DAY 9: September 1, Estella to Los Arcos (23km)
We cross the Rio Ega leaving Estelle on our way to Los Arcos. Just a few kilometres down the road we stop at the monastery and winery, “Fuente del Vino” of Bodegas de Irache. The attraction is a double fountain which delivers cold water from one spout and very good wine from the other. You can fill up your bottle with either at no cost—a little pilgrims’ privilege. Despite it being morning, Mutti tries the wine but does not fill her bottle with it…..The walk is not too arduous, the least vertical so far. However, the day is hot and there is not a breath of a breeze. At 9 km we reach the last village enroute until our destination which is still 14 km down the road. The temperature is 33°C. We buy drinks and replenish our water supply and reapply our sunscreen and head into the unknown. Out of nowhere we hear English being spoken and a young (50’s) couple appears. They are delightful despite his feet being a mess of blisters. The final 14 km pass quickly, the good conversation diverting us from thoughts of the distance yet to go and the heat. This is the special companionship of the Camino. For a moment in time you share of yourself and what you have. Even though we are not staying in the albergues, which does exclude us from some of the camaraderie of the Camino ( we are also excluded from bedbugs, no hot water, lack of privacy and snoring:-), as pilgrims we are still a part of the grand journey. When a pilgrim stops to rest others passing offer a greeting and inquire as to their well being. This concern of strangers for strangers is quite wonderful. Sharing and help are unconditional along the Camino. It seems to bring out the best in people.
We arrive in Los Arcos —Dad is weary. Mutti is exhausted.
Our companions along this way were marathoners and the pace we walked with them was probably too fast for us. Our few hours with them enriched our lives, so it is all good.
We will sleep well tonight!