We did a short walk today, just 13km. That was a good idea as we ended up doing a lot of sight seeing on the way to Villamayor.
Just 3k from Villatuerta is the beautiful town of Estella. Estella-Lizarra (the Basque name) is small, but packed with history and architecture. The ancient town is spectacular made even more special with the exquisite facades of the church.
A couple of kilometres out of Estella and we see signs for the wine fountain- taps, just outside Bodega Irache. In Benedictine tradition, they have free wine flowing from the tap for pilgrims walking by. As you walk further up the hill, you reach the old Benedictine monastery which now has a wine museum and two floors of underground storage of vats of wine from the past.
The monastery seems deserted, but the church is being renovated and has a stark simplicity to it, in comparison to the otherwise ornate churches in the small villages and towns we pass.
The walk to Villamayor turns difficult as we approach the village. It’s set on top of a hill, with a stunning view all around. The sides of the hill are vineyards and the walk is long and winding.
We spend the night at Oasis Trails, an albergue run by born-again Christians. It’s volunteer run and the volunteers we meet are largely from Holland. On seeing us, the only Indians they’ve had stay, they quickly summon one of their volunteers Rupa, a young girl of Indian origin, who grew up in Australia. From Spain she heads to London, to be a high school teacher. We were thrilled to meet each other and everyone else there was too!
The small group of about 25, staying at the Albergue, along with the volunteers ate dinner together. The meal was prepared by the volunteers and was a large salad, followed by rice and vegetables and chicken, chocolate yogurt and wine. We shared a room with a young Croatian man, a young girl from Colorado who works for the National Parks and lovely Sylvia from Malta who lives in Brisbane.
Also with us at the albergue were the German couple and the meditating German from our stay in the Pyrenees. We also met The Hollands! A singing couple, who had toured the world over the last 12 years with their children, singing and performing Country music!
After great conversation and good food, we went to bed, planning to leave really early the next morning.