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Camino – Los Arcos (Day 9)

Date: Wed 15th May
Distance: 23km
Temperature: Cold with slight precipitation
Mood: Good
Left: Estella 8:45am
Arrived: Los Arcos 2:15pm
Santiago de Compostela: 654Km

After a very enjoyable laid back rest day with a little sight seeing and giving an Irish couple directions to their Hotel as they wandered in looking a little lost (then bumping into them again out for dinner). It was time to prepare for the next leg of our journey.

Weather forecast looked grim. Storm front came through around 10pm and rain forecast for the next week.

Hit the road around 8:45am (not too bad for us!). Whilst cold, it really is good walking weather as long as the rain holds off. Fortunately it did, with only a light sprinkling to give our wet weather jackets a tickle.

The scenery didn’t disappoint, but just not as photographic without the blue Spanish skies. Unfortunately a photo cannot capture and excite all the sensors. It misses out on the freshness of a cool breeze as it blows across the new growth of a velvet lime green wheat field giving the appearance of rolling waves. The birds chattering and singing, the crunch of gravel underfoot and the waft of cow dung hanging in the air!

We only take a quick rest break in Azqueta for a Cafe con leche and bumped into Leah, a fellow pilgrim we have been constantly bumping into since starting our Camino.

We pushed on to Villamayor and popped our heads into the 12th century San Andrés Church where a clergyman took delight in explaining what appeared to be a very special solid silver crucifix of course all in Spanish! But it did earn us a Selos! (A stamp that Pilgrims collect along the way proving that they have in fact walked the way!) Note: after some additional research, we discover that the special silver crucifix is a processional cross from the 10th Century, called the Cruz de Monjardin!

We arrived in Los Arcos shortly after 2pm. This is usually a good hour to secure a bed for the night before all the Albergues fill up, but not so in this town. All bar one were full and the only one with a vacancy, you wouldn’t even let your beloved dog sleep there (even if it were called Coco!). So it was either continue walking until we find something or go up market to hotel accommodation once more. (It’s funny how I never get any complaints from the other half when I have to break the news). It appears that the Camino is carrying an unusually high number of Pilgrims this year and accommodation is scarce. As we were hunting a young Pilgrim was looking for his accommodation that had been prebooked as he had learned the hard way earlier when he had to sleep on the bathroom floor! This Camino could get interesting (or very expensive!)

After a nice long hot shower, we visit the local Church Iglesia de Santa Maria del Los Arcos and finish off with a 3 course meal with a couple of glasses of Vino Tinto (who said we didn’t drink Red Wine?)

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A local winery provides Pilgrims with free wine on tap!

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A bush toilet! Just what one needs along the way, especially when there are no public toilets!

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