On The Camino de Santiago in Spain, Los Arcos to Viana

January 24, 2012 — 8 Comments

Next to a vineyard at the bottom of a hill stood what I thought was a rustic farmhouse. I was so tired that if it had been a casa, I would have considered taking a room. Although the location was very peaceful, I discovered the building was a large storage shed for the vineyard. It was no longer enticing… From Page 62, Camino de Santiago In 20 Days.

On my last post, On The Camino De Santiago in Spain, Villamayor de Monjardín to Los Arcos, I was grateful to find solace in the peaceful Iglesia de Santa María in Los Arcos. I recommend everyone stop and spend some time at the church. You won’t regret it. Now, I’ll continue with my journey on the Camino de Santiago. 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).

Once you leave Los Arcos, the path takes you through gently rolling farmland. The village of Sansol is in the distance.

Photo of Dirt path, Camino de Santiago, green farmland, yellow mustard, village of Sansol, Spain


I wish I had blue sky for this photo. I always enjoyed the flowers and rock walls.

Photo of rock wall, red poppies, yellow mustard flowers, Spain


This time, the poppies were scattered in a field.

Photo of scattered red poppies, bright green field, village of Sansol, Spain


After leaving the gravel and dirt path, the Camino joined the highway for the last stretch to Sansol. This is one of my favorite photos.

Photo of Flowers, red poppies, yellow mustard, Camino de Santiago, village of Sansol, Spain


I loved the mustard flowers in Navarra.

Photo of bright green farmland, yellow mustard flowers, village of Sansol, Spain


The steep pathway down to the Río Linares, between Sansol and Torres del Río,  two villages that are very close to each other. Be careful not to slip here if the stone is wet.

Photo of Stone path, scrubby hills, green farmland, Camino de Santiago, between Sansol and Torres del Río, Spain


The short climb from the river into Torres del Río. If you’re ready, this is a good place to stop for the night. It’s a long 10 kilometer walk to Viana. When I walked, an alberque in Torres del Río had an internet station which I utilized.

Photo of Gray skies, the village of Torres del Río, Spain


The 12th century Iglesia del Santo Sepulcro. The symmetry of the architecture was rather striking with the octagon shape, and unlike anything so far on the Camino Francés.

Photo of Stone Church, Iglesia del Santo Sepulcro, Torres del Río, Spain


The gentle rolling landscape west of Torres del Río.

Photo of Gray skies, green farmland, scrubby hills, orange soil, west of Torres del Río, Spain


 An orchard with ancient Olive trees.

Photo of An orchard, ancient trees, deciduous, stone wall, west of Torres del Río, Spain


After a climb of 150 meters, this is the small monastery at El Poyo. According to Gitlitz & Davidson in, The Pilgrimage Road To Santiago, El Poyo is derived from the Latin word podium, meaning high place. They also claim it’s one of the highest points on the Camino.

Photo of Stone monastery at El Poyo, west of Torres del Río, Spain, gray skies


Garbage was a problem along the entire Camino. I won’t include many photos of garbage in my posts, but seeing a pile such as this was difficult to understand.

Photo of Garbage outside El Poyo, west of Torres del Río, Spain, Camino de Santiago


The small shrub, Lithodora, and phlox ( I believe it’s phlox ), growing wild along the path. American gardening personality, Ed Hume, has a good description of Lithodora on his website.

Photo of bright blue flowers of Lithodora and pink phlox near El Poyo, Spain


The Camino follows this valley all the way to La Rioja, one of Spain’s most important wine producing regions. Grapes were first planted during Roman times, but the reputation of the area’s fine wines was established by pilgrims talking about them after returning home from the Camino de Santiago.

Photo of Valley, vineyards, farmland, scrubby hills, La Rioja, Spain


The scrubby hillsides and the path led down to the valley bottom, and back up again.

Photo of dirt path, Camino de Santiago, scrubby hills west of El Poyo, Spain


An old shelter of some sort. I suppose if there was harsh weather, one could spend some time there. It may have been used in the past by one of the wineries.

Photo of stone shelter, scrubby hills, Camino de Santiago, west of El Poyo, Spain


The building was a storage shed for the vineyard.

Photo of red poppies, scrubby hills, vineyard west of El Poyo, Spain


Ruins of a home next to the Camino made an interesting planter.

Photo of Red poppies, grass, on top of the stone ruins of a home, bright green hills


Ruins of another building, overlooking the vineyard and valley.

Photo of Stone ruins overlooking the vineyard, gray skies, west of El Poyo, Spain


Photo of gravel path, Camino de Santiago, scrubby hills, yellow mustard, east of Viana, Spain


With darkening skies overhead, the Camino followed the highway to the town of Viana, on the hill to the right.

Photo of Highway, Camino de Santiago, gray skies,In the distance, Viana, Spain


The portal leading to the old town of Viana. Above, there was a sign or banner commemorating 500 years since the death of Caesar Borgia, an Italian who had died defending Viana in 1507.

Photo of stone portal, banner for Caesar Borgia, narrow road of Viana, Spain


The Iglesia de Santa María was originally built in the 13th century but the beautiful façade and tower was from the 17th.

Photo of stone carvings, entranceway to Iglesia de Santa María, Viana, Spain


Photo of dark stained doors and stone entranceway to the Iglesia de Santa María, Viana, Spain


The cold wind rushed through the narrow streets of Viana which were quiet in the early evening.

Photo of stone buildings, narrow street, Camino de Santiago, Viana, Spain


The Viana Town Hall or Ayuntamiento next to the Plaza de los Fueros.

Photo of Town Hall, stone, Viana, Spain


Although it may not look like it from this angle, the Iglesia de San Pedro, on the left, was actually ruins. If you find yourself needing a good rest and a break from the pilgrim hostels, this hotel is a viable alternative.

Photo of stone church, Iglesia de San Pedro and Hotel, Viana, Spain

I hope you enjoyed this post. If you walk the Camino Francés starting from St. Jean Pied de Port, by the time you get to Viana and Logroño, you’ll have a better understanding of the life of a modern pilgrim. You will also better understand your body and mind. On my next post, ON THE CAMINO DE SANTIAGO: VIANA TO LOGROÑO, SPAIN, I’ll cross the border into La Rioja, and take you into the beautiful city of Logroño. 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, Los Arcos to Viana

  1. You mention that “Garbage was a problem along the entire Camino”. How bad was it? Its hard to imagine that people could be so inconsiderate. Was some of it left by locals, or do you think that pilgrims were responsible for most of it?

    Great photos. I’m really enjoying your blog. I do have one question. I’ve heard that most people stop walking about 1 or 2 in the afternoon, but you continued until later in the day. Did you have any trouble finding a place to stay? I’m going this year in late April so your experience would be applicable.

    • Thanks Rick. Garbage was bad at times both along the Camino del Norte and the French Way. I think along the del Norte, most of the garbage was from locals whereas on the French Way, it was from pilgrims. Most of the pilgrim garbage was food and drink wrappings & containers after the towns and villages. Again, it was only bad in certain areas and by no means a reason not to walk the Camino. Just carry your garbage to the next town where there’s always recycling and garbage containers.
      The topic of walking late will be a blog post one day but I will summarize it here:
      I walked late on every day except my last on the French Way. On the Camino Del Norte, I had to scramble many times for a place to stay. On the French Way, starting in late April, it was easier. There are usually few people walking after 2 PM so If you like solitude, it’s a good time to walk.
      Having said this, you need to take some precautions:
      1) I always had extra money in case my only choice was a hotel room.
      2) I always knew how many beds were in the next center (town, village etc).
      3) I knew how far to the next centers and the terrain.
      4) Very importantly, I kept track of my energy level and had a good idea how fast I walked at certain times of the day. For me personally, I would have a few hours around midday where I was very sluggish.
      Rick, I hope that helps. Thanks for stopping by 🙂

      • Great advice on walking late in the day. Thanks. I do have one question though. You say you always knew how many beds were in the next center which implies you had a good guide to the Camino book. If so, which one was it. I’ve ordered the Brierley book because I’ve heard its very good, but it would be interesting to know if there is a better one.
        Thanks for posting this blog with so many great photos.

        • Rick, I used the Brierley book also but to be honest, I didn’t need most of it. It was good though for the maps, elevation profile (important for me), and the mostly accurate albergue and bed count (when I walked). An option is to photocopy what you need and leave the pages as you go along. I have a couple of other books but I can’t recommend them. Another option is the Eroski Consumer online guide. It is excellent except I’m not sure how up-to-date the alberges are. If you don’t know, Eroski is a large chain of supermarkets in Spain. This is their website for the Camino Francés: http://caminodesantiago.consumer.es/los-caminos-de-santiago/frances/ I know the Camino de Santiago forum has an albergue guide that is kept up-to-date. I haven’t looked at it lately but the combination of printouts from Eroski and the forum albergue guide is an option, if you don’t want to carry a book. I hope that helps.

  2. I’ve yet to visit Spain. This post inspires me to do so (even if the garbage comment is intimidating a slight.) Your photography is stunning. Also, I am semi-familiar with South American Spanish; how different is So. American Spanish compared to Spain?

    • Julius, thanks for the comment. I have to be honest, I had no idea I would be writing a book, let alone a blog while I walked. I was just carrying around my little point-and-shoot Nikon which I’m lucky took good quality photos. As you can tell, I keep them as natural as possible. As for the difference in languages, I’m not one to ask as my Spanish is still very much at a beginner level. I know enough to get by but still have not advanced to where I would like my level to be. If you understand Latin American Spanish, you won’t have any trouble except for some adjustments. The Spanish people are very friendly and willing to help too. Thanks for stopping by 🙂

  3. Anita Metivet May 8, 2013 at 8:20 am

    My husband and I are resting after the walk from Los Arcos to Viana. I enjoyed your comments and admired your photos yesterday evening in Los Arcos. They really give you an idea of what the Camino is like.

    • Hi Anita. I’m glad to help. I trust the poppies and mustard are beautiful right now. I hope you’re getting a little better weather than I did during that stretch. You’ll see from just before Los Arcos, I had rather inclement weather for two weeks. It’s part of the journey. I wish you the best. Buen Camino 🙂

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