Day 10: Estella to Los Arcos

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Another glorious morning.

Distance to go: 673.1 Kms

This was a slog today. Not because the terrain was particularly difficult but the sun was again so hot. It got up to 31C today and it was energy sapping. We knew it would rise but the forecast was for 28C……only.

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Our breakfast stop. A rock in the forest.

We both slept ok last night in the municipal albergue. We were woken at 4am by the really early birds getting up and rustling about and by 5am we thought we might as well get up and get on with it. The sun rises at 6am so I dont see the point in leaving in the dark as I want to see whats going on. I understand that some want to leave so early to beat the midday heat but there is a balance that needs to be met as well.

We left at 0630 and made our way through the rather non descript northern sunburns of Estella and made our way to the Bodega Irache where a fountain of water sits beside a fountain of wine. Yes, you read correctly. Tradition has it that pilgrims are allowed a free glass of wine to fortify themselves for the travels ahead. I did not partake. It was still only 7am. My legs were to see me through a few more Kms yet.

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Left tap Vino Tinto, right sap Agua. Your choice.

We passed the stunning monastery Irache and out into the open countryside. At this time of the morning it is simply gorgeous; cool, and bright.

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Villamayor church

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King Sancho Garces I, bust in Villamajor

After a fairly easy walk we passed through the village of Azqueta and replenished our water bottles at the village ‘Fuente’ before starting the climb up to Villamayor de Monjardin. That got the heart pumping again but on arrival at the village you see a simply beautiful place with an amazing little cafe. Here we stopped for a spanish omelette and a cup of tea. Food of the Gods.

Now we had a walk of 8.7 Kms with no water available until our destination at Los Arcos so we topped of our bottles and set out. This was a really tough stretch. We passed alongside fields of barley, rows of vines and not much else. There was zero shade and the sun was hot…..Damn hot.

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Thirsty work.

By the time we got to Los Arcos our bottles were dry, our feet were really hot and we both ached. I found this day to be one of the hardest yet just because of the heat and lack of shade. The heat coming of the gravel roads really worked your feet hard and made your face hot. With no breeze it was quite uncomfortable. We were both glad to get to Los Arcos.

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Entrance to Los Arcos and home for the night

We arrived at 2pm to find our first and second choice of accommodation already full so we splashed out on a pension, pronounced penseeon so we could get the dirt of the road out of us and relax after the day.

We then joined our walking friends in the main square for a dinner al fresco and a cold beer. Delicious.

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Dinner with our walking friends.

It’s our wedding anniversary tomorrow so as a treat we are going to send our packs ahead to our next destination by car and walk with water and food only to give our feet a rest after today.

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A soggy dog.

Finally my dog of the day is a dog walking with its owners. The dog got hot too and has just had a dip in a cooling pool. We were all very envious.

Distance walked today: 21 Kms

Mark Dexter 2015