DAY 7: August 30, Puente la Reina to Estella (23km)
Puente la Reina is one of the most emblematic places on the Camino Frances as well as being a town founded for and by the Camino route. There are four roads leading to Santiago de Compostele and they all come together in Puente la Reina. Our hotel was one of the towers of the town wall. Our hosts were the loveliest couple who offered us COLD, freshly squeezed lemonade when we arrived tired and parched. All the villages and towns along the Camino are charming with their stone houses, cobblestone streets and beautiful flower boxes, but Puente la Reina is one of the loveliest. We would have liked to have remained longer but the Camino does beckon you onward. The countryside is now vineyards and olive groves and almond orchards. The villages along the
Camino have many private vegetable gardens and the larger towns have community gardens. Primarily tomatoes,sweet red peppers. sweet onions, and artichokes are the crops. The food in this part of Spain is not spicey at all and very good. However, the custom is to eat late (2000) and there are two large courses plus dessert. We have learned that two pintxos (tapas) make a good meal.
Just outside of Estella we stopped at Ermitage de San Miguel. What remains of the 1000 year old church is only the nave. It has been abandoned and weeds surround it. What compelled us to go there we do not know. This plain stone structure was so cool and peaceful. A sense of calm surrounded us. On the stone altar were pebbles, notes, and pictures left by pilgrims before us. We felt a sense of reverence and a connection to the meaning of the Camino.