My pace increased as my legs and body woke up. At times, I could see dozens of pilgrims over a few kilometers ahead. The only pilgrim who passed me was a woman from a tour group who wore a day pack. I said hola, but she didn’t even turn her head. I could have walked that fast, too, if my pack was only two kilograms and I slept in a private room every night… A pair of leather boots sat beside the road. One had its sole completely separated from the upper, while the other was filled with stones. I wondered if the owner had an extra pair shoes, because it was still some eight kilometers to Los Arcos. And good luck finding boots in any of these villages… From Page 60, Camino de Santiago In 20 Days.
On my last post, On The Camino De Santiago in Spain, Estella to Villamayor de Monjardín, I had concluded a memorable third day with a scenic walk through forests, farmland, and vineyards. 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).
I left Villamayor de Monjardin on a cool, early May morning, with overcast skies, and scattered showers. The Iglesia de San Andrés, with it’s seventeenth century Baroque tower, stood prominently in the village.
The castle, San Esteban de Deyo, sat upon Mountain Monjardín and could be seen from many kilometers away. If you missed my previous post, here’s more information on the history of Villamayor de Monjardín on this excellent page from Monjardín.tk.
Most of the landscape between Villamayor de Monjardín and Los Arcos was farmland and scrubby hills. The vineyards were smaller, and they were much less than the previous two days.
The solitude of the Camino. I could see for kilometers ahead with only a few pilgrims on the path.
I felt a little sorry for the owner of these boots, and wondered if they had another pair. For my post on how I chose my Camino footwear, please read New Boots, Old Boots: Preparing For The Camino De Santiago.
The scrubby landscape on the hills, with their varied species of plants, had their own charm.
In the background, on top of the hill, is what looked to be a monastery. I believe the ruins in the middle are an ancient pilgrims hospital.
A lone poppy in a vast field.
I loved walking here with these wispy shrubs on either side of the path.
After the 11.5 kilometer walk, I arrived in Los Arcos. According to Gitlitz & Davidson on page 114 in The Pilgrimage Road To Santiago, construction of the Iglesia de Santa María began in 1175, and lasted 600 years. Little remains from the early years.
The beautiful entrance to the church. Let’s go inside.
I was surprised with the beauty and peacefulness of the interior, and my spirits were instantly lifted.
Before the organ began, the church was very quiet. Footsteps echoed throughout. The sound of the organ was magical, and I looked around to find the origin. As I wrote on page 61, “I glanced up and saw the player of the eighteenth century organ perched above the nave, or main hall. I immediately went to the mezzanine, where I watched and listened with enchantment.” When I was there, the mid-seventeenth century murals were undergoing a restoration. They can be seen a little on the second video, and are alone worth a visit to the church.
This crucifixion scene was inside.
A peaceful scene from a bridge over the Odrón River.
Looking back through the Portal Castilla.
I hope you enjoyed this post. If you’re further interested in Los Arcos, please check out fernandezdearcaya.com, or Gitlitz & Davidson’s aforementioned book, The Pilgrimage Road To Santiago. On my next post, ON THE CAMINO DE SANTIAGO: LOS ARCOS TO VIANA, SPAIN, I’ll take you through a scenic valley as I looked ahead toward to the Autonomous Community of La Rioja — a land famous for its wine. Please join me.
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