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LIVE from the Camino BP on the Ebro June 2021

Bad Pilgrim

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2021
Hi everyone,

I may or may not begin to walk the Ebro from Deltebre next week!

I am currently investigating what I need to do to enter Spain according to the authorities. I am not a criminal!! I will comply to the rules.

I do have my credencial ready (that Ivar sent me one year ago when I thought I could still go in 2020). And I just recieved the guidebook that I ordered from Spain by mail! It is form 2006 (yikes), but I like to have something to browse through while I am walking.

If I can cross Spain legally, I plan to continue on the Olvidado and then the Invierno.

If I can go I should start from Deltebre on June 18th...

To be continued

/Bad Pilgrim
 
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Bad Pilgrim

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2021
I went on a shopping spree today! Still not fully equipped. And because of my work I have had no time to prepare physically. I am going for extended walks around where I live from now on, and then I hope I will be able to walk those first 20 kms from Deltebre to San Carles without injuries... On my other Caminos, I have had much more time to prepare. Oh well, we will see how it goes. People say the Ebro is flat, which I quite like. And I have no problems with asphalt; I quite enjoy it.

Yeah I plan to write a few words about this Camino if I ever get to the starting point. But other members have walked the Ebro in later years and there are already some accounts in this subforum.

The tricky part is the permits to enter Spain from where I live. I understand that 2 of them are required, of which I have to get one 48 hours before I enter Spain. All the centers that issue this particular 48-hour-permit are fully booked weeks ahead from now. But I managed to find a place where I don't have to book. My only hope is to drop by the day before my flight and get hold of the permit, otherwise I can't go...
 

Stephen Nicholls

Steve Nicholls, Suffolk, U.K.
Year of past OR future Camino
Too many caminos to list in the permitted 100 characters!!

lt56ny

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
CF(2012) Le Puy/CF (2015) Portugues (2017) Norte (2018) CF (2019) VDLP?
Gronze.com also has a little information. Maps of each stage with the names of towns and distances between towns. The star system of difficulty/scenery and an elevation map of each stage. If you open up the description of the camino there is also a little more useful information.
 
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Bad Pilgrim

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2021
Gronze.com also has a little information. Maps of each stage with the names of towns and distances between towns. The star system of difficulty/scenery and an elevation map of each stage. If you open up the description of the camino there is also a little more useful information.
Yes,

It looks more up to date indeed, and I don't need to print it, which is good.

I have read conflicting accounts about how good the waymarking is on the Ebro; perhaps I don't need any of the guides to find my way...
 

Bad Pilgrim

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2021
I love the Ebro camino - it's so peaceful yet well signed. Have you looked at my web site? https://snicholl5.wixsite.com/home-site/santiago and Pilgrimage 5 was the Ebro. There's a Diary and a photo album which are down-loadable and may be helpful.

Buen camino, amigo!
Steve.

I am reading it right now, bit by bit... Those tunnels look scary, a few stages from Deltebre?! But I never travel without my flashlight (I am used to start walking before sunrise, especially in summer) so I will be prepared for darkness... 👻
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
I am reading it right now, bit by bit... Those tunnels look scary, a few stages from Deltebre?! But I never travel without my flashlight (I am used to start walking before sunrise, especially in summer) so I will be prepared for darkness... 👻
Oh, those tunnels are so cool! I only had my phone flashlight and was fine. That is a beautiful part of the Ebro on the bike trail.

I left the Ebro in Zaragoza, or one stage later in Gallur to be more precise, to follow the Castellano-Aragonés, which is a beautiful camino. And it connects with your favorite, the Lana, outside Santo Domingo de Silos!

Are you planning to walk to Logroño?
 

Bad Pilgrim

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2021
Oh, those tunnels are so cool! I only had my phone flashlight and was fine. That is a beautiful part of the Ebro on the bike trail.

I left the Ebro in Zaragoza, or one stage later in Gallur to be more precise, to follow the Castellano-Aragonés, which is a beautiful camino. And it connects with your favorite, the Lana, outside Santo Domingo de Silos!

Are you planning to walk to Logroño?

Yes I want to finish in Logroño (where I have only been once, on my first Camino a long time ago). Then take a bus to Bilbao and walk the Olvidado. But let us not get ahead of things... My first goal is to get to Deltebre. With all the hustle and different permits, I would be surprised if I even got that far...
 
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Bad Pilgrim

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2021
The best laid plans.......... But I will try. I already bought my plane ticket, and should arrive fairly early in Barcelona (12:45 pm). Today I will be looking up how to get as close as possible to Deltebre from Barcelona (bus? train? helicopter? army tank?) and book accomodation in Deltebre... if there is any.
 
Year of past OR future Camino
2019
The only thing we found was to take a train to Amposta and call the cab, whose number is posted there, to get to Riumar. Rome2Rio suggests that that’s also the case for getting to Deltebre. Looks like train or bus goes only to Amposta. I remember something about buses to Riumar in high season, though.

My blog says that the camino doesn’t actually enter Deltebre, so you will have to have someone point you in the right direction. :)
Edit...plus...
In that case, it might be better to take the train to L'Aldea-Amposta-Tortosa from where Hife (www.hife.es) has buses to Deltebre.
Amposta is a bit more far away from Riumar the L'Ampolla. However, there's no train station in Amposta itself. The train station serving Amposta is at L'Aldea and L'Aldea is something like a kilometer (or a km and a half) closer to Riumar than L'Ampolla.

There's taxi service available in both L'Ampolla and L'Aldea.

There are more trains from Barcelona to L'Aldea than from Barcelona to L'Ampolla.

The Regional Express fare from Barcelona to L'Ampolla is the same than from Barcelona to L'Aldea.

Comming from Barcelona, L'Aldea is more far away (7-8 minutes by train) than L'Ampolla.
A PM to Alan might yield specific information, but he walked from Deltebre in 2015, a while ago.
It sounds like you won't need a tank though, as there are taxis.
 
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Bad Pilgrim

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2021
Ajá,

I should have known: that is from my own conversation I had with Laurie last year about how to get to Riumar/Deltebre from Barcelona. I just re-read it now. Well, I want to get started as soon as possible so I think I will start from Deltebre... the ocean can wait. I also need to shorten the first stage(s) when possible, since I have had so little time to get in shape...
 

Bad Pilgrim

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2021
Edit...plus...


A PM to Alan might yield specific information, but he walked from Deltebre in 2015, a while ago.
It sounds like you won't need a tank though, as there are taxis.

According to Hife, there is a bus from Barcelona Airport (El Prat?) to Deltebre at 3.15 pm on Thursday - too good to be true?! From what I gathered from previous E-bros, the taxi part was unavoidable.
 
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OzAnnie

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2020
The best laid plans.......... But I will try. I already bought my plane ticket, …………………….,,,,……………………….
and book accomodation in Deltebre... if there is any.
I’m feeling so positive for you @Bad Pilgrim

I am looking forward to reading your pearls of wisdom from this trip to Spain & caminos planned.

(IMO). you actually are a very good pilgrim.

buen camino
Annie
 

Bad Pilgrim

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2021
So, I just booked for a covid-test-travel-permit. The day before I leave: it is good for 48 hours after the test. I hope it will be valid in the eyes of the authorities. The airline is threatening with a fine of 3000 euros (!!!) for anyone trying to enter Spain without the right papers.

I feel as if there is an obstacle course to run from here to Deltebre...

To be continued...
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
Oh, wow, I just noticed that you are talking about NEXT WEEK!!!!!!

So happy for you BP. Fingers crossed it works. That first day is a lot of asphalt. Actually, I remember a fair amount of asphalt in the early stages. But I also think I remember that you don’t mind the asphalt.

Starting at Deltebre instead of Riumar is not the end of the world. Riumar was a sad place when I was there, and I imagine the pandemic hasn’t done it any favors. Lots of vacant and charmless modern beach construction.
 
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Bad Pilgrim

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2021
I made it!! I am in Deltebre, in my luxurious hostal Casa Angela! I have been awake since 4 am (and I started the day by walking to my local airport in the morning) so I will sleep like a log tonight. There were a lot of changes with the bus to get to Deltebre, and a few thunderstorms to get through. l thought I would never arrive. But I can confirm that you can go by bus from Barcelona Airport to the Ayuntamiento in Deltebre, there is no need for taxi. Ticket was 24 euros.

I am not in shape to walk more than 20 kms to Sant Carles de la Ràpita tomorrow, but I will give it a try 😞

But I am a city pilgrim and the asphalt will be my friend...
 

SabineP

Camino = Gratitude + Compassion.
Year of past OR future Camino
some and then more. see my signature.
I made it!! I am in Deltebre, in my luxurious hostal Casa Angela! I have been awake since 4 am (and I started the day by walking to my local airport in the morning) so I will sleep like a log tonight. There were a lot of changes with the bus to get to Deltebre, and a few thunderstorms to get through. l thought I would never arrive. But I can confirm that you can go by bus from Barcelona Airport to the Ayuntamiento in Deltebre, there is no need for taxi. Ticket was 24 euros.

I am not in shape to walk more than 20 kms to Sant Carles de la Ràpita tomorrow, but I will give it a try 😞

But I am a city pilgrim and the asphalt will be my friend...

Aha! You made it. All the best and find some shade!
 

OzAnnie

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2020
Cooo’eeee. @Bad Pilgrim

that’s great news!
I can confirm that you can go by bus from Barcelona Airport to the Ayuntamiento in Deltebre, there is no need for taxi. Ticket was 24 euros.
Helpful info already - Thankyou.
I am not in shape to walk more than 20 kms to Sant Carles de la Ràpita tomorrow, but I will give it a try 😞
I hope first night in spain helps you refresh and improves your confidence .. I think you’ll surprise yourself. .
Well done and buen camino.
Annie
 

Bad Pilgrim

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2021
Day 1: Deltebre - Sant Carles de la Ràpita 23 kms?

All day in the rice paddies, next to a canal and flat flat flat. Lots of birds to look at, some with babies! No pink flamingos though, they reside mostly around Riumar, I think?

The Camino has changed since 2006 when the guidebook was written, but recent E-bros probably know already. Not all is on asphalt: someone must have made an effort to direct pilgrims to as much country road as possible. Waymarking was ok. Every turn is not marked, but I probably didn't follow the Camino all the time. Many straight lines and canals to follow, which is reflected in today's pictures.

There are cafés and restaurants in the artificial hamlet of Poblenou del Delta, about half way to Sant Carles. I needed this break, as I am not really in shape yet.

There was no shadow for the entire way (only exception see 2nd picture) so I already burnt my legs! On the 3rd picture you can see the effects of the heavy rainfall from yesterday. There will be thunderstorms tomorrow again, and I have to walk 28 kms to Tortosa!

Tonight I stay at the cheapest accomodation I could find in Sant Carles: Hotel Nou Rocamar, 35 euros. It is ok and right in the center, close to the harbor.
 

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Bad Pilgrim

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2021
Day 2: Sant Carles de la Ràpita - Tortosa, 28 kms.

Cloudy, humid and hot today, and a very light rain all day long. It is still raining as I write this in the safe haven of Cafetería Virginia, a stone's throw away from Tortosa Parc which is my hotel for about 25 euros. Cheapest accomodation so far. I passed out for two hours in my bed: I was that tired from walking. There was little sunshine to speak of today, still I was hot and exhausted for the last kms. One of the worst slogs I have had to live through. I had breakfast at Amposta, somewhere before half way to Tortosa, but little did that help. My legs felt like two chopping blocks; my feet felt as if I had been out clog dancing all night.

I am looking forward to a short stage tomorrow: 17 kms. And after tomorrow comes the infamous tunnel stage, but I have my flashlight ready.

Today's pictures are all from the canal/the Ebro, because I have been following it all day. And the tower of
La Carrova that looked interesting. But I had no force to go and check it out. I know there are things to see in Tortosa as well... But right now I stay clutched to my café con leche inside the cafetería... No more clog dancing tonight...
 

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Bad Pilgrim

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2021
Cheers @Bad Pilgrim . See you are following the " gronze stages " but I guess there are not many other choices to stop?

Yes, I dutifully follow gronze so far! Tomorrow I have to stay in Xerta, I don't see how I would carry on to Benifaillet since I am exhausted, or the station close to it. But accomodation is limited in Xerta. Anyone has a good idea where to stay in Xerta...?
 

SabineP

Camino = Gratitude + Compassion.
Year of past OR future Camino
some and then more. see my signature.
Yes, I dutifully follow gronze so far! Tomorrow I have to stay in Xerta, I don't see how I would carry on to Benifaillet since I am exhausted, or the station close to it. But accomodation is limited in Xerta. Anyone has a good idea where to stay in Xerta...?

Found Villa Retiro but with 223 € a night I guess a bit steep for us pilgrims... :eek:

Jeez they know there prices around Xerta.
Cheapest I found while searching the internet is this one ...77 € for a single? Wow.

Of course this albergue style / for groups ( so it seems ) : Albergue Xerta although bookingdotcom says it is fully booked for tomorrow but there is no harm in calling the place.

Good luck!
 

marilyn van graan

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Frances (2012) VDLP (2014) Portuguese (2015)
Thank you Steve for sharing your previous caminos with us - I think Catarina was so lucky to have you as a camino partner - I loved your photos and your beautiful poem at the end was something else - take care and I hope your health issues improve and that you can walk again on the glorious camino paths -XXX
I love the Ebro camino - it's so peaceful yet well signed. Have you looked at my web site? https://snicholl5.wixsite.com/home-site/santiago and Pilgrimage 5 was the Ebro. There's a Diary and a photo album which are down-loadable and may be helpful.

Buen camino, amigo!
Steve.
 

Bad Pilgrim

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2021
Found Villa Retiro but with 223 € a night I guess a bit steep for us pilgrims... :eek:

Jeez they know there prices around Xerta.
Cheapest I found while searching the internet is this one ...77 € for a single? Wow.

Of course this albergue style / for groups ( so it seems ) : Albergue Xerta although bookingdotcom says it is fully booked for tomorrow but there is no harm in calling the place.

Good luck!
I know, tomorrow is tricky. Who knows, I might have the strength to carry on to the station in Benifaillet. I won't know until I am in Xerta. And tomorrow is stormy weather again... Although they said there would be thunderstorms today as well but I didn't see much of them.
 
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SabineP

Camino = Gratitude + Compassion.
Year of past OR future Camino
some and then more. see my signature.
I know, tomorrow is tricky. Who knows, I might have the strength to carry on to the station in Benifaillet. I won't know until I am in Xerta. And tomorrow is stormy weather again... Although they said there would be thunderstorms today as well but I didn't see much of them.

The station in Benifaillet looks stunning. I like how they combine the more luxurious guest house with the albergue part.
 

dagreen

New Member
Year of past OR future Camino
El Frances (2013)
The station at Benifallet does a nice dinner menu. The albergue rooms also have air conditioning. The walk from Benifallet to Gandesa can be quite challenging on a hot humid day in my opinion.
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
I know, tomorrow is tricky. Who knows, I might have the strength to carry on to the station in Benifaillet. I won't know until I am in Xerta. And tomorrow is stormy weather again... Although they said there would be thunderstorms today as well but I didn't see much of them.
If you get to the station in Benifallet, even if they are full, they will pull out a tent for you if you’re a peregrino. It was a very comfortable night, so go for it!!!
 
Year of past OR future Camino
2019
Coming late to the party, and so glad to see you made it @Bad Pilgrim !
I am not in shape to walk more than 20 kms to Sant Carles de la Ràpita tomorrow, but I will give it a try 😞
One of the worst slogs I have had to live through
I feel for you. Thank goodness for flat flat flat! No doubt by the time the hills come you'll be in shape, but for now...grf. May your covidtime legs be transformed into camino legs very soon!
Buen camino, amigo.
And thank you for sharing. This sure beats following a virtual camino.
 
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Bad Pilgrim

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2021
Day 3: Tortosa to Xerta, 17 kms

This day will go down in (my) history as the most expensive day ever on a Camino: 77 euros for a room in Casa Cermines, in Xerta. The thing is that I called Benifallet three times with no answer. I can't keep doing that all day. I also could have asked at the private albergue in Xerta - I was right outside their door - but when I saw "Youth hostel" (in catalan, of course) embroidered above the entrance... Ooh no, not me, not today. I have managed to avoid the STSC (Screaming Teenagers' Summer Camp) so far; I will not fall into their trap again. And I can look forward to a much more convenient price in Gandesa tomorrow.

Today started with a thunderstorm. I found shelter at the last bus stop in the outskirts of Tortosa, just in time. First it hailed, then came the torrential rain. Some of the passing cars had their headlights on, that is how dark it got. I had to stand on a bench to avoid the water that came rushing down the street, while I fought to protect myself with my umbrella from the rain that blew sideways straight into the bus shelter. Luckily there were no more outbursts the rest of the day. But the skies were dark and I kept hearing thunder rolling all the way to Xerta. Once again I was walking next to the canal! I must say I long to see something else tomorrow, for example the ghostly tunnels in the mountains 👻!

Today's pictures are from a flooded Camino (1 picture; don't ask how I got through there) and a bit of sightseeing in Xerta. Lastly a few pictures from the hotel: I think all albergues on the Caminos should look like this, right?? I will send these picture to the Xunta to give them something to work with...!
 

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SabineP

Camino = Gratitude + Compassion.
Year of past OR future Camino
some and then more. see my signature.
Oh @Bad Pilgrim : what a day! That first pic reminds me of my second day on the Camino de Ebro ( I started from Zaragoza ). I'm glad you were able to find that busstop.

Sorry but I had to laugh with the description "STSC ". You certainly deserve that gorgeous hotel! I see that most rooms have a bathtub! Enjoy!

Have a nice evening!
 
Year of past OR future Camino
2019
I had to stand on a bench to avoid the water that came rushing down the street, while I fought to protect myself with my umbrella from the rain that blowed sideways straight into the bus shelter.
What an image. No Bad Pilgrim, you: putting up with what the camino throws at you with and elan! And humor in the telling.
Enjoy the quite justifiable comfort, BP!

If it's any comfort, a friend on the Via Tolosana got caught in the same kind of weather this afternoon, saying he was "soaked to the arteries."

I will send these picture to the Xunta to give them something to work with...!
Oh, yes. Excellent idea.
😂🤣
 

palmah

Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2010
Day 3: Tortosa to Xerta, 17 kms

This day will go down in (my) history as the most expensive day ever on a Camino: 77 euros for a room in Casa Cermines, in Xerta. The thing is that I called Benifallet three times with no answer. I can't keep doing that all day. I also could have asked at the private albergue in Xerta - I was right outside their door - but when I saw "Youth hostel" (in catalan, of course) embroidered above the entrance... Ooh no, not me, not today. I have managed to avoid the STSC (Screaming Teenagers' Summer Camp) so far; I will not fall into their trap again. And I can look forward to a much more convenient price in Gandesa tomorrow.

Today started with a thunderstorm. I found shelter at the last bus stop in the outskirts of Tortosa, just in time. First it hailed, then came the torrential rain. Some of the passing cars had their headlights on, that is how dark it got. I had to stand on a bench to avoid the water that came rushing down the street, while I fought to protect myself with my umbrella from the rain that blew sideways straight into the bus shelter. Luckily there were no more outbursts the rest of the day. But the skies were dark and I kept hearing thunder rolling all the way to Xerta. Once again I was walking next to the canal! I must say I long to see something else tomorrow, for example the ghostly tunnels in the mountains 👻!

Today's pictures are from a flooded Camino (1 picture; don't ask how I got through there) and a bit of sightseeing in Xerta. Lastly a few pictures from the hotel: I think all albergues on the Caminos should look like this, right?? I will send these picture to the Xunta to give them something to work with...!
Buen Camino👏🏻!! I am enjoying your account and hoping for better weather and scenery for you!
 
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Bad Pilgrim

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2021
Day 4: Xerta - Gandesa, 26 kms

It is easy to walk from Casa Cermines to the old train station in Xerta. Next to the station it says "Vía Verde" and then you just start walking. I arrived pretty soon at the station-albergue in Benifallet, where a few groups of cyclists were preparing their excursions in the morning. The station looked nice, but isolated in the mountains. I didn't check if the restaurant/bar was open, I prefered to carry on. The tunnels highly amused me: some of them didn't have lights so I used my flashlight. All the while there were cyclists coming from both directions. But not many walkers. Nice views on both sides: of the river and of the mountains all around. Unfortunately, some tunnels were muddy from the rain the previous days, especially at the entrance and at the end where the sun doesn't dry out the mud. First picture below!

Fontcalda should have been signed better. Yes, you can see the buildings from above and I knew I was going there, but people who don't use the guidebook will be lured into yet another tunnel that lies straight ahead instead of turning right down the gorge. There is a pole with the direction and the distance to Foncalda and Gandesa here, but it wasn't placed right on the Camino.

The bar in Fontcalda was open! Only during summer said the guidebook, so in June I already knew there was a good chance. But the bar is not seen from the Camino. I found it only when I walked up a hundred meters to check out the church (monastery?). I didn't see any working fountain though. If you are walking Xerta - Gandesa in other seasons, with no bar open in Fontcalda, you have to bring something to eat from Xerta. And copious amounts of water.

Leaving Fontcalda was tricky. There are two ways indicated at the bottom of the gorge. One says Gandesa 11 kms (right), the other days Gandesa 9 kms (left). Of course I chose the shortest one. And a quick glance in my guidebook assured me this was the right way. But the steps amongst the rocks (see pictures below) ended abruptly in the river after a few hundred meters. A dead end? It took me a while to discover an overgrown trail and a faint arrow on a tree, which let me continue.

Then I began walking Up Up Up. That is why there are no more pictures of the trail from here: I only took the mandatory photo of the sculpture with the two feet, see below, and then I let my cell phone rest. I needed to concentrate on my walking. I could very well see the enchanting surroundings, the gorge and the mountain tops, that other pilgrims have described. But if I would have stopped to take pictures, I would never have had the strength to get this deplorable body cranked up and going again. And it kept getting steeper and steeper, now in the increasing heat. I thought my heart would snap a few times, but in the end I made it. Bring water, or perish!

Luckily the last kms are downhill (but with some ups and downs). Gandesa couldn't come too soon, and thanks to SabineP I found Hotel Piqué for 39 euros. Which is a steal any day of the week compared to the extravaganza in Casa Cermines in Xerta. Now I have to track down an equally managable price in Fabara... Stay tuned!

Edit: I found the number to Señora Teresa in Fabara in Laurie's notes from 2016. At first no luck; an hour later she answered! Holy hailstorm, I would be sleeping in a ditch if it wasn't for this Forum! 😁
 

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NorthernLight

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Le Puy to Santiago via the Frances 2012-2013. EPW2015
Aragonese & Frances 2016
Burgos to Muxia 2017
Are those tunnels still active rail lines?
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
BP, those are gorgeous pictures! I am so sorry you seem to have missed the Civil War Museum in Gandesa. It is one of my all-time camino favorites. Just a little local museum, with some videos and displays. What really got to me was the long long glass display case of many rows of big US belt buckles. These were all picked up in the field after the big battle of the Ebro, from the many Lincoln Brigade soldiers who fought and died here. So many young idealists, gone way too soon.

But on to Fábara! Just to say (which you probably already know if you’ve read my notes), you can get the key to the Roman mausoleum from a bar in town, then walk out the few kms and open it up yourself. Kind of spooky, but it was pretty cool. When I was in there, I remember a couple of young women from town were walking by and had never been inside, so I let them in!
 

Bad Pilgrim

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2021
No, it’s part of a Via Verde, a bike and walking path.

A train coming towards me in one of those tunnels ... With my usual bad luck, I wouldn't be surprised 😩...!

I saw so many buildings that looked like the Benifallet station along the way. Are they all abandoned train stations? But why so many of them in the middle of nowhere? Perhaps they were just abandoned houses. But they all looked the same to me.
 
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Bad Pilgrim

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Year of past OR future Camino
2021
You can get the key to the Roman mausoleum from a bar in town, then walk out the few kms and open it up yourself. Kind of spooky, but it was pretty cool.

Had I known this, I hadn't needed to search so long for accomodation in Fabara 😁! A night in the mausoleum would beat even the haunted sportshall in Campillo de Altobuey 👻!
 
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Camino Chrissy

Take one step forward...then keep on walking..
Year of past OR future Camino
Frances 2015;
Norte/Primitivo 2016;
Frances 2017;
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Portuguese/FishermanTr. 2019
I saw "Youth hostel" (in catalan, of course) embroidered above the entrance... Ooh no, not me, not today. I have managed to avoid the STSC (Screaming Teenagers' Summer Camp) so far; I will not fall into their trap again.
BP, you are one of the lucky forum members walking a Camino at this time and your updates are interesting to read.
You have given me my first laugh of the morning with these words, and they are so very true with my own limited experiences.😅
 

Bad Pilgrim

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2021
Day 5: Gandesa - Fabara, 30 kms

I must have recovered from the hike in the mountains yesterday, because my feet felt just fine this morning. For the first twelve kms to Batea today, they would be in their natural habitat: an asphalted road. Aah! Asphalt! Feet, rejoice! And a man wished me Buen Camino, my first so far. We hade a brief conversation before I moved on. I took some pictures here and there: I very much liked the scenery today. The rolling countryside, the vineyards, the abandoned houses, and... the dinosaur farm...?? (Picture 2). I didn't spot any dinos though.

Batea was small, but beautiful. I read that some pilgrims have stayed the night there. I totally understand why: the square, the medieval streets, the interesting arches... There must be things to explore!

Unfortunately, SCI (Screaming Children International) occupied most of the spaces in town when I arrived. Not only the square, but also the narrow streets that lead up to the church. Together with their leaders, they prevented tourists, inhabitants and pilgrims alike from strolling freely. I was somewhat baffled. I wonder if they had asked permission from the Ayuntamiento, or if they just decided to set up camp where they thought was fine. The little ones had sieged the Plaza Mayor, while the teenagers effectively blocked every single medieval street with colored plastic cones. Their game seemed to consist of chasing each other between the cones, possibly with extra points to the one who yelled the most. This rant is not insignificant! It meant that I couldn't freely search for the Camino through Batea, which annoyed me. Luckily my guidebook advised me to just look for the road T-723 and take it from there, which I did.

After a few kms, at the cross (picture 7), the asphalt gave way to a dirt road that led me out in the countryside again. Beautiful but dry; not a single drop of water in sight until I crossed the river Algars. The river wasn't totally dry in spite of the summer heat. I wonder if it will still carry water in July, August...? I could hear all sorts of wildlife rustling in the bushes next to the riverbed, but had no luck in spotting anything.

Before the river, there was a crossroad with several Camino signs and GR indications all over the place. According to the guidebook, this is the border between Cataluña and Aragón. So this evening I am in my first town in Aragón: Fabara, 18 kms from Batea.

Señora Teresa picked me up by car at the school building, but her house is really just a few blocks away. 25 euros for a cool, cosy room in her tidy house. And she has a washing mashine, which makes her my new best friend. There is a construction worker of some sort also staying there, so there are two of us staying tonight.

Tomorrow: Caspe! Don't go anywhere.
 

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Suzanne S.

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
(2015) Camino Frances/Muxia/Fisterre (2017) Caminho Portuguese/Fisterre
(2019) Camino del Norte
@Bad Pilgrim ! I am delighted to have found this string. I have been building myself a route (as if no one else has ever done this) from Barcelona to Burgos, and like @peregrina2000 , I am considering taking the Ebro to Gallur...but your descriptions may make me change my starting point...

At this point, a 2022 Camino is a nice fantasy for me, but...I am following your progress. Thank you so much!
 
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Bad Pilgrim

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2021
@Bad Pilgrim ! I am delighted to have found this string. I have been building myself a route (as if no one else has ever done this) from Barcelona to Burgos, and like @peregrina2000 , I am considering taking the Ebro to Gallur...but your descriptions may make me change my starting point...

At this point, a 2022 Camino is a nice fantasy for me, but...I am following your progress. Thank you so much!

Hi Suzanne,

I am glad to hear about your plans for 2022! Please tell us more about your route-building! I guess it will be the Castellano-Aragonés then? I am no expert on that one, but it seems like it hooks up with the Camino de la Lana before Burgos. And the Lana is fantastic!!
 

Suzanne S.

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
(2015) Camino Frances/Muxia/Fisterre (2017) Caminho Portuguese/Fisterre
(2019) Camino del Norte
Hi Suzanne,

I am glad to hear about your plans for 2022! Please tell us more about your route-building! I guess it will be the Castellano-Aragonés then? I am no expert on that one, but it seems like it hooks up with the Camino de la Lana before Burgos. And the Lana is fantastic!!
Yes, that is what is exactly what is currently on paper! I think I would stay on the Frances over the Meseta, because I love the Meseta, then head to the Invierno/Sanabres into Santiago. Haven't thought that part completely through, yet.
 
Year of past OR future Camino
2019
the dinosaur farm...?? (Picture 2). I didn't spot any dinos though.
Unfortunately, SCI (Screaming Children International) occupied most of the spaces in town when I arrived.
Don't go anywhere.
What, are you kidding? The suspense is gripping. Will SCI end up at the dino farm?
And what then??
Meanwhiley you have walked serenely on.
Buen camino, good pilgrim!

I think I would stay on the Frances over the Meseta, because I love the Meseta, then head to the Invierno/Sanabres into Santiago. Haven't thought that part completely through, yet.
This is a wonderful plan you have!
It's what I did off the Vasco in 2019, staying in small mid-stage places to minimize the culture shock of the crowds. Once on the Invierno it's back to quiet.
 
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Bad Pilgrim

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2021
Day 6: Fabara - Caspe, 21 kms

Mr Construction Worker and I had a little chat yesterday. Finally someone to talk to! Mostly about Spanish history, since I told him where I started and about the towns I had walked through. He had stayed several months at Señora Teresa's place, so he has met a few pilgrims by now. But he had never heard about the Ruta del Ebro before he moved in, so the first pilgrims who arrived had taken him by surprise! He told me that the last couple had stayed eight days ago. They had said that they walked to Santiago de Compostela in order to... get protection from Covid. I rest my case.

I could hear the rain all night through, and it was still raining when I stepped outside in the morning. It has been raining, at least part of the day, every second day since I started walking.

The first kms from Fabara were muddy and I had to slow down. I knew it would take me all day to get to Caspe in this weather. But once the trail started to ascend there were more pebbles than mud to walk on, and the rain gradually subsided. But there would be a soft rain and dark skies all the way to Caspe, where the sun finally appeared.

I walked 21 kms whithout any place to get food or water. (I highly suspect they were more than 21 kms though.) I saw one car and one guy walking, otherwise I was all on my own. Guidebook says it is an arid stage, but as it was rainy that was not the case today. I took few pictures because my cellphone was stowed away in my backpack most of the time, to protect it from the rain. The best part was the Sierra de Caspe, where the Camino follows the ridge with clear views (ok, somewhat misty today) on both sides. After the descent from the ridge starts the arid landscape: boulders and rocks in all sizes and shapes on the right side, vineyards or fruit trees on the left side. This seemed to go on forever and ever, until I got closer to the highway and knew that Caspe was within reach.

About 6 kms before Caspe, I stumbled upon this huge memorial to the International Brigades (picture 4). The sculpture looked so cold and lonely on the hill, watching over the motorway and the fields in the wind and the rain. Someone had laid down a few flowers. The sculpture is from March 2018, so it seems that new memorials of the war still pop up here and there in the region.

In Caspe I marched directly towards the hostal-bar El Surtidor, since it was easy to find along the main street and I desperately needed a café con leche. About 26 euros. (The room, not the coffee.) I saw the indications to the Ermita Santa María and to the Torre de Salamanca, but I was too tired to go there... I guess the memorial of the Civil War will count as the cultural extravaganza of the day. Mr Construction Worker told me there would be a lot of historical thingies to see in Caspe, but... I need my siesta first...
 

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SabineP

Camino = Gratitude + Compassion.
Year of past OR future Camino
some and then more. see my signature.
The historical thingies will still be there for some time ;).
And that other couple...say not more! No really I will say no more seeing talking about religion ends not well most of the times...
El Surtidor look nice enough! I do like the hostales that also have a bar . Means breakfast tomorrow morning!
Tomorrow wil be a long etapa, unless you will break up the stage and stop in Chiprana?
Either way : rest well!
 
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Bad Pilgrim

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2021
The histoirical thingies will still be there for some time ;).
And that other couple...say not more! No really I will say no more seeing talking about religion ends not well most of the times...
El Surtidor look nice enough! I do like the hostales that also have a bar . Means breakfast tomorrow morning!
Tomorrow wil be a long etapa, unless you will break up the stage and stop in Chiprana?
Either way : rest well!
I just phoned the Pension Mayor in Escatrón: 26 euros. (Hostal Embarcadero didn't answer.) So I will try to reach Escatrón... Nice to know that Chiprana comes in between: I will definitely have something to eat there! Every day I am thankful to find somewhere to stay as it is not easy in this area...
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
So interesting that there is a tribute to the International Brigades built in 2018! That explains why I didn’t see it, since I passed by a couple of years earlier. And the last American member of the Brigades died in 2016, and I assume those from other countries are also now pretty much gone from this life, so it is interesting that they are building monuments now. I am not one to glorify war, but I do think the tribute that the (conservative Republican) U.S. Senator John McCain (RIP) wrote on the death of the last surviving member of the US brigade is a beautiful eulogy.

https://www.nytimes.com/2016/03/25/opinion/john-mccain-salute-to-a-communist.html

If you get to Escatrón tomorrow, go up to the new town and see if there are three women playing parhesi. They may need you as their fourth. I had a great time.
 

Bad Pilgrim

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2021
I am not one to glorify war, but I do think the tribute that the (conservative Republican) U.S. Senator John McCain (RIP) wrote on the death of the last surviving member of the US brigade is a beautiful eulogy.

I read glimpses of it: it is hidden behind a pay wall! Fascinating though.

The monument made me recall a story from my country. I actually thought about it for a while when I continued my walk. A young man fought in the Brigades and fell in love with a Spanish girl. They were 17-18 years old. Her family wouldn't let them marry, so he returned to our country. They kept exchanging letters though. For the rest of their lives. Even after having married other people and had their own families they wrote one letter a week to each other. Only in his late seventies did the man travel back to Spain to meet the woman. Before he died of old age... So there are those stories as well... It is pretty sad, I think...

If you get to Escatrón tomorrow, go up to the new town and see if there are three women playing parhesi. They may need you as their fourth. I had a great time.

I had to look that one up, never heard of it 😩! I hope it is not too complicated...!
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
I read glimpses of it: it is hidden behind a pay wall! Fascinating though.

John McCain: Salute to a Communist

AN interesting obituary appeared in The New York Times recently, though the death of its subject last month was largely unnoticed beyond his family and friends.

That’s not surprising. Delmer Berg wasn’t a celebrity. He wasn’t someone with great wealth or influence. He had never held public office. He was a Californian. He worked as a farmhand and stonemason. He did some union organizing. He was vice president of his local N.A.A.C.P. chapter. He protested against the Vietnam War and nuclear weapons. He joined the United States Communist Party in 1943, and, according to The Times, he remained an “unreconstructed Communist” for the rest of his life. He was 100.

He was also the last known living veteran of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade.

Not many Americans younger than 70 know much about the Lincoln Brigade. It became the designation given to the nearly 3,000 mostly American volunteers who fought in the Spanish Civil War in 1937 and 1938. They fought on the Republican side, in defense of the democratically elected leftist government of Spain, and against the Nationalists, the military rebels led by Gen. Francisco Franco.

The Nationalists claimed their cause was anti-Communism and the restoration of the monarchy, and the Republicans professed to fight for the preservation of democracy. Fascists led the former, while Communists, both the cynical and naïve varieties, sought control of the latter. And into the Republican camp came idealistic freedom fighters from abroad.
The Lincoln Brigade was originally called a battalion, one of several volunteer units that were part of the International Brigades, the name given the tens of thousands of foreign volunteers who came from dozens of countries, and were organized and largely led by the Comintern, the international Communist organization controlled by the Soviets. Franco’s Nationalists were supported by Nazi Germany and Mussolini’s Italy.

Spain became the theater where the three most powerful ideologies of the 20th century — Communism, fascism and self-determination — began the war that would continue, in some form or another, for more than half the century until the advocates of liberty, and their champion, the United States, prevailed.

Not all the Americans who fought in the Lincoln Brigade were Communists. Many were, including Delmer Berg. Others, though, had just come to fight fascists and defend a democracy. Even many of the Communists, like Mr. Berg, believed they were freedom fighters first, sacrificing life and limb in a country they knew little about, for a people they had never met.

You might consider them romantics, fighting in a doomed cause for something greater than their self-interest. And even though men like Mr. Berg would identify with a cause, Communism, that inflicted far more misery than it ever alleviated — and rendered human dignity subservient to the state — I have always harbored admiration for their courage and sacrifice in Spain.

I have felt that way since I was boy of 12, reading Hemingway’s “For Whom the Bell Tolls” in my father’s study. It is my favorite novel, and its hero, Robert Jordan, the Midwestern teacher who fought and died in Spain, became my favorite literary hero. In the novel, Jordan had begun to see the cause as futile. He was cynical about its leadership, and distrustful of the Soviet cadres who tried to suborn it.

But in the final scene of the book, a wounded Jordan chooses to die to save the poor Spanish souls he fought beside and for. And Jordan’s cause wasn’t a clash of ideologies any longer, but a noble sacrifice for love.

“The world is a fine place and worth the fighting for,” Jordan thinks as he waits to die, “and I hate very much to leave it.” But he did leave it. Willingly.

Mr. Berg went to Spain when he was a very young man. He fought in some of the biggest and most consequential battles of the war. He sustained wounds. He watched friends die. He knew he had ransomed his life to a lost cause, for a people who were strangers to him, but to whom he felt an obligation, and he did not quit on them. Then he came home, started a cement and stonemasonry business and fought for the things he believed in for the rest of his long life.

I don’t believe in most of the things that Mr. Berg did, except this. I believe, as Donne wrote, “no man is an island, entire of itself.” He is “part of the main.” And I believe “any man’s death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind.”

So was Mr. Berg. He didn’t need to know for whom the bell tolls. He knew it tolled for him. And I salute him. Rest in peace.
 
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