Camino de Santiago Day Seven: Estella to Villamayor de Monjardin

6 04 2018

So last night Suzy found a nice Albergue where we could stay at the top of Monjardin and we opted to plan a more mellow route for our 7th day walking. Only about 6 miles. The body needs to rest on the 7th day and we have been hitting really big stretches, this is a marathon not a race, but I was initially disappointed. Feeling my body though I think it’s for the best.

We headed out of Estella and onto Bodegas Irache, a winery that has been providing wine for pilgrims since 1991. The wine (and water) fountain is conveniently located near the monastery so pilgrims can fill a little in their bottles and get the energy for their ascent and next leg of the journey. Before the fountain though do not miss the cool blacksmith, he makes exceptional art and pilgrim jewelry, I bought a tiny scallop necklace which is easily transportable.

we enjoyed our share from the fountain which pour red wine either at a healthy clip or a trickle. We were told it runs out eventually daily, but we had plenty. They have a webcam where you can watch pilgrims visit. The wine was light and low in tannin and deliciously fruity, a mix of cranberry and strawberry flavors.

We reconvened with the Irish girls Yvonne and Elaine and then toured the monastery and had a prayer in the chapel. Then it was on to our walk. We were intercepted by an eager Spaniard who wanted to offer us the recommendation that by going right we’d have an easier route than going straight over the hill to Los Arcos…

Not only did he start walking part way with us but he was super “gropey” and tried grabbing under our arms and “accidentally” brushing our boobs with his fingers. Probably harmless but a creeper. He tried to kiss my friend on the lips but we easily avoided him and he left us at the highway no doubt to turn around and molest a few more unsuspecting pilgrims.

When we stopped for a nibble and drink at bar Azketako in Azqueta we ran into Heather who we’d had dinner with last night, she too had a photo of the culprit so this is a thing… I posted something about it on a private Facebook page for fellow female pilgrims and was shocked by two things, first that about four others from various past years (back to 2016) had also seen and experienced this man’s behavior. Even more surprising, there were comments by some that I was illegally posting his photo without his permission and accusing him of bad things and that I was being unfair. Shocking really that type of response. At any rate that is why I’m not posting his photo. And I will say that I’ve not had any of the people featured in my blog sign release forms or any such thing. Anyway moving forward… I was told I should report him and thought well maybe that is extreme but I think I will. It’s unacceptable and if I’d been alone it may have been more difficult to thwart his greedy hands. I’ve been told since that it’s important to be very forceful with the men that you may encounter.

At any rate we enjoyed our chicken wings and a delicious grilled ham and cheese and relaxed in the sun at the bar before making our slow roll up the hill. We are staying in a very clean and comfortable Albergue in the heart of town, 12 bunk beds in a room so a bit packed with only one shower and bathroom but very nice. Dinner was up the hill at the bar Ilurria where Asier the bartender, chef, server and owner was incredibly hospitable and the 12 Euro pilgrim menu was great.

Tomorrow we will try to get back in schedule with a bigger day to Torres del Rio and then to Logrono the next day.

All in all a pleasant leg, but rain is expected tomorrow and we have heard from fellow pilgrims that snow is in the forecast for Burgos… just when we thought Spring was here!