Day 6: Estella to Viana

Estella was definitely and interesting experience. Mikey found a hostel outside of the city on a remote hilltop that he thought would be peaceful. What was not  mentioned in his Eroski guidebook was that this hostel is for youth. Perhaps we looked harmless enough or just plain exhausted from the day’s walk, but we were allowed to stay for the evening. 

After securing our double room, we sought out a pharmacy to buy provisions for Frank’s sore foot. Upon showing it to the pharmacist and her mother, they advised Frank to find a doctor. So off we went, the uninsured to seek a professional opinion. 

Sure enough, we saw the only English-speaking doctor in the city, a man who had lived in Texas! He bandaged Frank up and advised him to take a short break from walking. 

Over dinner, Frank and Mikey hatched a plan wherin Frank would take a bus two days ahead and recuperate in Logroño while Mikey would continue walking. 

Next morning, Mikey set off while Frank secured a ride from the youth hostel worker to meet his bus in downtown Estella. What follows is Mikey’s walking account of Estella to Viana. 

With Frank’s passage to Logroño secured, Mikey cautiously began walking absent a more observant second set of eyes. (Come on, those little Camino directional arrows can be tough to spot!) Still, like swallows to Capistrano, he had no trouble finding the first stop.

Opened in 1891, the Irache Winery is a mainstay of the Camino. In celebration of its 100 year anniversary, the winery installed a free wine fountain. Mikey likes wine, but 8:45am was a bit early considering the 35km+ that he would be walking. (Don’t worry, he filled an empty Coke bottle!😉)

 The Irache Monastery is conveniently close to the free wine fountain. Hmmm…

 The morning was exceptionally clear and offered miles of beautiful color-contrasting views like this. 

12th century San Andres Church was the main attraction in Villamayor de Monjardin. 

 Here’s a view of its impressive main portico. 

 Medieval Christian inscriptions like this one (above the portico) are found all over its facade. 

 Not to be outdone, King Sanchez I’s tomb is given pride of place nearby. 

 Back on the road for what would seen like hours!

 Suddenly, like a mirage, Eduardo’s “cafe movil” (food truck) appeared. The only letdown was the absence of tacos. (However, this point is debatable as “tacos” in Spain are swear words & from what Mikey overheard, Eduardo dosen’t have the cleanest vocabulary.)

  
Mikey bid Eduardo and a few fellow pilgrims adéu before getting back onthe road. 

 There’s something here about a rolling boot?!

 ¡Gracias! “Buen Camino” is a common expression on the Way. It means good walk or well wishes on ones journey. In this case, it was carved in cement in the middle of a hayfield. 
 The Iglesia de Santa Maria delos Arcos and city gate (Portal de Castilla) at Los Arcos. 

 The small town of Sansol from a distance. Mikey stopped in a cafe to use the restroom and ended up staying to help the owner with the English section of a Jeopardy show on TV. (Mikey rocked it!)

 
The nearby town of Torres de Rio boasts a pretty rad 12th century Templar church called Iglesia de Santo Sepulcro. 
 

Narrow, medieval streets led Mikey on to his destination for the evening. 

 Hot, sore, and blistered, Mikey arrived in the town of Viana a little after 5pm with 42km under his belt for the day. But things got better. You see, Mikey figured that if you want to feel like a king, you gotta sleep like one! So he spent the night in the (renovated) 16th century Palacio de Pujadas. (Thanks, booking.com for the 60% off coupon!)
Well, more on Viana and Frank’s return to the story on our next posting. Adios.

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