Leaving Estella on a warm, sunny morning felt like stepping into a fairy tale. We met and talked to pilgrims from the beginning, and several of them commented how sweet it was to see people walking hand in hand. It’s just how we are; it’s what we do. Luckily we walk at the same speed and we were in no hurry, just let the road stretch out in front of us. We had planned to walk the alternative route past Luquin to be closer to Montejurra, the mountain Scouse Spouse had been looking out at while he was in hospital, but the day promised to be hot and we decided to stick to the road more travelled and with more food and drink stops. We took photos but no wine at the wine fountain and carried on.
It really was a spectacular first day, with the path weaving through fields and woods and a gentle breeze to cool us down. The Perla Negra was closed and our first stop was at Villamayor de Monjardín, where I stayed in 2012.
This time we were aiming for Los Arcos, another 12 kms away and with only one potential stop, the Oasis in the middle of nowhere. I remember it as just a van selling cold drinks, fruits and even sleeping bags out of the back, but it was a pleasant surprise to see it was now a semi-permanent bar with seats in the shade. The only thing missing was a toilet … We could have stayed a lot longer but at two o’clock it was getting really hot and we needed to get going – there was no shade to be found, so we wet our hats.
Finally we got to Los Arcos, which was just like I remembered, only smaller. Our room was nice and big, but the restaurant was reserved for a bus load of pilgrims or tourists, so we had to go into the square. No problem, the square is lovely! We met David there again and spent a relaxing evening watching the sky turn dark blue and then black, and then went back to our room to get ready for the next day and tweak our packing.