Stage 5: Estella to Los Arcos (Curtis’ report)

This may be a brief one this evening, as we are staying in a private pilgrim’s refuge in Los Arcos tonight and the owner has been kind enough to allow me to use his computer to log this entry. We’ll see if Cheryl and Linda can get something up as well, but if not, there’s always tomorrow.

I am just amazed at the way the weather has held for the first five days of the walk. We had another day of marvellous sunshine and moderate temperatures for our walk today, which commenced around 8.00 from our hotel in Estella; by 2.00 p.m. we had all rolled up in Los Arcos and were done for the day. Groovy movie, as my friend Francesca usually says.

Linda and Cheryl and a little morning tipple ...

We walked together out of Estella; I showed Linda and Cheryl the wine fountain at the Irache winery across the road from the monastery of Irache. We snapped a quick photo there, though I didn’t actually see either of them trying the local vintage. There, at least … Linda and I have been working our way through a few bottles over the past several days, and she has formed quite a favorable opinion of the local vintage. Even Cheryl, who normally doesn’t partake but whose husband is apparently quite a connoisseur, has tried a bit and not found it wanting, shall we say.

Once past Ayegui, we opened up our strides and got the day’s walk rolling. I think it’s fair to say that Cheryl is the member of our group most unaccustomed to long walks in the hills and mountains, but she has adapted marvellously and made excellent time today.

The approach to Monjardin

I lost sight of her in Monjardin, where I stopped for about 45 minutes to take advantage of the fact that the Church of San Andrés was open to step inside and say my rosary, and afterwards to get my credential stamped at the parish albergue and have another coffee at the bar. This meant that Cheryl, who was behind me, moved well ahead of me on the 12 kilometer stretch between Monjardin and Los Arcos, and although I caught up to and passed her about 2 kilometers outside of our destination, she was truckin’ … makin’ good time and lookin’ fine!

I think the only negative in today’s walk was seeing the number of pilgrims who seem quite oblivious to the damage they do to the locals’ livelihoods when they decide to just stride into someone’s orchard or vineyard and start pulling figs and grapes off the vines and eating them. I got cross enough to say something to a couple of them at one point, despite the “I don’t understand Spanish” bit, but pointing and barking seemed to get the idea across well enough. Yeah, that’s me, “Camino cop”; but really, how hard can that be to understand?

Cheryl decided that what she really wanted at the end of her walk was a good siesta, so Linda and I headed off for lunch at a nearby restaurant, after which I came back for my siesta, a bit of laundry and some blog updating.