Thursday, September 6, 2012

Estella to Los Arcos (Sep 4th)

We were not sure about the destination for the day because the closer town of Villatuerta was quite a short walking distance away while the next at Los Arcos was a good 20+ km hike.

Just in case we have a long day, we started at 7am while it was still dark, stopping for coffee and toast at a bakery in town. The ascent after leaving Estella was rather steeper climb than we expected, but we soon forgot about the pain on arriving at the small village of Irache, for it was famous for its wine fountain generously maintained by the Bodegas winery. A small crowd of pilgrims had already gathered around it when we arrived, some filling up their drinking bottle with red wine, a somewhat doubtful thirst quencher.

Wine on the tap.

The day was good for walking because of cloudy skies and cool breeze and before we knew it we were at Villaturta at an embarrassingly early hour of 10.30am.  With the prospect of having to spend the rest of the day in this hilltop village of a dozen houses, we decided to push on.  As it turned out it wasn´t that difficult and we reached Los Arcos before 4pm, and checked into the first albergue that we came to at the edge of this small town, one with Austrian connections, run by young volunteers including some English speakers. The furnishing of place was very basic, but they managed to fit in a double bed in the room that we booked (only rooms can be booked, while dormitory beds are on first come first served basis). Conveniently for us, there was a balcony where we could hang out our washings.

It seemed that the pilgrims serve this village well for shops and restaurants around the town square a hundred metres away were open even outside of the normal siesta hour. A win-win situation for all.

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