Day 13 – Villamayor to Los Arcos

  • Distance today: 8.5 mi
  • Distance Camino 2017: 86.5mi

To begin our day, we needed to take a taxi from Estella to Villamayor de Monjardin to rejoin the Camino where we finished yesterday. However, at 7:15 a.m. there were no taxi’s to be found in the city of Estella!

We started out by walking to the bus station (estacion), where no one was to be found. We finally found a bus ticket clerk, who essentially said she didn’t do taxi’s, so it was apparent she wouldn’t help us. So we began walking, picking up the Camino through town, hoping to find some help. When we were on the edge of town, Linda stopped a lady and asked how we could get a taxi. The lady mentioned the bus station but Jim said there was nothing there. She then took out her cellphone and did searches and made at least 8 phone calls with no answers!! Finally she asked if we would walk with her and we said sure and Jim thanked her for being so nice.

We ended up walking back into town to a police station where the lady approached an officer at the desk and apparently complained about there being no taxi service for these poor pilgrims (Jim tried to look as helpless as possible to give credibility to our rescuer.) When the officer seemed clueless she confronted him again and apparently was given a number to call. We followed her out to the street as she made another call, hung up and then explained to us (very clearly, I’m sure, if we only knew more Spanish) that someone would be here to take us wherever we wanted. We thanked her and she wished us “buen Camino” as she walked away.

In less than 2 minutes a white van with some type of municipal logo on it pulled up to us on the curb, a driver got out, helped us put our packs into the vehicle and after we were in the van, asked if the charge of 13€ to Villamayor was ok. Jim enthusiastically said “si”, since our taxi drive from Villamayor to Estella yesterday was 25€!

Ten minutes later at 7:50 a.m., we were back on the Camino walking out of Villamayor de Monjardin.

The weather was kind to us again today. Even though we started an hour later with the sun already rising overhead, the heat was not a factor with a slight breeze in 60’s.

The Camino today was all dirt path, mostly flat with only a few gradual elevation changes.

We walked almost entirely along grain fields and vineyards. We’re a bit early for grape harvests and the blackberries are still bitter, so free morning fruit snacks are yet to come.

There were no bars or services between Villamayor and Los Arcos, so we ate a sandwich (purchased last night) for breakfast, as we walked. By 10:45 a.m., our legs and feet were letting us know that it was about time to stop for the day, as we entered the small town of Los Arcos (pop.1244) after walking 8 miles without a break.

 

Los Arcos occupies an ideal location by the Río Odrón and at the crossroads of two ancient trade routes, and was once a Roman city (Curnonium). The current name comes from a battle in 914 when three Sanchos (the kings of Navarra, Castilla and Aragon) fought over the town. The Navarran army won with the help of their excellent archers, therefore the coat of arms of the city contains bows (arcos) and arrows. In medieval times, the city was a place for toll collection and changing money. Los Arcos flourished as a market town, becoming quite wealthy with all this pilgrim commerce.

We found a table in the town Plaza next to the Iglesia de Santa María de la Asunción and had a belated cafe con leche and tostadas for breakfast while we waited for the albergue to open after 12:30.

Jim located our targeted albergue and it looked a bit too shabby, especially for 46€ with a shared showers and 🚽 and it was also located just outside the town and away from the Plaza, where all the “action” and services were. So he walked around the Plaza looking for an alternative and found Pencion Mavi only 20 steps from the Plaza, with a private bathroom for 50€… so we moved in at 12:10.

(“Reserving” a place in most accommodations along the Camino is not guaranteed by either party. Only a name is given and if the room is not claimed by noon or in some cases by 2 pm, it’s first come first served. So it is not necessary to cancel a “reservation” if plans change, consequently, no one will be deprived of a room if we don’t show)

We washed all our dirty clothes today and hopefully they will be dry in the morning, in spite of the lower temperature, less wind and limited direct sunshine on our room balcony.

At a little passed 5 pm and just prior to an evening service, we visited St Mary’s Church.  We gasped as we entered one of the largest and most beautiful churches on the Camino Frances. The wooden floors and multitude of wooden carvings created a warm and inviting ambiance in the midst of such extraordinary artwork.

Photos cannot begin to transmit what we saw, but here is an attempt at sharing it with you.

Clothing clean and dry, tummies full from tasty pilgrim’s dinner in the Plaza in the warm afternoon sun,

Pilgrim dinner in Los Arcos Plaza- Jim cleaned his plate, Linda left only chicken bones and a few fried potatoes.

we retired to our room to conclude another wonderful day on the Camino Frances.

 

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