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El Camino: Day 6 (Estella to Los Arcos)

Posted on 19 September 2012 by brett

Bodegas Irache Winery

Red wine and water fountain of Bodegas Irache Winery (1891)

Is it ever too early in the morning to drink wine in Spain? A few kilometers from Estella lies Bodegas Irache’s fountain of wine. It was 8:30 in the morning but we couldn’t pass up the opportunity to drink from the magical fountain of wine. The fountain was installed in 1991 for thirsty pilgrims on their way to Santiago. The inscription on the fountain says, “Pilgrim, if you want to arrive in Santiago with strength and vitality, drink a mouthful of this great wine and overflow with happiness!” Bodegas Irache Winery has been in operation sine 1891, but the vineyards of Irache have existed since before the 12th century and are closely linked to the nearby Irache Monastery. Interestingly, there is a live webcam pointing at the fountain enabling anyone to see pilgrims in “real time”…indulging in their red wine at Bodegas Irache Wine Fountain.

Navarrean vineyards

Grape tasting in Navarrean vineyards

Continuing on a beautiful country trail for 7 kilometers, we made our way to Villamayor de Monjardin. Upon approaching the village, we spotted San Esteban de Deyo Castle (formerly a Muslim fortress) perched high on the mountaintop. We thought for a second about the hour climb to the top, but quickly came to our senses as we remembered the 12 kilometers ahead to Los Arcos. We whizzed past the 12th century Romanesque Iglesia de San Andres, and departed from the other side of Villamayor. Continue Reading

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El Camino: Day 5 (Puente la Reina to Estella)

Posted on 18 September 2012 by christie

Puente de la Reina Bridge

Puente de la Reina Bridge

The weather forecast was grim with predictions of midday rain. Therefore, we left Puente de Reina early this morning. The Calle Mayor led us past the St. Mary’s Cathedral and over the Puente la Reina Bridge out of town. The steep ascent to Maneru began immediately. Five tough kilometers later we crossed the town through Calle Forzosa.

The change in the terrain became clear as we strolled through vineyards, olive trees and farmland for the next three kilometers. We approached the old hilltop village of Cirauqui. We could have easily gotten lost in the medieval labyrinth if not for the clear Camino shell markings leading the way. Upon descending from the village we found more sweeping views of the Navarran countryside, as well as a passage over an old Roman bridge. Continue Reading

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