondered about the possibility that it was another amazing cathedral, though, and asked our bar maid in Ayegui.
“It is Castillo de Monjardin, it overlooks Villamayor de Monjardin,” she exclaimed, as if everyone knew that.
“Oh, of course,” Jim stumbled.
We didn’t know the lore on this one, but an hour later when we were lounging in a bar inn Villamayor de Monjardin, we could see the castle from a much closer location. But, it was still probably a half-mile above us.
A local banker, also seated at the bar, tried his best to explain the history of the castle. Unfortunately he only spoke Spanish.
The photos show the great view that the Lord must have had from the castle and the extreme height upon which it set.
We have learned by a little research tonight that this castle was a Catholic stronghold against the Moors in the Ninth Century after the region was won by King Sancho Garces I.
Fortunately, Jim had a chance to sit down with Sancho in the town square. The photo shows that they have opposing views, however. Sancho looked to his right, while Jim looked to his left.
We loved Villamayor de Monjardin. Jackie bought fruit and a bracelet from a group of kids who had set up shop at the entry to town.
A beautiful church, the Iglesia de San Andres dominates the town.
We will be in Logrono tomorrow after a 12 to 15 mile walk, and we will enjoy a rest day the following day.
Temperatures are through the roof throughout Spain this week. Over 95 degree heat is predicted for the next two days.
We will try to start early.
Buen Camino……..We’re pooped.