Clocking in at nearly 500 miles, the Camino de Santiago, or The Way of St. James, is one of the world’s more famous long-distance treks.
Sadly this was to a very very brief brush with the trek
But the history of the architecture, means it does certainly require a stop as we are passing by.
And after a quick scan of the guide one thing caught our eye – Free Wine!
The small Navarra town of Ayegui is home to the Monasterio de Irache and its attached winery, the Bodegas de Irache, which was established in 1891. The wine fountain was created in order to provide motivation for fatigued followers of St. James
So across the road nestled among the vines is a handly placed Motorhome stop and a place that our Verity Volkswagon will be calling home for the next couple of nights ( N42.654280 W2.045170)
For the priciply sum of 4 euro we are treated to not only stunning views but a full set of services to boot, well for the next 72 hours anyway.
Although we would love to have followed the Camino de Santigo for miles sadly its not going to be happening on this trip, as its November already and a stop off to take a couple hundred mile walk will need to wait until we have a spring time trip.
But back to what caught our eye of places to visit….
Walk up to the gated fountain, and you’ll see pilgrims filling scallop shells (which are consistent symbols along the path; many pilgrims will carry or wear the shells as they complete their journey) and water bottles with the blessed wine from the monastery. The chilled red wine is light and refreshing, but it’s strongly alcoholic – being cheap motorhomers took a plastic glass from the van!
And let’s not forget that the Irache Monastery is one of the most outstanding monuments in Navarra, the result of a medley of medieval, renaissance and baroque architecture, sadly a full blow tour was off the cards as a lot of restoration work is taking place at the moment
This is purely a sign that it has thrived over the years, partly because of its proximity to the Camino of Santiago
There is evidence of its existence since 958. In the first half of the XI century a hospital was built for pilgrims, probably the oldest in Navarra.
Subsequently it became a branch for the university and the war hospital. Since 1887 it became a national monument.
It should be possible to visit the Romanesque church (XII century) and the plateresque cloister normally.
It is likely to have become a mecca for Tourism namely because of the the Wine fountain of the Irache Cellars.
Under a carving of Santiago there are two taps, from one tap water flows and from the other wine.
well it would be rude not to …..