Day 11 – Lorca to Estella

  • Distance today: 5.9mi
  • Distance Camino 2017: 71.5 mi

The walk this morning, starting at 6:45, was very pleasant… cool, partly cloudy, slight breeze… and it’s mid-August in Spain!!!

After 3 miles we stopped for cafe con leche and sweet rolls in Villatuerta (pop. 1122). A group of pilgrims from Italy also stopped for coffee. We chatted with a guy from the group, probably in his early 50’s and discovered that this was his 12th Camino! He said it gave him energy for life and it was a way to spiritually give thanks for his happy life. His wife was walking with him but it wasn’t clear if she had walked with him on all 12. He had also visited the USA in 2010 to run the New York marathon.

Continuing on, we walked across another Roman bridge in the town, passed the Iglesia de la Asunción then left the paved streets and rejoined the dirt path of the Camino. A few hundred yards out of town, we passed Ermita de San Miguel, took some photos and moved on.

About a mile from Estella, we passed a small farm and a cute pony came over to the fence to greet us so we returned the favor with a photo for all you horse 🐴 lovers.

A friendly pony came out to greet some pilgrims

A short while later we began sharing the Camino with some other pilgrims and some local dog walkers, not unlike our morning walks back in South Carolina.

Pilgrims and local dog walkers sharing Camino just outside Estella

As we walked into old Estella we stopped at the Iglesia de Santiago Sepulcro for photos, then crossed the bridge known in the Middle Ages as “Berçes Bridge” into the burgh of San Miguel.

A Spanish lady asked Jim if he was lost (he was wandering aimlessly, waiting for Linda to catch up) and he assured her in his best Spanish that he was merely waiting for “mi espousal”. She asked where we were from and when Jim said USA, she immediately began speaking good English, explaining that this week was the big annual festival celebration in Estella.

This festiveness was confirmed as we walked further and noticed that most of the people we saw of all ages were in costume consisting of white top, white pants, red bandana and an occasional red sash tied around the waist and hanging down one leg.

North portal of Iglesia de San Miguel

We stopped for a quick photo of Iglesia de San Miguel, a fortress-like 12th century church with a spectacular north portal.

On we walked to Pencion Cristina, located on Iglesia San Juan Bautista Square, which just happened to be the center of the festival activities!

Our room wasn’t ready until 11:00 so we killed an hour, pilgrim style by stopping at the nearby sweets shop and bought some sweets and got chocolate to break the chill in the air.

Got chocolate and sweets in nearby restaurant while waiting for our room.

The rest of the day was spent with chores, mixing with the Estellians as they enjoyed the festivities, eating and still finding time for a short nap.

We also observed the Estella “running of the bulls” from our room balcony.

Estella festival features running of the bulls… seen from our 3rd floor room balcony.

Nothing short of an incredible day on the Camino.

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