This is the famous "Wine-fountain" Fuente de Irache / Fuente del Vino in a distance of just about 2km after Estella, when you walk the Camino. The faucet on the right will give you water and the one on the left is filled with red wine. The "Bodegas Irache", the winery that took over the former vinyards of the monastery fills that fountain with 70 litres of red wine every day, so it makes sense to come early, especially on a hot day in summer, when hundreds of pilgrims might pass by there in the high season. I came around 10.00am and had my sip: the wine was OK, BUT if you miss it, you would not miss anything...
In my last picture you will see, that this very special fountain is fenced in and there are also some video-cameras attached, so it does not make sense to go there at night and fill up your wine-tanks !!! ;-)
In the time between 08.00am and 08.00pm there is a webcam, that will show the fountain and the pilgrims - just take a look at my link below !
This is the most beautiful private fence that I have seen in Spain and it shows a lot of great details and sculptures about the Camino and the pilgrims in quite a funny way, so dont miss it, when you walk on the Camino: it is the 1st house on the right after you have left the town of Estella and have crossed the mainroad and start to hike on a sandy path towards the famous wine-fountain.
This is the monastery of Irache and the church is open all day for tourists and pilgrims and it makes sense to take a look inside as well. The romanic church was built in the 12th century in the shape of a latin cross and in 1609 tghe twin-towers of the church had been replaced by a single tower that you can still see nowadays.
The entrance to the church is free of charge - dont miss to take a look into the cloisters as well, the entrance to them is a bit hidden !
Dont miss to take a closer look into this shop, that you will find on the right after you have passed by the Iglesia del Santo Sepulcro. They are selling all sorts of souvenirs for peregrinos and also some antiques, BUT the most interesting part of this shop for me was the great entrance-gate and that looks best when the shop is closed !
In my last picture you can see the shop-interior !
Dont miss to take a look at this fancy fountain at the end of the village, when you are leaving on the Camino ! There is just a stick of a pilgrim with a pilgrim-hat on the top and it is pouring out the water from one of the traditional bottles into a shell.
You simply have to press the button in order to have the water pouring out.
After you have crossed the famous bridge you have to follow the signposts for the Camino and when you come to a street with a giant house on both sides (see it in my last picture), turn right after the end of the building on the right.
There are some benches as well for peregrinos / pilgrims.
In the landscape, about 2km past Zizur Menor you will pass by this beautiful old castle - or maybe it is just an old manor-house of a rich, local farmer. I could see it just from the distance, because the street going there was marked as private, just as well as the lake that you will pass by when walking the Camino (my last picture)
In a street called Camino de santiago Bidea you will find the the last 7 houses of the village before you will enter the open landscape again and in Number 7 of this street you will
find this lovely painting on the entrance-gate to the garden. The Camino will pass
by this house and garden, so you almost cannot miss it !
Zariquiegui / Zarikiegi is the last village that you will walk through before you get to Alto de Perdon in a distance of about 2km from Zizur Menor and I mention it here because this village is not litsed by VT. Zariquiegui / Zarikiegi will also be one of the very few places to do your shopping for food and drinks. The village is also worth seeing and you will even find 2 of the 4 Dixi-toilets that I saw along the 370km that I was walking between Pamplona and Santiago.
There are things that only the people from Santiago know and that do not appear in the travel guides. We have made up some tricks to play on the people that come to Santiago for the first time, especially if they are our friends. Every single one trusts us and they all fall into the trap. This is what I like best from Santiago, I enjoy doing that. Am I bad?
So, if you don´t know anyone from Santiago you are gonna miss the funniest part from this city's legends and history. Just go to my travelogue on "I tricked you!!!" and I will try to explain you some of these tricks.
Visiting the Cathedral roofs is an unforgettable experience and an unique chance to watch Compostela from another point of view... Even though it's quite expensive (10 Euro per person) it includes a guided tour that'll make you discover a part of the Cathedral's history (the expected and the unexpected one).There are special discounts for groups, students, pilgrims and retired people. The timetable is from Tuesday to Sunday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m but it's suggested to reserve the visit in advance. The entrance is in the "Pazo de Xelmirez", on the left side of the Obradoiro facade.
We couldn't sleep in until doomsday because we were scheduled to meet Fernando's daddy in Negreira. Getting me up proved to be a challenge for Fernando. He finally had to stick the entire pot of coffee under my nose. We left at 11.00 to try various Galician dishes such as empanada- some sort of tuna pie, a sort of licorice flavoured bread, and I even tried octopus- it tastes rather like scallops. Also, against my better judgment, I tried the Galician wines- red and white. To me, all wine tastes the same- terrible. Fernando's daddy and an elderly friend of his were impressed that an American tourist would try to speak Galician let alone do as well as I did.
Convento de San Francisco is the former franciscan monastery that had been transformed into a modern 3-star hotel, called Parador de Sto. Domingo Bernardo de Fresneda.
I had a look inside and found quite an impressive architecture next to ringroad around the old part of the city. There is a monument for the peregrinos in front of it as well - see it in my next tip !
Vigo appears to be the crossroads of northwestern Spain as it is a transfer point on many railroad itineraries. Sadly, the train station was all I had time to see in Vigo, but stick with me, I'll tour the cathedrals, narrow streets, and sidewalk cafes next time I'm in the area. I'm told by friends I'm overdue to return. The long layover in Vigo was the most relaxation I had since leaving home the previous day. That was what made it a challenge. It was so relaxing, I was afraid to miss the final leg of my journey to Santiago de Compostela by sleeping through the arrival and departure of my train. I continued to read my Patricia Cornwell book- which has become a travel tradition, walk around (buying a key chain from Javier in Barcelona), and drink strong coffee (the highest octane they had). It was a real battle to stay awake. The train arrived on time again. Was this my lucky day or what? You would have thought that I would have fallen asleep straightaway on boarding the train. However, two things kept me awake. First, I was afraid I would miss my stop in Santiago de Compostela and wake up in El Ferol or somewhere. Second, after what seemed like an eternity as the train made the winding trip through the green hills of Northwestern Spain, I knew I was getting close to Santiago- so I was pumped in much the same way I was on the way to Disney World the first time.
With the decline in the manpower needed in modern agriculture some of Spain Rural Villages and Small Towns have suffered a Huge decline in population !! However this leaves the Pilgrim with an Excellent opportunity to see how people lived many years ago !! Because of the lack of demand for houses in these villages, they have been left almost totally undeveloped !!! a Rare Chance for a glimpse back in time !!!
I had a whole afternoon in Santo Domingo de la Calzada and when I passed by this museum about the Camino I wanted to take a look inside, BUT the lady at the reception was "on the telephone" and did not find the time to sell me a ticket while she was chatting with somebody.
...and this is why I decided to leave there again after 5 minutes of waitingtime !
Centro de la Interpretation de Camino is the full name of the museum in the old part of the village and the other name is 550km because of the distance that this village is still away from Santiago de Compostela.