For the third time! With no warning, I was cut off twice, at a € a time. Here goes again .
We left Estella at 7:15 and made slowish time until Villamajor de Monjardin after which the farm tracks were used and way much easier. We made the 21 km to Los Arcos in 5h 45 m whcih we were happy with. The sun was mostly obscured so the temp was down, a blessing. Now, at 10 to 4 it´s quite hot.
Los Arcos is a slumberously muted town, especially on a hot Sunday arfternoon. It,s major claim to fame is a beautiful church, S Maria de los Arcos, from the 16th c. It was ´improved´in the 18th c with a swirling froth of gold and statues behind the altar with a truiumphant Mary at the Apex.
Every part of the walls and curved arches and ceilings is covered with gleaming bronze plasterwork in a circular pattern. There is an organ with the distinctive >SpaNISH TRUMPETS, and some wonderfully carved places in the choir. This was the area for the priests to stand and there was a tiny seat for them to lean against. For longer services (or boring bits?) they could lower a whole seat.
One of our walkers is like an elderly elf, all floppy grey hair and arms who leans to the left and sings as she arhythmically swings her arms. She smiles all the time and loves chatting to all she comes across. Her husband is as solid as the wood carvings he makes at their home. They walk slowly but rest infrequently so also make good time. They are used to ´rambling´ in England.
Deb, a guy OI met in France, the tour guide at St Guilhem le Desert recognised my accent so I asked him what he knew about Australia. He reeled off a few facts and some slang before saying that he loved Aussie music. Australia, he said, had the best bamnds in the world!
As the walk goes on I am astonished at the numbers. 5 years ago we had a rolling group of 40. Tjis year it must be 140 or more. In a way, it makes the way lonelier as it easier to get lost in such a large crowd. There are at least 12 Australians, several NZers, Quebecois, Brasilians, Swiss, Germans, ut mainly French and >spanish.
Gotta go.. Don´t want to lose this!
S Maria de los Arcos choir (part of the church where the choir sits)
S Maria de los Arcos dome