On The Camino De Santiago in Spain, Villamayor de Monjardin to Los Arcos

January 19, 2012 — 2 Comments

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.

Photo of Church in Villamayor de Monjardín, Spain, stone bell tower, gray skies overhead

 

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.

Photo of bright green fields, village of Villamayor de Monjardín, stone castle overhead

 

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.

Photo of bright green farmland, recently plowed fields, the Camino de Santiago, dirt path

 

The solitude of the Camino. I could see for kilometers ahead with only a few pilgrims on the path.

Photo of gravel path, bright green farmland, Camino de Santiago, dark clouds overhead

 

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.

Photo of broken down old boots, stones, gravel path Camino de Santiago

 

The scrubby landscape on the hills, with their varied species of plants, had their own charm.

Photo of flowers, low shrubs, pine tree, grey sky, Camino de Santiago

 

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.

Photo of bright green farmland, ruins, monastery on top of a hill, between Villamayor de Monjardín and Los Arcos, Spain

 

A lone poppy in a vast field.

Photo of

 

I loved walking here with these wispy shrubs on either side of the path.

Photo of tall Wispy shrubs, pink flowers, gravel path Camino de Santiago

 

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.

Photo of gray skies over the stone church in Los Arcos, Spain

 

The beautiful entrance to the church. Let’s go inside.

Photo of Santa Maria church entrance, stone carvings, dark stained double door, Los Arcos, Spain

 

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.

Photo of wooden crucifixion scene, pedestal, Iglesia de Santa Maria, Los Arcos, Spain

 

A peaceful scene from a bridge over the  Odrón River.

Photo of green trees, muddy slow-moving river, stone bridge, gray skies, Los Arcos, Spain

 

Looking back through the Portal Castilla.

Photo of stone arch, old town of Los Arcos, Spain, overcast skies overhead

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.

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.

2 responses to On The Camino De Santiago in Spain, Villamayor de Monjardin to Los Arcos

  1. How amazing and delightful to hear Schubert’s Ave Maria (Ellens Gesang 3) [D839] on the organ in the church in Los Arcos!! Wonderful! I guess I don’t need my iPod after all.

    • Hi Laura. That was such an amazing experience. I was in a grumpy mood before I walked into the church and it immediately brightened up my spirits. It took me a few moments to realize where the organ was as I looked around the lower area of the nave. I wish I had recorded more. If I knew that I’d be writing a book and the blog, I would have spent more time. Glad you recognized the music too. Thanks for stopping by :)

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