Today’s distance: 20.3 km
Total distance: 151.1 km.
Elevation gain: 357 metres
Weather: Sun with clouds; warm
Highlight: Villamayor to Los Arcos
If I left Villamayor de Monjardin, without seeing St. Stephen’s Castle sitting on the conical peak above the town, I would always have wondered what I missed. So rather than live with regret, I made the half-hour climb to the peak my first challenge of the day. It was now or never, even with blisters!
The castle is believed to have been built by the Romans, reinforced by the Arabs, and conquered by the Christians. Whatever the case, it is true that it was one of the strongest fortresses in the 9th century. Someone once compared it very poetically to a stone ship that had run aground on the clouds and I think it is a perfect description! This morning was no exception regarding clouds, unfortunately, so the pictures are a bit dark.
No one else was up at the castle, so it was easy to imagine being the queen of the castle enjoying a 365 degree of her kingdom.
This little “excursion” to the Castle wasn’t counted in today’s total distance – an example of how much more walking there is in addition to walking the Camino. The All Trails statistics tell only part of the story.
I was back on the Camino at 9:15 heading toward Los Arcos (12.2 km) or Sansol (19.0 km) depending on the condition of my foot.
This was one of the most stunning days I have ever experienced on the Camino. The clouds were dramatic and the breeze made waves across endless fields of grain with their new feathery tops. Red poppies and yellow canola stood out amongst all the other wild flowers.
It was just past noon when I stopped in Los Arcos for a tortilla and one of my favourite, most refreshing drinks, cerveza con lemon. I was still undecided about whether I would stay in Los Arcos or bite the bullet and carry on another 6.8 km to the small town of Sansol.
In the end, I carried on and arrived at Albergue Sansol at 2:30 PM. I was relieved to call it a day because my right foot hurts now, too. Can a person break their foot just from walking? It feels that way!
There are 24 beds in one room, good bathroom facilities, and a lovely peaceful garden with a small pool/waterfall, tables and umbrellas. What an excellent choice! It was just 10 Euros and, to my delight, the top bunk was so high I could sit upright below it! This makes me a very happy camper which reminds me… Going on the Camino is a cross between going to camp as a kid and going on a retreat as an adult.
The following video is a recap of the journey along the French Way between Maruzabal and Sansol.