Estella to Los Arcos*

Apr 3. Day 8. 21.3 km. Departed at 0730 hours, arrived at 1340 hours.

This was a stage where we did some research online the night before. We had read about the elevation gain and found that there would be no services for about 12km after reaching Villamayor de Monjardin, necessitating getting more water, etc.

Elevation gain looks worse than actual; 270 meters gain only. The peak in the illustration is like a ‘bark‘, not a ‘bite’.

Once we got out of Estella, we were on trails, paralleling the main road for a bit. The unique attraction of this stage is stopping at the Fuente de Vino, which dispenses red wine, courtesy of Bodegas Irache. This is capped at 100 litres a day, first pours at 8am. We stopped for a sip. There is a museo vino for those interested.

Joon happily pouring into her scallop shell

About 200 meters before was a craftsman making iron sculptures. The weight of the bigger pieces will cause one to think twice.

Exhibition cum sales area

Furnace for sculpting

Initial impressions were that we needed to hike to the Summit. Fortunately, it was only partway to Villamayor de Monjardin.

Fortunately, the sole cafe at Villamayor de Monjardin was open at about 1030 hours, with a bathroom before the 11.7 km of countryside walking without any services! Needless to say, we stopped.

The walk after was essentially downhill and flat, with a few hill climbs. But nothing that required trekking poles.

Some guide books may label this stretch as time passing slowly as the scenery does not change much. It’s open countryside, few trees, wheat fields and a scattering of vine yards (after the winery).

It was an overcast day. My rain jacket functioned very much more as a wind breaker than a rain jacket. The cool weather encouraged one to walk too, to keep the body’s internal temperature up.

One could regard this stretch as most conducive for some inner contemplation. There’s no man made noise and for the largest part, no man made structures. We have met quite a few pilgrims who are walking to find themselves and/or ponder life’s questions on their minds. The scenery doesn’t change dramatically much for 10+ km, thus, one’s eyes will not be distracted. Having the rain jacket hood on, allows one to be immersed in one’s thoughts.

Looking back at where we walked from

Some color to the landscape

Generous spacing between pilgrims for contemplative reflection

Clouds were getting lower as the afternoon progressed. Fortunately, no rain showers at all.

It was overcast most of the day!

We found Mass will be celebrated at 2000 hours and we are looking forward to that.

The beautiful Church of Santa Maria, Los Arcos

A late dinner after Mass. Tomorrow will be a longish walk.

Author: Ben & Joon

Residents in the great Pacific North West. Living life as it happens, learning our purpose and trail blazing our own paths. Namaste.

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