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Montserrat to Pamplona Nov ´23

Stivandrer

Perambulating & Curious. Rep stravaiging offender
Time of past OR future Camino
I´ve got Camino plans until 2042,
- or till I fall flat on my face, whichever comes first !!
I was walking the Camino Catalan very late in the year , via Huesca , starting early November from Montserrat.
Constant warm temperatures of 18 to 20 C through browned autumnal landscapes, with a steady wind from southwest for a full fortnight. No rain, though there were showers during the night, some fields showed signs of sudden bursts of green grass amongst otherwise withered fields. 14 days walking in constant sunshine in short sleeves, not bad at all for a Northener !
Apart from meeting a hospitalero going home to Barcelona, I did not meet a single pilgrim or wanderer on this route, in fact, I had a surprise reaction from a group of locals, when it appeared they had paid my meal. It was a lazy football Sunday and the only open bar that merely served pizzas from the freezer was the treat of the day. Asked how may passed this town since they were so surprised to see me doing the stretch and they said only 20 to 25 in a year!
Signage is exemplary through Catalunya, and scarcer in Aragon. After leaving Arrés, I returned to the road TO Arras, after returning, on the route I discovered the tall signpost had been knocked over and been placed in the bushes in reverse, so some distance lost. In the open after this, signed stones were turned over by the plough, paint chipped off or simply missing.

At this point, my luck was thinning out, as coffee stops and cafés were often closed and tiendas were not existing anymore. The bare fact is that now, after Covid and the general aging of the older population, the working young are drivingng out of their villages in their cars to their workplace, shopping for the elderly and their family and thus there is no longer any basis for the local shop, especially in the small villages on their lonely mountain tops...
So after a particularly long day, bereft of stops, getting lost due to missing signs, I found myself in Artida in a hostel that was sheer bliss to stumble upon, with ready kitchen service, despite being the only walk-in guest. A regular Michelin experience after some days austerity...
- So you really need to be two, to share a back up carrying capacity to compensate for unforeseen and sheer lack of food.

I used Callum Christies guide from 2021,


- which probably explained that no phone numbers were correct anymore and I had to rely on sheer luck to find the people who had the key to the local Albergue. Phone number on the door was more often than not outdated.

Apart from that and probably due to the very late time of the year, I got by and met some very helpful people who helped me out and gave me lifts; in the village Botoya, on the road to San Juan de la Peña, the private Albergue was closed and the local stonemason put me up for the night and cooked me Tortillas, slept under an ancient roof.
This is my first real ´saved just before dark´ moment ever !
Next day everything was closed down due to Monday closing day in both Santa Cruz de la Seros and Santa Cilia...I got a lift out ...
All this closing was also due to the fact that October marks the end of the season, November is really the time off for the locals. Time to see relatives, and then, in December in Aragon there is a new influx of ski tourist for the winter, or so I was told.
So I had really been fortunate to get as far I did, considering the month...

All this marked the sure end of this trail with what I was given at this time of year and when winter and the hard, cold wind from the North started, it was the final of my itinerary this time around, and I bused out from Monreal to Pamplona to nurse an oncoming cold... brass monkey and all that...

I need to do this last part again in a warmer season, but the whole stretch is to be recommended
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@Stivandrer How wonderful to read about your journey! I have walked this route a couple of times and have many vivid memories. It is my wish that one day I will again find myself there again. Indeed, the albergue in Artieda with its Mexican-inspired menu and artisanal patxaran is a favourite place along the way.
 
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My friend Paula and I are looking at this route from around April 15 this year.
I have to be in Pamplona by April 28 so we won't make all the stages.
We can either take the 4L, taking a bus from Buharoloz to Zaragoza, then a train to Pamplona.
Or we can take the 4S and train to Zaragoza from Monzon, then to Pamplona.
Can't decide which.
We are waffling all over the map, having looked at the Madrid route (but I've done it), the Aragones (I've done it), and now going to Barcelona and walking from Montserrat (on my bucket list).
Any suggestions as to which route might be better in mid-late April will be welcomed.
 
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Any suggestions as to which route might be better in mid-late April will be welcomed.
A visit to Monserrat is required. After that my suggestion is to jump ahead on the Catalan to where you can finish on the Aragonese after the Camino brings you to San Juan de la Peña (another requirement). Figure on a bus to Pamplona from there. Note that Gronze has Bolea to Santa Cilia on the Aragonese as two stages but there is no lodging at Peña Estación. Figure on three days, Bolea - Sarsamarcuella - Ena (or Botaya) - Santa Cilia. The Catalan should be gorgeous in the spring. I did it in the autumn when it was rather drab but I noticed lots of orchards that would be grand in the spring. I have no useful knowledge of the Catalan to Ebro to CF trail.
 
A visit to Monserrat is required. After that my suggestion is to jump ahead on the Catalan to where you can finish on the Aragonese after the Camino brings you to San Juan de la Peña (another requirement). Figure on a bus to Pamplona from there. Note that Gronze has Bolea to Santa Cilia on the Aragonese as two stages but there is no lodging at Peña Estación. Figure on three days, Bolea - Sarsamarcuella - Ena (or Botaya) - Santa Cilia. The Catalan should be gorgeous in the spring. I did it in the autumn when it was rather drab but I noticed lots of orchards that would be grand in the spring. I have no useful knowledge of the Catalan to Ebro to CF trail.
Peg,
My friend has never been to Madrid so we're spending 3 nights there, then 3 nights in Barcelona.
We've made those reservations.

Then we will take the train to Montserrat and hopefully stay a night in the albergue there. We hadn't thought about jumping ahead, as I've walked the Aragones route at least twice. Right now I'm trying to decide which route to take, 4L or 4S. I need to be in Pamplona by 28 April latest. And we aren't super strong walkers. I'd rather walk half stages at least at the start.

4S has us able to grab a train to Zaragoza from Monzon.
4L has us able to grab a bus from Buharoloz to Zaragoza

Either way we could spend a couple of days in Zaragoza then an easy train to Pamplona.

The big question is which of those two routes we'll take.
 
What about a day walking the final stage of the Ignacio Camino from Manresa to Monserrat? Both are incredibly important sites for St Ignatius and the Jesuit order, plus the albergue at Montserrat is for pilgrims walking the path so you’d qualify to stay there (versus simply being a tourist training in and out).
 
€2,-/day will present your project to thousands of visitors each day. All interested in the Camino de Santiago.
What about a day walking the final stage of the Ignacio Camino from Manresa to Monserrat? Both are incredibly important sites for St Ignatius and the Jesuit order, plus the albergue at Montserrat is for pilgrims walking the path so you’d qualify to stay there (versus simply being a tourist training in and out).
We stayed in Manresa for Semana Santa last year. It was awesome! I need to be in Pamplona on the 28th to pick up my group so I was hoping to do a walk that got me close. I think Joe and I are doing the Ignaciano next spring.
 
I think Joe and I are doing the Ignaciano next spring.

A lovely route but does require some careful planning in some sections due to the lack of accommodations. Enjoy this year's adventure!
 
Thank you! We are very excited.
I reserved an extra night in Montserrat and have made the bookings for the villages with no albergue.
:::happy dance:::
We will walk short stages and only to Monzon this year because I have to be in Pamplona by the 27/28 April but it will be nice to get part of it done. It has been on my bucket list for a while now.
 
€2,-/day will present your project to thousands of visitors each day. All interested in the Camino de Santiago.
I was walking the Camino Catalan very late in the year , via Huesca , starting early November from Montserrat.
Constant warm temperatures of 18 to 20 C through browned autumnal landscapes, with a steady wind from southwest for a full fortnight. No rain, though there were showers during the night, some fields showed signs of sudden bursts of green grass amongst otherwise withered fields. 14 days walking in constant sunshine in short sleeves, not bad at all for a Northener !
Apart from meeting a hospitalero going home to Barcelona, I did not meet a single pilgrim or wanderer on this route, in fact, I had a surprise reaction from a group of locals, when it appeared they had paid my meal. It was a lazy football Sunday and the only open bar that merely served pizzas from the freezer was the treat of the day. Asked how may passed this town since they were so surprised to see me doing the stretch and they said only 20 to 25 in a year!
Signage is exemplary through Catalunya, and scarcer in Aragon. After leaving Arrés, I returned to the road TO Arras, after returning, on the route I discovered the tall signpost had been knocked over and been placed in the bushes in reverse, so some distance lost. In the open after this, signed stones were turned over by the plough, paint chipped off or simply missing.

At this point, my luck was thinning out, as coffee stops and cafés were often closed and tiendas were not existing anymore. The bare fact is that now, after Covid and the general aging of the older population, the working young are drivingng out of their villages in their cars to their workplace, shopping for the elderly and their family and thus there is no longer any basis for the local shop, especially in the small villages on their lonely mountain tops...
So after a particularly long day, bereft of stops, getting lost due to missing signs, I found myself in Artida in a hostel that was sheer bliss to stumble upon, with ready kitchen service, despite being the only walk-in guest. A regular Michelin experience after some days austerity...
- So you really need to be two, to share a back up carrying capacity to compensate for unforeseen and sheer lack of food.

I used Callum Christies guide from 2021,


- which probably explained that no phone numbers were correct anymore and I had to rely on sheer luck to find the people who had the key to the local Albergue. Phone number on the door was more often than not outdated.

Apart from that and probably due to the very late time of the year, I got by and met some very helpful people who helped me out and gave me lifts; in the village Botoya, on the road to San Juan de la Peña, the private Albergue was closed and the local stonemason put me up for the night and cooked me Tortillas, slept under an ancient roof.
This is my first real ´saved just before dark´ moment ever !
Next day everything was closed down due to Monday closing day in both Santa Cruz de la Seros and Santa Cilia...I got a lift out ...
All this closing was also due to the fact that October marks the end of the season, November is really the time off for the locals. Time to see relatives, and then, in December in Aragon there is a new influx of ski tourist for the winter, or so I was told.
So I had really been fortunate to get as far I did, considering the month...

All this marked the sure end of this trail with what I was given at this time of year and when winter and the hard, cold wind from the North started, it was the final of my itinerary this time around, and I bused out from Monreal to Pamplona to nurse an oncoming cold... brass monkey and all that...

I need to do this last part again in a warmer season, but the whole stretch is to be recommended
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View attachment 161877 View attachment 161878


View attachment 161879 View attachment 161882
We have been watching a video by LZFILM on this route. We see that "they" don't want pilgrims to use the mountain trail from Montserrat but want us to walk the road? We are wondering about how long that road stretch is before it cuts off onto a trail? Just curious. Thanks.
 
Do check out the Juderia in Monzon-- it's the few streets around the Cathedral. The cathedral itself has a small plaque in the interior to two of the cathedral clergy killed during the civil war (IIRC Jose Jordan and Jose Nardal). This is an interesting part of Spain, known to few outsiders.
 
We have been watching a video by LZFILM on this route. We see that "they" don't want pilgrims to use the mountain trail from Montserrat but want us to walk the road? We are wondering about how long that road stretch is before it cuts off onto a trail? Just curious. Thanks.
I have been trying to figure it out and the Abbey to Can Macana is 14.6km along BP-1103-- from there one finds a direct trail to Sant Pau and to Igualada. When you get there you will see that the mountrain trail is very very very mountainous. I think that it would require a very very fit person.
 
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We have been watching a video by LZFILM on this route. We see that "they" don't want pilgrims to use the mountain trail from Montserrat but want us to walk the road? We are wondering about how long that road stretch is before it cuts off onto a trail? Just curious. Thanks.

I am uncertain of which trail you are being asked to avoid. It is a short stretch along the road from Montserrat before you come to the Camí dels Degotalls which is the way I have walked when going in the direction of Igualada.
 
I am uncertain of which trail you are being asked to avoid. It is a short stretch along the road from Montserrat before you come to the Camí dels Degotalls which is the way I have walked when going in the direction of Igualada.
Some years ago (2012) when I was at Montserrat I saw many yellow arrows signifying a trail to Santiago (I thought?)

In a recent video I watched, the man indicated "they" no longer wanted you to take the trail down the mountain, but to walk a certain distance alongside a highway. I'm just wondering how long the highway walking is, and if the trail ever returns to the mountain track.

And is it super difficult as indicated by oursonpoloaire's post above - do I need to be reconsidering? I've walked a lot of Caminos, but I am no spring chicken anymore! lol!
 
We have been watching a video by LZFILM on this route. We see that "they" don't want pilgrims to use the mountain trail from Montserrat but want us to walk the road?

Note: I thought I sent this post about 2 hours ago but it seems I never hit the "post reply" button. At the time I thought Annie was asking about the way to the monastery. Now it appears she is interested in the way from it. I'm going to post this anyway as it may be useful to some future reader.

I saw some LZFILMs before walking in 2019 but I didn't see that one. I took the Camino up to the monastery from Monistrol de Monserrat. At least at the start it and the GR 5 coincided. It's rather steep but I suggest taking it since you walk out of Monserrat will be on the road. Why see it twice? There is a small but VERY nice art museum up there in the monastery area.

This looks like the place I took to get the Camino where it leaves the town (coordinates near 41.609,1.8425). With StreetView you can see a white sign with an arrow pointing out the way to the monastery and also a white over red GR marker though I can't make out its number.

 
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Some years ago (2012) when I was at Montserrat I saw many yellow arrows signifying a trail to Santiago (I thought?)

In a recent video I watched, the man indicated "they" no longer wanted you to take the trail down the mountain, but to walk a certain distance alongside a highway. I'm just wondering how long the highway walking is, and if the trail ever returns to the mountain track.

And is it super difficult as indicated by oursonpoloaire's post above - do I need to be reconsidering? I've walked a lot of Caminos, but I am no spring chicken anymore! lol!
Certainly the route I suggested above is by no means a great challenge. It was a fairly short walk along the road before reaching the trail marked Camí dels Degotalls. I do not think you need to be concerned about the level of difficulty.
It was far more of a challenge walking up to Montserrat from Barcelona. I recall on our first time descending from Montserrat we somehow found ourselves on the wrong trial and ended up in Olesa de Montserrat. That was a challenging descent! If convenient, it might be worth your time going to the visitor information centre located in Montserrat to be given clear instructions and possibly a map. The hours of the centre are limited so best to visit the day prior to when you plan to head out.
 
Certainly the route I suggested above is by no means a great challenge. It was a fairly short walk along the road before reaching the trail marked Camí dels Degotalls. I do not think you need to be concerned about the level of difficulty.
It was far more of a challenge walking up to Montserrat from Barcelona. I recall on our first time descending from Montserrat we somehow found ourselves on the wrong trial and ended up in Olesa de Montserrat. That was a challenging descent! If convenient, it might be worth your time going to the visitor information centre located in Montserrat to be given clear instructions and possibly a map. The hours of the centre are limited so best to visit the day prior to when you plan to head out.
Ok thanks.
I'm in the middle of watching a group of grey-hairs walk Etapa 2 - Castelloli to Jorba.
I figure if they can do it, I can do it ::cackle::

I can imagine the walk UP to Montserrat would be quite a challenge and I'm honestly not up to that. We'll take the train and your advice to get a map is a good one. I suspect when we check into the albergue and get our Credential someone will be there to answer questions. Just trying to do a bit of pre-walk planning. We have changed our minds so many times about which route to walk, my head is spinning, but I was happy to finally settle on this one as it has been on my list for years. I'm getting excited.

Not a lot of videos or info. I did find a great document put out by the Associació d'Amics dels Pelegrins a Santiago - Barcelona which lists all the villages, kilometers, and services. It has been great to be able to book our lodgings ahead where there are no albergues.
 
Note: I thought I sent this post about 2 hours ago but it seems I never hit the "post reply" button. At the time I thought Annie was asking about the way to the monastery. Now it appears she is interested in the way from it. I'm going to post this anyway as it may be useful to some future reader.

I saw some LZFILMs before walking in 2019 but I didn't see that one. I took the Camino up to the monastery from Monistrol de Monserrat. At least at the start it and the GR 5 coincided. It's rather steep but I suggest taking it since you walk out of Monserrat will be on the road. Why see it twice? There is a small but VERY nice art museum up there in the monastery area.

This looks like the place I took to get the Camino where it leaves the town (coordinates near 41.609,1.8425). With StreetView you can see a white sign with an arrow pointing out the way to the monastery and also a white over red GR marker though I can't make out its number.

Thanks Rick.
We won't be walking up.
We're beginning our walk in Montserrat, taking short stages and ending in Monzon as I need to get to Pamplona and want to stop in Zarigoza first for a couple of days.
Maybe some time in the future we'll do the entire thing from Barcelona but not this year.
 
The 2024 Camino guides will be coming out little by little. Here is a collection of the ones that are out so far.
Indeed the information provided by the Associació d'Amics dels Pelegrins a Santiago is always revised and kept up to date. Sadly, it has been some time since I last walked the route. Long story short but I now find myself living in the Azores. I hope to return to live in Barcelona and walk this route again one day. As an aside, I am not sure of the current situation, but the last time we walked to Jorba we had to wait for some time for the albergue to open as it did not open until late afternoon. Something to ask about when you confirm your reservation.
 
Annie, I hope this helps. The link will show you a map and track that takes you from the monastery on a trail, then on a road for a bit and then back onto a trail until you cross a highway to Can Maçana where you pickup the trail that is the Camino. Slide the mouse along the profile and you see that Can Maçana is 5.9 miles walking from the monastery. BTW, click the Maps icon to choose OpenStreetMap or OpenTopoMap; they look easy to read.

 
Indeed the information provided by the Associació d'Amics dels Pelegrins a Santiago is always revised and kept up to date. Sadly, it has been some time since I last walked the route. Long story short but I now find myself living in the Azores. I hope to return to live in Barcelona and walk this route again one day. As an aside, I am not sure of the current situation, but the last time we walked to Jorba we had to wait for some time for the albergue to open as it did not open until late afternoon. Something to ask about when you confirm your reservation.
My family came to the USA from the Azores - Pico and Flores.
Beautiful islands!
 
St James' Way - Self-guided 4-7 day Walking Packages, Reading to Southampton, 110 kms
Annie, I hope this helps. The link will show you a map and track that takes you from the monastery on a trail, then on a road for a bit and then back onto a trail until you cross a highway to Can Maçana where you pickup the trail that is the Camino. Slide the mouse along the profile and you see that Can Maçana is 5.9 miles walking from the monastery. BTW, click the Maps icon to choose OpenStreetMap or OpenTopoMap; they look easy to read.

Thank you. I just saw this reply this morning.
 
What about a day walking the final stage of the Ignacio Camino from Manresa to Monserrat? Both are incredibly important sites for St Ignatius and the Jesuit order, plus the albergue at Montserrat is for pilgrims walking the path so you’d qualify to stay there (versus simply being a tourist training in and out).
I spent Semana Santa in Manresa last season.
It was wonderful!
I hope to walk the Ignaciano perhaps next year.
 

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