Stage 7: Estella to Los Arcos

16 Sep 2019 – 22Kms

I got an early start out of Estella after the standard “pilgrim menu breakfast” (toast, butter, jam, orange juice, and coffee – no protein – for 3 Euros) and we climbed steadily out of town.

I now have large blisters on both feet and after a short while it feels like the soles of my boots are paper-thin. The trail surface does not help – packed dirt with lots of sharp rocks sticking up.

Today a lovely Rose was on offer

Not far from Estella, I came to the famous Irache Wine Fountain, provided for pilgrims by the Irache Monastery. Free wine, right beside the Camino path! Pity it was 8:30am – I just had a taste. Lovely bouquet.

In addition to official Camino route markers and signs, I’m guided by a series of yellow arrows. These were originally painted by a parish priest and Camino devotee named Don Elias Sampedro. In 1984, he put in motion his mission to rescue, clean, and mark the trails along the Camino. I wouldn’t have been able to negotiate my way through small towns, past rural crossroads, and across major highways without these arrows, which appear on sidewalks, streets, walls, rocks, and more.

My feet were killing me when I arrived in Los Arcos, so I hobbled over to a nearby farmacia for advice and supplies. Their suggestions help but I remain very concerned about my feet.

There’s not much to Los Arcos, described as “having a population of 1,200 and declining”. I put myself into a pension, essentially a B&B but with a pilgrim menu breakfast. I ate dinner nearby and shared a table with a young couple from Utah – they were walking 32Kms per day! Too ambitious for me but let’s see what tomorrow brings.

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