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The walk out of Estella takes you up over a hill and from here you get your first view of the monastery at Irache. On the way up I spotted this Rosemary bush:
About 2km out of the center of Estella you reach the Fuente del Vino:
Here the wine literally flows – out of a tap in the wall – and it is basically a free-for-all; a gift to the pilgrims from the Bodegas Irache. I filled my bottle with a glassful, took a small sip, and then threw the rest away. I personally didn’t like it, but if you are new to wine then you might enjoy it more than I did. It’s a lovely idea, but I personally only drank the water which flowed out of the second tap. I wonder how many pilgrims make an unexpected and extended stop at this wine fountain, given that if you follow the stages then you reach the wine fountain in the early morning.
Steps from the wine fountain you can also view the stunning monastery (none of my photos served it any justice).
Shortly after Irache there is a fork in the path:
I took the path to the right and in the next village I met up with Mark, an Englishman who lives in the area. I ended up spending some time with him in his garden and having a lovely chat, which concluded in Mark giving me a copy of The Pilgrimage, by Paulo Coelho.
Mark and I said our goodbyes and I headed off along the path, taking these photos before sleeping out under the stars for the night:
A wonderful night’s sleep.
I awoke to the first light, hoping it would cut the cold of dusk:
In the middle of the countryside, I took my morning toilet; the preface pages of Coelho’s masterpiece doing a sufficient job in light of my having no toilet paper at hand.
The morning light was incredibly beautiful:
And arrival of course to Los Arcos; sat in the plaza with my coffee and watching the pilgrims walk past, with the strong smell of hashish in the air. Los Arcos is a lovely little town:
On the way in I picked up a spot of breakfast from a local shop:
For now It’s time to drink up my second coffee of the day and then head out into the sunlight and back on the Camino Frances path.