Cloister in Los Arcos on the Camino de Santiago

Cloister in Los Arcos on the Camino de Santiago

Monday, May 30, 2011

The Church at los Arcos

Day Nine – The Church of Santa Maria – Los Arcos

I wondered how such a small and humble town could boast a church so magnificent that it could be mistaken for cathedral. It turns out that there's a reason and the reason is money – as always. Previously Los Arcos marked the end of the Kingdom of Navarra and taxes were raised for traders entering and leaving the kingdom. The people of Los Arcos prospered and so did the Church. Subsequently the border moved 20km down to road to Viana – tomorrows’ destination – where an equally impressive church (well almost) has been built. It was good to reflect that taxes serve some purpose.

We had several beers and rock shandies in the square beside the Church/Cathedral. We checked into the delightful but bizarrely named Hotel Monaco and reduced the water table a few inches more. Smelling sweetly we visited the Church of Santa Maria where two local Ladies could not have been more helpful. From their little table at the back of the Church they dispensed pamphlets and smiles. They brought to our attention to marvellous gallery housing the organ and cloister. I spent some happy tranquil minutes in clositer facing the setting sun. The reclining sun made lovely patterns on the cloister wall and lit the garden roses with evening sunlight.

The pilgrim meal in the hotel Monaco was first class in terms of quality and price. The friendly waiter gave us the present of five shells which we had to hide in a bed room cupboard the following day. We hoped our biggest tip so far would overcome any disappointment on finding our secret cache of shells in years to come.

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