On The Camino De Santiago in Spain, Estella to Villamayor de Monjardín

January 13, 2012 — 8 Comments

The Bodegas Winery provided a fountain of red wine and water for pilgrims. Yes, a wine fountain, and it was free. I had prepared for this moment and carried a new, blue, plastic cup. I rinsed it out with water, placed it under the wine spout, and poured about a quarter full. The wine was okay and I’m sure not their best vintage, but the company should be commended for providing it. I can’t imagine how much wine they supply in one day, let alone an entire year. I wanted my photo taken in front of the fountain and asked a woman for help. She and her friend had filled their glasses with wine twice in the few minutes I was there. They laughed and giggled loudly like intoxicated schoolgirls… From Page 56, Camino de Santiago In 20 Days. Good thing there isn’t a wine fountain near where I live. The line-up would be a mile long.

Now, I’ll continue with my journey on the Camino de Santiago, in the chapter, Day 3: Canadian Boy. Even if you don’t have my book, you can still enjoy this post, and learn more about walking the French Way or Camino Francés (map from Wikipedia Commons). I left my last post, On the Camino de Santiago: Puente la Reina to Estella, Spain, looking over the city of Estella. Let’s descend the hill and take a closer look.

As I rounded a bend on the outskirts of Estella, I was greeted by this cute horse tied up in front of a bank of mustard flowers. His owner had left him with only a small pile of hay and no water. I was concerned because the afternoon temperature was very warm.

Photo of brown horse on the gravel path in front of a bank of yellow mustard flowers, Estella, Spain,


Entering the ancient city of Estella. I didn’t dare drink from the old fountain on the left.

Photo of Camino de Santiago, paved path entering Estella, Spain


The Iglesia de Santo Sepulcro originated in the 12th century, although what you see is from the 14th.

Photo of front façade, stone, church, wooden door and sculptures, Iglesia de Santo Sepulcro, Estella, Spain


The entranceway of the church. The doors were locked, and I’m certain it’s no longer open to the public.
Photo of entrance façade, archivolt, tymanum, column, architecture, Iglesia de Santo Sepulcro, Estella, Spain


The tympanum featuring the crucifixion among other scenes was very detailed, and benefited from having some protection from the weather.

Photo of close-up of stone sculptors of religious figures, church ympanum, Iglesia de Santo Sepulcro, Estella


These sculptures had also kept much of their detail.

Photo of stone sculptures on the front façade, Iglesia de Santo Sepulcro, Estella, Spain


The Puente Picudo that spanned the Río Ega had been rebuilt in the 1970s. I found this bridge interesting because it required a climb to the peak. There would be more of these bridges in the days to come.

Photo of stone bridge, patchy blue sky, cars in front, Puente Picudo, Estella, Spain


As I wrote on page 55 of my book when referencing Estella,”The origins of the city were in the Romans’ time, but it didn’t flourish until the eleventh century, when King Ramirez focused on the Camino and pilgrim traffic. He also looked outside the region to parts of France and attracted people to open businesses. I didn’t know much about Estella before my Camino. I had the pleasure of sipping Estrella Damm beer once or twice, but that was actually from Barcelona and spelled differently.”

The narrow road that the Camino followed in Estella. The city was fairly quiet as it was siesta, and stores were closed.

Photo of Camino de Santiago, narrow street, buildings, blue sky in Estella, Spain


The Old Town Hall or Old Ayuntamiento. The rock bluff in the background had a lone Pine tree sitting on top.

Photo of Old town Hall of Estella, Spain, colorful flags, stone building, rock bluff, pine tree, blue sky


The Camino exited the old city through this portal.

Photo of Camino de Santiago, stone portal, in Estella, Spain


An interesting sculpture. I wasn’t sure what it represented.

Photo of metal sculpture, art, a couple, buildings, hillside, Estella, Spain


A few kilometers away was the Bodegas Irache Winery.

Photo of vineyard, rolling landscape, Bodegas Winery Vineyard, Irache, Spain, Camino de Santiago,


The aforementioned wine fountain.

Photo of author Randall St. Germain in front of the Bodegas Winery Fountain, Spain, Camino de Santiago


 The Museo del Vino or wine museum.

Photo of façade, wine Museum, Museo del Vino, Irache, Spain


The wine was inexpensive, with many bottles costing less than €5.

Photo of wine bottles on a shelf at the Museo del Vino, Irache, Spain


Across from the museum was the 11th century Monasterio de Irache. If you need a break, and possibly have more wine, there is a small rest area across from the monastery and wine museum.

Photo of stone sculptures, façade, cross, church, Monasterio de Irache near Estella, Spain


I don’t remember too many fields where poppies were scattered like this.

Photo of poppies in the field, trees, grass, mountains, outside Irache, Spain, Camino de Santiago


Back into the farmland. Please remember the castle on top of the hill. I’ll soon refer to it.

Photo of green farmland, rolling hills, Castle on top of the hill near rache, Spain, Camino de Santiago


I had not seen another pilgrim walking since Estella, and felt very isolated in the small forest west of Irache.

Photo of gravel path, forest between Irache and Azqueta, Spain, Camino de Santiago


A Camino marker clearly showed the right direction.

Photo of Camino marker long grass and forest between Irache and Azqueta, Spain


I safely emerged from the forest back into farmland but was concerned with an incoming storm. The village of Azqueta is on the near side of the hill.

Photo of farmland and hill with a castle on top, near Azqueta, Spain, Camino de Santiago


There is a small climb to Azqueta.

Photo of Church, farmland and the village of Azqueta, Spain, Camino de Santiago


The Camino from Azqueta to Villamayor de Monjardín was quite scenic. Whether it was the path lined by a rockwall and shrubs…

Photo of rock wall, gravel path, flowers, farmland, outside Azqueta, Spain, Camino de Santiago


the bright green from the farmland with small vineyards…

Photo of farmland, scrubby hills, vineyard, red soil, outside Azqueta, Spain, Camino de Santiago


 actually walking through a vineyard, on orangey-brown soil…

Photo of vineyard, farmland, red soil, dirt path, cloudy skies, near Villamayor de Monjardín, Spain, Camino de Santiago


 or the path lined with mustard flowers and farmland. A truly memorable evening walk.

Photo of gravel path, yellow mustard flowers, green farmland, cloudy skies, near Villamayor de Monjardín, Spain


A rebuilt (1991) Moorish fountain or Fuente de Moros. I was surprised how far north in Spain the Moors had conquered, but was amazed when I later found out their land extended well into France.

Photo of Stone building, open entrance, patchy grass, cloudy skies, Moorish fountain near Villamayor de Monjardín, Spain

Photo of interior, water, fountain, stone near Villamayor de Monjardín, Spain


Just before entering Villamayor de Monjardín, I stopped for a moment to watch a man sketch on his pad.

Photo of an artist sketching the village of Villamayor de Monjardín, Spain on the Camino de Santiago


The Church of San Andrews the Apostle.

Photo of Church, cloudy sky Villamayor de Monjardín, Spain, Camino de Santiago


On top of the hill, or mountain Monjardín, is the castle of San Esteban de Deyo. This area had been the site of many battles over the years, and the castle has always been an important part of them. For more on the history of Villamayor of Monjardín, please check out this excellent page from Monjardín.tk.

Photo of purple flowers, castle on top of hill Villamayor de Monjardín, Spain, Camino de Santiago

I hope you enjoyed this post as I had a tiring, but pleasing, afternoon and evening walk. On my next post, On The Camino De Santiago in Spain, Villamayor de Monjardin to Los Arcos, I continued through the rain and cold to Los Arcos, but found solace in the peaceful and inspiring Iglesia de Santa María. Please join me.

If you have my book, Camino de Santiago In 20 Days, or have ordered it, I really appreciate your support. It’s also out on Kindle. My Goodreads page has reviews and more information. Please share this post, and thanks for your time.

About Randall St. Germain

Randall St. Germain, author of Camino de Santiago In 20 Days, is a middle-aged Canadian Boy who is passionate about nature, photography, hiking, music, and self-improvement. After the death of his mother, he chose to walk the famous pilgrimage, the Camino de Santiago, across the north of Spain, despite knowing little about it. He certainly didn’t plan to write a book until the latter days of his Camino. Similar to walking the Camino, writing and publishing a book was a learning experience. It was also very rewarding, and part of his ongoing journey. Please join him as he takes you along on his journey in Camino de Santiago In 20 Days, and on his blog Camino My Way.


8 responses to On The Camino De Santiago in Spain, Estella to Villamayor de Monjardín

  1. As usual, your photography, landscape & architecture was beautiful. I was struck by the sheer lack of human inhabitants, and understood your feeling of isolation. Even Estella appeared so void of life. Thanks again.

    • Thanks again. I only used my point-and-shoot camera on my Camino, because I had to consider the weight of an SLR. Yes, the afternoons were very quiet on the Camino. It wasn’t odd for me to go three or four hours and only see a few people. It gave me lots of time to think though.

  2. If I were to offer a guess about that “interesting sculpture”, I’d say it looks like the Virgin Mary and the baby Jesus with a star between them, the star signifying the town of Estella (“estrella” being “star” in Spanish).

    Just a guess…

    Thanks for the photos!

  3. Like Laura, I saw the outline of the star framed by two figures….could very well be a woman and child.

    • Thanks Carolee. My guess was not even close 🙂

      • I am very keen to do the Camino de Santiago in the shortest possible time. As I have health problems and not very young and a woman I would really be grateful if you could tell me a detailed way of travelling where to stop etc and is it really possible to do it in 20 days. I thought it took 3 months!



        • Hi Sujata. Walking in 20 days is not for everyone. You need to find your way, one that takes into consideration your health and age. I have already wrote in detail in my book and blog. If you have any more questions, you can send me a message and I’ll do my best to answer. Thanks for stopping by 🙂

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