Cloister in Los Arcos on the Camino de Santiago

Cloister in Los Arcos on the Camino de Santiago

Monday, May 30, 2011

Good goods in small parcels - Los Arcos - a little gem

Day Nine - 24th May - Estella to Los Arcos
21km (23km adjusted for climb) – we run out of superlatives

We left the functional hotel El Yerri and made our way back to the centre of Estella before crossing the river and joining the Camino as it climbed out of the substantial town.

It took a good 20 minutes to escape the suburbs but not before I managed to photo the 666km point on the camino supported perhaps appropriately by a local beer company.

The first stop was Irache where pilgrims could avail of water or wine for free. Barry visited the Church at Irache – which we missed, got a seal, which we also missed and declared the free wine to be of a very ordinary grade – so no such thing as a free lunch -even on the camino, I suppose. We met two Dutch cyclists who had cycled from Holland. Fraser was in his element as they discussed gears and spokes.

I managed to stay with Fraser's pace until Villamayor de Monjardin. Here sensible pilgrims had lunch but I was too hot and bothered and so I asked for a rock shandy. The waitress hesitated at the thought of mixing lemon and orange together but eventually overcame her reluctance. This was to be a continuing theme throughout the rest of our trip as we brought to the locals the beneficial effects of a rock shandy. Doubt and disbelief gave away to smiles and laughter.

After lunch I swapped Barry for the Spanish pilots who continued their English classes. Their company certainly shortened a beautiful but uneventful walk into Los Arcos. It is perhaps the least celebrated entrance to any town anywhere. The main street starts as a dingy alleyway. But persistence pays off and at the end of the town there is a delightful square in front of the marvelous church of Santa Maria.

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