Once we have left Estella behind , we head towards Los Arcos, crossing the river Ega, leaving behind the Palace of the Kings of Navarre and the Church of San Pedro. We will advance until we reach the manor of Ayegui, where we can find the curious forge of Ayegui, where the craftsman Jesús Angel Alcoz reproduces in the hot iron the typical shapes of the Way of St. James.
We leave Estella leaving behind the Palace of the Kings of Navarre and the church of San Pedro. We follow the signs and, almost without noticing, we arrive at Ayegui, as it is practically absorbed by Estella. In the San Pelayo square, a signpost invites us to turn left and go up to the Irache Monastery.
We arrive at one of the great landmarks of the whole Camino, the famous Bodegas Irache and its Wine Fountain where, under a carving of Santiago, two taps are born, one for water and the other for wine.
After refreshing ourselves as tradition dictates, we continue to the Irache Monastery, a mixture of Gothic, Renaissance and Baroque whose cloister can be visited. We leave Irache along dirt and gravel paths, until we reach a crossroads where we see two alternatives: on the one hand, we find a slightly shorter one that crosses the slopes of Montejurra through a wooded area to Luquin, and the second, which is the original route, passes through Azqueta and Villamayor de Monjardín. We continue along the traditional path, through Azqueta, which takes us through a housing estate and a tunnel until we enter a wooded path.
We arrive at Azqueta, a town that welcomes pilgrims with a nice graffiti. Here we will meet one of the most endearing people of the whole Camino. Known as Pablito el de las Varas or “the man who has become famous for giving sticks”, as he is called in the village. Pablito has been giving walking sticks to pilgrims for 25 years and explaining to them how to use them correctly. It has its intricacies!
Equipped with a good stick, a masterly lesson and a very pleasant time with our friend, we continue to Villamayor de Monjardín. Shortly before arriving we find the Fuente de los Moros (Fountain of the Moors), which used to quench the thirst of medieval pilgrims. Once in the village, we must visit the church of San Andrés, with its silver processional cross and its capitals. At the top of the village we can see the remains of the castle of San Esteban de Deyo, declared of National Historic Interest. Its bell is still working, and they say that if you ring it, its tolling can be heard all over the region.
We continue through monotonous farm fields for several kilometers. If we are lucky, and we are in high season, we will find La Flecha Amarilla. A mobile bar that serves from cold drinks to mixed dishes for pilgrims passing by. And we enter the final stretch to Los Arcos, where we can rest from a day full of emotions of the Camino, as well as enjoy the heritage of the Church of Santa Maria de Los Arcos, one of the most important in Navarre.
This stretch of the French Way between Estella and Los Arcos is quite long and monotonous. It is important to stock up with plenty of water as there are no services. Also, if you do the Camino in the hottest months of the year, it is advisable not to start walking without a hat or cap and sunscreen.
Places of interest
- Forge of Ayegui
- Wine Fountain
- Irache Monastery
- Castle of San Esteban de Deyo – Villamayor de Monjardín
- Church of Santa María de Los Arcos – Los Arcos
- Portal de Castilla – Los Arcos
- Variety of wines from the Irache wineries
- Sausages from Navarre
- Cheeses D.O.
- Hake a la koskera
- Pollack ranch
- Fried milk