Hiking the Camino de Santiago France/Spain travel blog

Fuente del Vino


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Day 5 Ciraqui to Villamayor de Monjardin 32km (including 6km of backtracking...)

After a sleepless night in the Alburgue due to Byron snoring down the house and keeping 17 other pilgrims awake I felt it was best to get an early start and head out on my own to walk off my surliness. AND I took an immediate wrong turn, walking 1km around the whole town and back to the alburgue. This did nothing to improve my mood! But as the morning wore on and the sun rose all was right with the world again and I enjoyed the solitude with the occasional greeting with another pilgrim as we passed.

There were two routes leaving Estella after lunch, the main one which stays on the right hand side of the N111 and the other which is not so well sign-posted on the left hand side of the same road. What I should have done was cross the road and walk the second route to see one of the most talked about sights of the day: The wine fountain “Fuente del Vino”beside the Monastery of Nuestra Senora la Real de Irache. I blissfully took the wrong path and had walked 3km before bumping into Byron walking the opposite way and followed him back to find the fountain. this added an extra 6km to my day which would have been worth it IF the fountain was anything other than completely underwhelming. Sure, free wine BUT lots of advertising and opposite were the most heavily fortified Coke vending machines I've encountered. A carefully framed pic eliminated all that though.

The wine fountain is part of the ancient Monastery of Irache in Ayegui which is essentially a suburb of Estella. There are two fountains, built in 1991, which are known as the Wine Source and Source Irache, one dispenses wine and the other fresh water. There is a sign at the fountain:

“Pilgrim, if you wish to arrive at Santiago full of strength and vitality, have a drink of this great wine and make a toast to happiness.”

I whipped out my pilgrims scallop shell and had some wine, for vitality and all that you know. Medicinal purposes.

Back to the trail again headed uphill to the highest point of the day at Villamayor de Monjardin.

The day started at about 400 meters and reaches its height at Monjardin around 650 meters. From here to Los Arcos you will be walking along gravel tracks that are surrounded by vineyards and farm land. There were great views down along long sloping tracks, which should have made the latter half of the day easy on the eyes and the feet...except that I really didn't need to see it twice when my feet were staging a coup.

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