Estella, Irache, Sansol

The days and towns are blurring into one sunny, sensory-packed whole as we trek our way across northern Spain. We have already traveled over one hundred miles (48.7 miles in just the past three days), and our blog posts are not keeping up with our feet. The albergues have wifi, but the downloading and uploading of posts take a great deal of time and are sometimes not possible.

Judi and I have been feeling great with only one small blister each, hiking far, and having so many experiences. We wish we could share every one, but we’ll just give you a taste of our highlights.

In Estella, an elderly man walked about a quarter of a mile out of his way to bring us to an albergue with a vacancy. Kindness abounds here.

A modern albergue in Estella which has been built onto a Medieval structure

This September has seen a larger than usual influx of pilgrims on the Camino. We have met people from such exotic places as the Canary Islands and Panama. Rumors have circulated that “there are no rooms anywhere” as we approach some cities, but we have found by experience that “the Camino provides.” We get up early and walk in the cool of the morning, arrive early, and find a bed.

We are traveling through the Rioja, the wine-producing district of Spain. We walk through vineyards with rows after rows of grapevines heavily laden with bountiful grapes, so dark purple that they are nearly black. Interspersed are trees with slender leaves and green olives, and above our heads are cloudless, azure skies.

The celebrated wine fountain outside of Estella – This fountain dispenses more than a hundred liters of wine a day to thirsty pilgrims.

After Estella, we felt we deserved a short day of walking so we checked into a camping village in Irache where we rented half of a tiny cottage and felt decadent and pampered as we sat outside on the porch and watched the twilight descend into night and the stars appear.

Leaving early in the morning has such advantages: watching the sun rise and capturing the sight of Medieval buildings bathed in the morning light.

In the dawn’s early light

Our next day of hiking brought us past Los Arcos to an albergue in Sansol with all the comforts of home: washer, dryer, and hot food. Life is good, and I even had a chance to write in my journal.


7 thoughts on “Estella, Irache, Sansol”

  1. A magical fountain that dispenses wine? That sounds like a Chuck-worthy pilgrimage destination to me! For obvious wine-related reason, I wish I could join you on this leg of the journey thorough La Rioja. Rioja wine was actually my gateway into the “fine wine” world. Rioja and other Spanish wines will always have a special place in my heart.

    It’s great to see your updates. Keep ’em coming, even if you throw in some quick one or two sentence updates in between the the detail-rich “big” updates! It looks like you’ve got some mid-70’s weather tomorrow. I’m sure that is a relief!

    Safe travels! Rory, Kelly, and I are all thinking about you often, mum!

  2. At the rate of 16 miles/day you will do the balance in just 25 days, unreal! Enjoy the pics especially loved the wine fountain, wine is the drink of life in Europe. Fall is just beginning in Candia, cooler weather and trees stating to turn.
    Chris and I send our good wishes!

  3. Do you feel like you are on the other side of the globe? What do the night stars look like compared to New Hampshire? What does the air smell like? What about the background ambient sounds?

  4. Just love the updates, eloquent writing and photos. You are both amazing; what an educational trek and I love the descriptors of the people you meet along the way. Until next time…

  5. Your beautiful words and amazing pictures are giving those of us following your pilgrimage such a lovely taste of your adventure. Your enjoyment and sense of adventure come through in every entry. Wishing you fair skies, safe travels and fun! We so love hearing about it!

  6. I especially love the early morning photos – a magical time of day in ordinary circumstances but here truly extraordinary!

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