Saturday, April 30, 2022

Day 7 - 29 April - Estella to Los Arcos

As UB40 famously sang:

Red, red wine, goes to my head                  

Makes me forget it’s usually five quid a glass.    

But here at the fountain it’s free. Free my arse. 

There ain’t any here                                              

I’ll stick to the beer

Back to Casa Carmen for breakfast this morning and thereafter we hit the road at just after eight o’clock. A forecast clear, crisp blue sky greeted us which meant shorts on, raincoat packed tightly away in the rucksack and a liberal sprinkling of factor fifty slapped all over the bonce. We strode out of Estella in the knowledge that one of the Camino’s iconic experiences awaited us; the wine fountain at the vineyards belonging to Bodegas Irache. Yes, can you believe it, adjacent to one of the plentiful drinking water fountains along The Way, there is a wine fountain, dispensing free red wine to thirsty travellers. Okay, they lock up access to the fountain at night but from 08.00 a.m. in the morning - free red wine. Wine. Free. Red wine. Good red wine. Mrs C likes her red wine. Tempranillo especially. Bodegas Irache make a good Tempranillo. Oh the anticipation. Mrs C approaches the tap, tentatively turns the tap and ……….. nothing. Bloody nothing. It’s quarter to nine in the morning and bloody nothing. Nada. Zilch. Some bugger’s had the bloody lot. Not a good start to the day.

Disappointed just doesn’t cut it. But we had no option other than to take it on the chin. On the bright side, at least it wasn’t beer.  

We had a thirteen mile walk ahead of us today with Los Arcos our destination and we opted for the scenic route option along the fringes of the Montejurra mountain. What a good decision. Wow! And a bit more wow. The scenery was spectacular. The most spectacular of the adventure so far. We ascended three hundred metres via gentle forest paths and mountain trails for two miles or so before descending gradually, over the next seven or eight miles, towards Los Arcos. We took provisions with which to sustain us before we reached our first re-fuelling stop in the tiny village of Luquin and thereafter to allow three rest stops en route, chosen mainly with spectacular outlooks in mind.

The final three miles or so into Los Arcos was via a wide, comfortable path through fields of vines, wheat and canola (rapeseed). All this oneness with nature could possibly turn me into a hippy. If only I had long hair. If only I had hair! I have however treated myself to a necklace which probably also counts?

We arrived in Los Arcos at around two o’clock. To make up for the wine fountain disappointment, we found a bar in a small square outside a church and sat in the sunshine drinking beer. After a brief lapse during which we departed said bar, we quickly rectified this mistake and returned for more beer and then food. Thereafter, we retired to our accommodation at a ridiculously early hour and my calculations suggest that we are hitting the sack approximately half an hour earlier each night. At this rate, we will be going to bed before we wake up by the time we get to Santiago.

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