CAMINO FRANCES – DAY 3

ESTELLA – LOS ARCOS

30 MARCH

21.1km

It was a restless night. There were many pilgrims in our dorm … some of them snoring, another one talking in his sleep and everybody tossing and turning in their noisy sleeping bags through-out the night. I suppose one will have to get used to this if you want to enjoy a good night’s sleep ☺️.

After an early rise, we enjoyed our breakfast in the communal area (hard-boiled eggs, yoghurt and bread). It was still dark when we exited the albergue to start the day’s walking.

And then, just before 8:00 we reached the well-known wine fountain outside Estella. Though it was a bit early to drink red wine from the fountain, I took a sip – maybe I’ll never have this opportunity again!

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Early morning on our way out of Estella

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Bodegas Irache – Wine Fountain outside Estella

After our visit to the wine fountain, we walked through a beautiful pine forest. The only sounds we heard was that of the birds, water flowing and our own footsteps … how blissful! We chose the option route today that would took us on natural pathways through the tiny village of Luquin.

Walking in a pine forest. At times we had to choose our steps carefully not to walk through the mud puddles

Halfway to Luquin, we stopped for a break to enjoy a sandwich that we made earlier this morning at the albergue. We were sitting on two rocks under a tree and witnessed a farmer busy loading equipment on his truck. It was such a peaceful moment and at that moment I did not want to be anywhere else.

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Natural pathways on our way to Luquin

In Luquin we were happy to find an open bar where we could have a well-deserved “café con leche” (coffee with milk) and lemon cake (already a favourite on this hiking trip). Berto is the coffee drinker in our house and I love a cup of tea, but on the Camino I only drank coffee – Spain’s coffee is in a league of its own (and their tea is not great).

When we left the bar, we came across the group of young Korean girls (and now also one Korean guy). They were so happy to see us and immediately insisted on a photo … it’s amazing how we keep on seeing familiar faces on our daily walks.

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Time for a group photo with our Korean pilgrim friends in Luquin

The rest of our route was flat and through farm fields. There was little shade and we were very excited when a bar in the middle of a field suddenly appeared! We stopped here for a while and enjoyed freshly squeezed orange juice … Berto also thought a “cerveza” (beer) would also go down well 😁.

Green farm fields as far as the eye can see – on our way to Los Arcos

A welcome sight on a hot day – a bar in the middle of farm fields

The last couple of kilometers went quickly by and we arrived just after 12:30 in Los Arcos. One of the first albergues we saw, was Casa de la Abuela. We decided to stay here for the night and were happy that our room had only 3 bunk beds … definitely a promise for a good night’s rest.

We ate our lunch that we packed earlier this morning (hard-boiled eggs, chorizo and apples). By now, we are in a routine when we arrive at an albergue: Make our beds, eat lunch and then do laundry (we were lucky thus far to find a washing machine at every albergue).

We explored the town a bit – according to Brierley’s guide book, Los Arcos has a population of only 1,300. Their church, Santa Maria, is in the middle of the town with its high tower and impressive front door. We sat at one of the café’s in the plaza where we had a beer and seen a couple of familiar pilgrim faces walking into Los Arcos.

The Santa Maria church in Los Arcos

Dinner was prepared by the hostess at the albergue which consisted of bean soup, salad and bread. Three French guys ate with us, but communication was limited due to us not being able to speak French and they could only say a few words in English. It was the first time (and the last) we saw them, but we enjoyed their companionship.

This was another good day on the Camino.

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