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Observations on the Aragones, May-June 2018

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Camino(s) past & future
Lourdes/Burgos/SdeC 77; Frances 12,15,17; Finisterre 17; Lourdes/Aragones 18; Meseta 19.
I did it. I'm glad I did it. I'm proud I did it. Great experience!

But once was enough, I think....

1. What you’ve been told is true. The Aragones experience is not comparable to the Frances experience. It’s different on all kinds of levels. That's not to say that it's 'better' or 'worse' -- just that it's different.

2. For instance: unless you’re intent upon pushing west to SdeC and securing another compostela, you can pretty much forget about the whole “sello” cult…. Sure, you can get stamps, (I carried a pilgrim passport I got from the Forum store) but nobody seems to care too much about them…. On the CA it’s really not about the stamps….

3. Do not assume that because you’ve done the CF that you can nonchalantly do the CA. The CA is far more physically demanding than the CF. A lot of tough ups-and-downs, longer stages, fewer rest stops, fewer bed-for-the-night options…. My aging back gave me trouble more than once, which is probably why I won't do the CA a second time...... You really do need to anticipate food/water/cash concerns in ways that you don’t need to do on the CF.

4. The bad news: the CA needs some major upgrades -- on both sides of the Somport Pass. It’s sometimes embarrassingly, even dangerously, neglected. The good news: I never got lost!

5. And there really are far fewer peregrinos! It’s much, much lonelier – until you finally arrive at Puente la Reina Gares, where the sight of all those CF peregrinos marching down the Calle Mayor will absolutely take your breath away.

6. Which is why I would not advise walking the CA alone. (I walked with friends.) I’d hate to have fallen and broken something on one of the more remote CA stages…. God knows how I’d have managed to get help!

7. Pray for fair weather. Rain creates more than one mucky, boggy spot on the CA. Trust me! Departing Sanguesa after a rainstorm was like wading through the Everglades! ...

8. And I certainly wouldn't recommend doing the CA at the height of summer. Wouldn’t be prudent. Too hot for me (at least after Jaca), I'm sure.

9. Starting at the Somport Pass would seem to me to be silly and artificial. I started at Lourdes and would highly recommend starting either there or at Oloron. (Fascinating place, Lourdes. - but then, I have a 'professional interest' in it, and have made several not-Camino-related visits to it! ... There’s a nice pilgrim office there.) ...

10. The Lourdes-Oloron scenery is absolutely Shire-like! And the climb up to the Somport Pass itself, no less than the descent to Canfranc, offers some of the most magnificent scenery I’ve ever enjoyed! Not hyperbole!

11. As far as ‘attractions’ go, the Canfranc Station is perhaps overrated, ... the Jaca Cathedral & Diocesan Museum perhaps underrated - for a small museum, it’s world class!

12. Detours to San Juan de la Pena, Leyre and Xavier Castle were absolutely worth it! ... Now, the only way my friends and I got from Artieda to Leyre was by taxi along the north shore of the embalse. Sad but true, but also zero regrets! ... I later skipped a walk through the Lumbier Gorge (aching back) but have regretted that ever since….

13. Sorry France – but the food and wine was/is better and cheaper in Spain! No contest! Best tapas I’ve ever encountered in Spain were quite unexpectedly found in Villanua, north of Jaca. Bar Asador Jose. But I must add that the French people I encountered before crossing the Somport into Spain were far more friendly and more accomodating that I would ever have expected them to be. Merci!

14. For me the least interesting stages were the last ones -- those between Sanguesa and Puente la Reina Gares. (Largely ruined by my back problems, to be honest. But I was probably just getting tired generally, I think....) If I were going to do the CA again (not likely) I think I might just pack it in at Sanguesa and head for Pamplona....

15. From Puente la Reina Gares it was/is a cheap-and-easy local bus ride to Pamplona, which was as wonderful as it always is – it's my favorite place on earth! ... And, my o my, after the CA was I ready for the fleshpots of Pamplona!

Pax. Fr Jeffrey
 
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frida1

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances April 11-May 11 2014
I agree the report is pretty accurate; I have very fond memories of this beautiful camino from May 2017. My partner and I started in Montpellier, France. By far, for us, the toughest part was the first 10 days out of Montpelier. The Pyrenees seemed easy after that; and the walk very beautiful.

My perception was that the Aragon's from Oloron was not physically harder to walk, but difficult in the logistical ways Rappahannock describes. I took a shine to Canfranc, but maybe not everyone would. Jean de la Pena and the Spanish villages on the way are beautiful, but very empty.

The only real disagreement I have is the food. Spain better than France? Never! I enjoy Spanish food, but not only was it a lot harder to come across, it lacks the finesse and variety of the French food we had. And absolutely, no comparison in the bakeries. Of course, all that is a matter of personal opinion.

I just hope more people enjoy this lovely camino. Thanks for the report.
 

NorthernLight

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Le Puy to Santiago via the Frances 2012-2013. EPW2015
Aragonese & Frances 2016
Burgos to Muxia 2017
I walked this trail alone and liked it for the solitude.

After Jaca, I noticed that the trail mostly paralleled a road, and I did sometimes opt for the road (not much traffic), rather than the trail, which goes along the side of the hills, through trees and scrub, with the attendant need to watch your footing all the time.

There were about 8 pilgrims at the alburgues at night, and when I failed to appear at the municipal one evening, the others noticed and made sure I had arrived (I'd gone to a private one that night in hopes of a better meal - which I got).

You do need to be more careful, and plan to carry more water & snacks. The gorge was gorgeous.
 

docpam

Pam
Camino(s) past & future
Lourdes, Aragonese May-June 2018 incomplete
After having done many other Caminos to note the waymarking on this route. Few signs. The signage on the French side was difficult to see, on the Spanish a bit better, but nothing like the San Salvador, Primitivo or the Portuguese.
 

Vacajoe

Traded in my work boots for hiking ones
Camino(s) past & future
2019 Biarritz-Pamplona-Lourdes
2018 Aragon/Frances/Finis
2018 Operation Sabre
2018 Marin Ramble
So glad the CA spoke to you like it did to me! For those who come after, the Lumbier Gorge is phenomenal and worth the walk. You can actually keep on that trail and walk to Pamplona, actually!
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances 2016, Mansill de las Mulas to Finisterre and Muxia 2017, Camino Aragones 2018
I am looking at the Aragones for late September, I like that it is a total change from the Frances. A question for those who have walked the Aragones in the past year or two: How did you handle the side trip to San Juan de la Pena? Walk all the way? Bus? Taxi? Overnight somewhere? I am thinking specifically about the descent leaving the monastery which sounds brutal. Did you go through the interpretation centers or just concentrate on the monastery?
 
Camino(s) past & future
Lourdes/Burgos/SdeC 77; Frances 12,15,17; Finisterre 17; Lourdes/Aragones 18; Meseta 19.
I am looking at the Aragones for late September, I like that it is a total change from the Frances. A question for those who have walked the Aragones in the past year or two: How did you handle the side trip to San Juan de la Pena? Walk all the way? Bus? Taxi? Overnight somewhere? I am thinking specifically about the descent leaving the monastery which sounds brutal. Did you go through the interpretation centers or just concentrate on the monastery?
My friends and I walked from Jaca up to picturesque Santa Cruz de la Seros -- lovely walk!-- where we treated ourselves to rooms for the night in a wonderful inn.... We arranged for the town taxi driver to run us up to the mountain top the next morning, give us enough time to explore, and then return us to Santa Cruz.... Worked well.

We did not walk down from the monastery -- people we respected had told us that it was difficult and slow, and we wanted to walk on from Santa Cruz and get to Puente la Reina de Jaca before day's end.

But I honestly found the walk from Santa Cruz down to the valley floor pretty darn tough in its own right! The marked way took us over tricky wet up-and-down goat trails that were obviously modern, not medieval -- chosen, I'm certain, for the purpose of keeping us off the paved road. If I were to go back I'd be tempted to stick to the road....
 
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fraluchi

RIP 2019
Camino(s) past & future
One every year since 2007
... How did you handle the side trip to San Juan de la Pena? Walk all the way? Bus? Taxi? ...
We took the tourist bus leaving Jaca to San Juan de la Peña, visited the Monastery and then walked back to Santa Cruz de la Seros, down the extremely steep (and at places dangerous) slope and eventually until Arrès through the valley.
 

Albertagirl

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2015); Ch. d'Arles: Oloron Ste Marie to Aragones; Frances (2016); V.d.l.P.; Sanabres (2017)
I am looking at the Aragones for late September, I like that it is a total change from the Frances. A question for those who have walked the Aragones in the past year or two: How did you handle the side trip to San Juan de la Pena? Walk all the way? Bus? Taxi? Overnight somewhere? I am thinking specifically about the descent leaving the monastery which sounds brutal. Did you go through the interpretation centers or just concentrate on the monastery?
@Sparrow in Texas
I booked the tourist bus in the tourist office in Jaca and took it up to the top to the interpretation centre, which I did not find very interesting. The bus waited for us to drive us down the hill to the old monastery. After we spent some time there, it drove to the bottom of the hill, let off at the trail at the bottom those of us who were walking on to spend the night at Santa Cilia, and took the others back to Jaca.
 

fransw

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances 2012; Le Puy - Conques 2014;Camino Aragonese Oloron Ste Marie - Puenta la Reina 2018
I did it. I'm glad I did it. I'm proud I did it. But once was enough - I won't do it again!

1. What you’ve been told is true. The Aragones experience is not comparable to the Frances experience. It’s different on all kinds of levels.

2. For instance: unless you’re intent upon pushing west to SdeC and securing another compostela, you can pretty much forget about the whole “sello” thing…. Sure, you can get stamps, but nobody seems much to care about them…. On the CA it’s really not about the stamps….

3. Do not assume that because you’ve done the CF that you can nonchalantly do the CA. The CA is far more physically demanding than the CF. A lot of tough ups-and-downs, longer stages, fewer rest stops, fewer bed-for-the-night options…. You really do need to anticipate food/water/cash concerns in ways that you don’t need to do on the CF.

4. The CA needs some major upgrades – in more than one place it’s embarrassingly, even dangerously, neglected. And there really are far fewer peregrinos! It’s much, much lonelier – until you finally arrive at Puente la Reina Gares, where the sight of all those CF peregrinos marching down the Calle Mayor will take your breath away.

5. For that reason I would not advise walking the CA alone. I’d hate to have fallen and broken something on one of the more remote CA stages…. God knows how I’d have managed to get help!

6. Pray for fair weather. Rain creates some very yucky, mucky, boggy stages on the CA. Trust me! My shoes were terminal well before walk’s end…. And forget doing it at the height of summer. Wouldn’t be prudent.

7. Starting at the Somport would seem to me to be silly and artificial. I started at Lourdes and would recommend starting either there or at Oloron. (There’s a nice pilgrim office in Lourdes….) But don’t omit the crossing of the mountains entirely – some of the most magnificent scenery I’ve ever enjoyed!

8. As far as ‘attractions’ go, the Canfranc Station is overrated, the Jaca Cathedral & Diocesan Museum underrated - for a small museum, it’s world class! Detours to San Juan de la Pena, Leyre and Xavier Castle were absolutely worth it! They absolutely made the trip! I skipped the detour to the Lumbier Gorge but wish I hadn’t….

9. Sorry France – but the food and wine was/is better and cheaper in Spain! No contest! Best tapas I’ve ever encountered in Spain were quite unexpectedly found in Villanua, north of Jaca.

10. From Puente it was/is a cheap-and-easy bus ride to Pamplona, which was as wonderful as it always is – it's my favorite place on earth. And, my o my, after the CA was I ready for Pamplona!

Pax. Fr J+
I do agree with your comments. I walked last May from Oloron on in bad weather conditions trough the Valley of the Aspe. I was walking alone and , yes, it was dangerous for a solo walker at some spots.
It was, as you said, a very lonely experience. There were many days I did not see a single pilgrim! So, there were beautiful landscapes and I liked the Monastery of San Juan de la Pena BUT I would not walk again this Way. It is tough and very lonely for a solo walker!
 

Albertagirl

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2015); Ch. d'Arles: Oloron Ste Marie to Aragones; Frances (2016); V.d.l.P.; Sanabres (2017)
I walked this route from Oloron Ste Marie, starting in mid September of 2016, through the Vallee d'Aspe in wet weather to Somport, and on to Puente la Reina and Santiago. There were a few challenges, but I never felt unsafe and I found the setting of the Aragones to be very beautiful. I much prefer it over the VdlP. There were others in all the albergues, but I walked alone each day. I will walk it again some day, if I can. It is the perfect camino for someone who is, by preference, a solitary mountain walker.
 

Vacajoe

Traded in my work boots for hiking ones
Camino(s) past & future
2019 Biarritz-Pamplona-Lourdes
2018 Aragon/Frances/Finis
2018 Operation Sabre
2018 Marin Ramble
We walked from Jaca to the new monastery, stayed the night at the parador there (surprisingly affordable), then walked down to Arres (a true jewel of the Camino for a number of small but important reasons). Actually, we got snowed in at the top so we spent TWO nights at the hotel! Rough life...

I found both the new and the old monastery sites worth a visit, so plan your time accordingly. It’s 8.5km via the road from Santa Cruz to the new site and that’s at a constant uphill climb. RT of 17km just for that section makes it a good one-day side trip from SC but a tough go to walk Jaca-SantaCruz-SJdlP-Santa Cilia.
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
We walked from Jaca to the new monastery, stayed the night at the parador there (surprisingly affordable), then walked down to Arres (a true jewel of the Camino for a number of small but important reasons). Actually, we got snowed in at the top so we spent TWO nights at the hotel! Rough life...

I found both the new and the old monastery sites worth a visit, so plan your time accordingly. It’s 8.5km via the road from Santa Cruz to the new site and that’s at a constant uphill climb. RT of 17km just for that section makes it a good one-day side trip from SC but a tough go to walk Jaca-SantaCruz-SJdlP-Santa Cilia.

And one more little thing about the visit to San Juan de la Peña. A little further on behind the new monastery/hotel, there is a beautiful viewing point called Balcón de los Pirineos. Great place for a picnic or a rest.

Vacajoe, I agree with you about Arres -- beautiful town, but extra special albergue. There may not be a lot of albergues on the Aragonés, but they are there right when you need them, well spaced and not a bad one in the bunch. Arres and Ruesta rank high on my all time favorites list!
 

Vacajoe

Traded in my work boots for hiking ones
Camino(s) past & future
2019 Biarritz-Pamplona-Lourdes
2018 Aragon/Frances/Finis
2018 Operation Sabre
2018 Marin Ramble
Both of those albergues were our favorites of our 46 day Camino! Due to snow in mid-April, we were the only occupants of the hotel in the “new” monastery - so that was also an experience (a bit like “The Shining” actually...)

I highly recommend making it up that hill to see both the old and new sites and spending enough time there to enjoy it. As a bonus, the area has rare barking deer that come out in the evenings! 775851F8-5649-4610-8DC3-5032B496DDC4.jpeg
 
Camino(s) past & future
Caminos Frances (x4), Finisterre, Aragon, Via de la Plata, Portuguese 2011 -2015. Hospitalero 2015
I walked the Aragones from Oloron to Santiago in Sept 2012, and found the albergues about 70% full - say about 25 pilgrims per day. I joined a camino family of 4 so it was never lonely for me. I found that the hardest part was the ascent up to the Somport Pass, due mainly because I lost my bearings and had to push through a rough and incorrect path. I agree that Arres is beautiful, both the village, albergue and the volunteer hospitalero. I found the route flashes (in France) and arrows (in Spain) to be adequate although nothing like the Frances.
 

High Endeavours

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF 13
VdlP 14
LePuy 15
Invierno DosFaros CP 16
88 Templ Japan 17
Sicily Arles-Santiago 18
Norte 19
Thanks everyone for all this very good information! We will be walking this portion as part of our "Camino For Alzheimer's Awareness" this fall. We will be starting in Lodève (just out of Montpellier) September 21st on World Alzheimer's Day to raise awareness for this terrible, incurable disease. We will be looking for and writing about the parallels between a long distance walking journey and the much longer and more difficult journey experienced by those who live with this disease and their supporters. After we reach Logrono my spouse will return to Canada and I plan to walk onwards, direction west. I have to finish by November 19th when I will have to depart the Schengen Zone. I expect to reach Santiago if all goes well, but the journey is definitely the purpose with Santiago simply a way point. I will be blogging daily about the walk and the parallels and also posting photos as I have on each of my walks. I have created a special purpose blog for this Camino: caminoforalzheimers.blogspot.ca I will be posting about this journey here and on the Confraternity's Facebook group page in September just before we depart. Thanks for listening:cool: Geoff
 

amancio

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances, Norte, Primit, Salvador, Portug, Arag, Ingles, VdlP, Leban-Vadin, Fisterra, Invierno, LePuy
I am sorry to hear your experience was so awful; I must say I enjoyed every step of it when I went there; the magnificent Pyrinees, the stunning Canfranc station (getting off that train on early evening feels like travelling in time) with all its stories of spies, the only part of Spain where Hitler had troops (Gestapo), the smugglers, the Jews escaping France... All very moving. The delightful walk down river Aragon, the city of Jaca, magical Arrés, the incredible story of desserted town Ruesta, the amazing gorge of Lumbier early in the morning all by myself, Eunate... so many reasons!

And all that joy, for me, was over when I reached Puente la Reina and the mad crowd of pilgrims. Time to go back home!

We both see the same landscape, but the sensations and feelings are completely different!

I will surely return to this Camino. Definitely.
 

amancio

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances, Norte, Primit, Salvador, Portug, Arag, Ingles, VdlP, Leban-Vadin, Fisterra, Invierno, LePuy
Actually, if you are interested in the historical time when Hitler's troops were acting on Spanish soil, you will love the documentary titled "El rey de Canfranc" (The king of Canfranc), a moving real story about a French officer who helped thousands of Jews to escape Nazi occupied France through Canfranc. To not miss it!
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances 2016, Mansill de las Mulas to Finisterre and Muxia 2017, Camino Aragones 2018
Here is my next question on planning: How would any of you plan the route to include the Javier castle, Leyre monestery, the foz de Lumbier and Sanguesa? Adding in all of these marvelous side trips, one could easily spend 2 weeks on the Aragones when so many walk it in only 6 days.
 

Vacajoe

Traded in my work boots for hiking ones
Camino(s) past & future
2019 Biarritz-Pamplona-Lourdes
2018 Aragon/Frances/Finis
2018 Operation Sabre
2018 Marin Ramble
Only six days means NOT seeing everything on the CA - it would be impossible. IF you started at San Juan de la Pena, you probably could do the spots listed, but that’s only a portion of the CA.
 

caminka

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
see signature
Here is my next question on planning: How would any of you plan the route to include the Javier castle, Leyre monestery, the foz de Lumbier and Sanguesa? Adding in all of these marvelous side trips, one could easily spend 2 weeks on the Aragones when so many walk it in only 6 days.
based on my experience, I would walk like this:
- jaca - san juan de la pena - santa cruz de la seros (casa rural)
- santa cruz de la seros - artieda (albergue)
- artieda - leyre (hostal or monastery)
- leyre - javier - sanguesa (small albergue, so it pays off to arrive early)
- sanguesa - lumbier - izco or monreal (both albergues)

there is a moderately priced hostal at leyre monastery. and if you are very lucky, the monks have a tiny room with one bunk and two mattresses, hobbit-size table and chairs, and a bathroom. in 2012 it came with a dinner and an interesting conversation.

research well if there are alternative routes from artieda to leyre (a gravel road paralleling the motorway?), to avoid the never ending winding main road. there was only one (very welcome) campside in 2012.
 
Camino(s) past & future
2002, Toulouse/Aragon 2005, Cami S Jaume/Aragon 2007/9, Mont Saint Michel/Norte/Vadiniense 2011, Norte/Primitivo 2013, Norte/Primitivo 2014. Norte 2015, Cami S Jaume/Castellano-Aragonese 2016
@caminka : I walked the north shore of the Embalse de Yesa in (was it 2009?? 2011??) and there was only one 2km stretch parallel to the main road-- I well recall standing alongside a helpful shepherd working it out for me with his GPS. In early June this year I planned to walk it again but events (long story omitted) caused me cut this stage out of my itinerary-- however, it so happened that the Jaca-Pamplona bus went along most of the highway and I saw how the 2km stretch was covered by water and, what was worse, the water had risen over the hot springs at Tiermas by the side of the lake, a disappointment to all hot-springs and mud-bathing pilgrims everywhere.

The gasolinera half-way along is much expanded from what it had been, and coffee etc might now be available. Otherwise there is no relief, toilets included, between Artieda and Leyre, on a 30km long stretch. This is unfortunate as it is most scenic, and both Leyre and Yesa are worth the visit, and Javier can easily be included if one is dipping down to Sanguesa.

PS-- Here is a post which I put up on a related thread with details from my 2009 walk: I've done the walk north of the Embalse de Yesa in 2009 and, aside from a small gas station with water and chocolate bars at the intersection of the A-137 with the N-240, there was Nothing At All between Berdun and Yesa (34km), although there were a few campings about 4-5km east of Yesa where I suppose I might have found succour. Almost all of the walk is alongside the N-240 with not much manoeuvering space for the pilgrim. The ruined town of Tiermas is a paradise for Spanish photographers but, for the pilgrim, the lakeside hot springs just to the east would be much more agreeable. If you don't mind making it a 38km walk, there is a sideroad from the Navarrese frontier which takes you up to the Monasterio de Leyre- perhaps if I can hitch a ride up the sideroad....
 
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caminka

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
see signature
I saw no sign of any old routes in 2012, never mind the baths. they were all under water (and I thought it wasn't even that high). I started in arrés but that was a very long and very hot day of about 40km, with the climb at the end up to the monastery. (that would be reduced to a managable distance if starting in artieda.) absolutely worth it, though.

I don't remember passing a petrol station but I obviously must have. there was no more campside under tiermas, but there was one shortly before the climb to leyre.

I hope that when the motorway is finished, there will be a shorter (if less tranquil) way along its gravel 'sidekicks'.
 

Karl Oz

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances
Portuguese
Aragones
Sanabres
Piamonte
Elizabethpfad
I did it. I'm glad I did it. I'm proud I did it. But once was enough - I won't do it again!

1. What you’ve been told is true. The Aragones experience is not comparable to the Frances experience. It’s different on all kinds of levels.

2. For instance: unless you’re intent upon pushing west to SdeC and securing another compostela, you can pretty much forget about the whole “sello” thing…. Sure, you can get stamps, but nobody seems much to care about them…. On the CA it’s really not about the stamps….

3. Do not assume that because you’ve done the CF that you can nonchalantly do the CA. The CA is far more physically demanding than the CF. A lot of tough ups-and-downs, longer stages, fewer rest stops, fewer bed-for-the-night options…. You really do need to anticipate food/water/cash concerns in ways that you don’t need to do on the CF.

4. The CA needs some major upgrades – in more than one place it’s embarrassingly, even dangerously, neglected. And there really are far fewer peregrinos! It’s much, much lonelier – until you finally arrive at Puente la Reina Gares, where the sight of all those CF peregrinos marching down the Calle Mayor will take your breath away.

5. For that reason I would not advise walking the CA alone. I’d hate to have fallen and broken something on one of the more remote CA stages…. God knows how I’d have managed to get help!

6. Pray for fair weather. Rain creates some very yucky, mucky, boggy stages on the CA. Trust me! My shoes were terminal well before walk’s end…. And forget doing it at the height of summer. Wouldn’t be prudent.

7. Starting at the Somport would seem to me to be silly and artificial. I started at Lourdes and would recommend starting either there or at Oloron. (There’s a nice pilgrim office in Lourdes….) But don’t omit the crossing of the mountains entirely – some of the most magnificent scenery I’ve ever enjoyed!

8. As far as ‘attractions’ go, the Canfranc Station is overrated, the Jaca Cathedral & Diocesan Museum underrated - for a small museum, it’s world class! Detours to San Juan de la Pena, Leyre and Xavier Castle were absolutely worth it! They absolutely made the trip! I skipped the detour to the Lumbier Gorge but wish I hadn’t….

9. Sorry France – but the food and wine was/is better and cheaper in Spain! No contest! Best tapas I’ve ever encountered in Spain were quite unexpectedly found in Villanua, north of Jaca.

10. From Puente it was/is a cheap-and-easy bus ride to Pamplona, which was as wonderful as it always is – it's my favorite place on earth. And, my o my, after the CA was I ready for Pamplona!

Pax. Fr J+
Hi Revley,

I just finished the CA in mid-July and just about everything you said resonates with me. I am recovering from jet-lag and a bug I picked-up just before I left last week, but when I am better I will post an account with my own reflections of walking this camino.
 

lunna

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
frances; portugues, lisboa-muxia; norte + to bayonne; vdlp; chemin du puy; voie d'arles/ aragones
I did it. I'm glad I did it. I'm proud I did it. But once was enough - I won't do it again!

1. What you’ve been told is true. The Aragones experience is not comparable to the Frances experience. It’s different on all kinds of levels.

2. For instance: unless you’re intent upon pushing west to SdeC and securing another compostela, you can pretty much forget about the whole “sello” thing…. Sure, you can get stamps, but nobody seems much to care about them…. On the CA it’s really not about the stamps….

3. Do not assume that because you’ve done the CF that you can nonchalantly do the CA. The CA is far more physically demanding than the CF. A lot of tough ups-and-downs, longer stages, fewer rest stops, fewer bed-for-the-night options…. You really do need to anticipate food/water/cash concerns in ways that you don’t need to do on the CF.

4. The CA needs some major upgrades – in more than one place it’s embarrassingly, even dangerously, neglected. And there really are far fewer peregrinos! It’s much, much lonelier – until you finally arrive at Puente la Reina Gares, where the sight of all those CF peregrinos marching down the Calle Mayor will take your breath away.

5. For that reason I would not advise walking the CA alone. I’d hate to have fallen and broken something on one of the more remote CA stages…. God knows how I’d have managed to get help!

6. Pray for fair weather. Rain creates some very yucky, mucky, boggy stages on the CA. Trust me! My shoes were terminal well before walk’s end…. And forget doing it at the height of summer. Wouldn’t be prudent.

7. Starting at the Somport would seem to me to be silly and artificial. I started at Lourdes and would recommend starting either there or at Oloron. (There’s a nice pilgrim office in Lourdes….) But don’t omit the crossing of the mountains entirely – some of the most magnificent scenery I’ve ever enjoyed!

8. As far as ‘attractions’ go, the Canfranc Station is overrated, the Jaca Cathedral & Diocesan Museum underrated - for a small museum, it’s world class! Detours to San Juan de la Pena, Leyre and Xavier Castle were absolutely worth it! They absolutely made the trip! I skipped the detour to the Lumbier Gorge but wish I hadn’t….

9. Sorry France – but the food and wine was/is better and cheaper in Spain! No contest! Best tapas I’ve ever encountered in Spain were quite unexpectedly found in Villanua, north of Jaca.

10. From Puente it was/is a cheap-and-easy bus ride to Pamplona, which was as wonderful as it always is – it's my favorite place on earth. And, my o my, after the CA was I ready for the fleshpots of Pamplona!

Pax. Fr J+
Good post, but I beg to differ - Canfranc Station is one of the absolute highlights of the walk, if for the history of the station alone. Agree the Jaca museum is superb. And the actual Aragones part of the Voie d'Arles was relatively (emphasis on the word "relatively") busy compared to the near empty French portion of the trail, at least early October this year, when I walked it - that relative emptiness itself being a dream. And, for my money, the entire trail, starting in Arles all the way through to Puente La Reina, has the Camino Frances beat by far - it is just, well, more natural! :)
 
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lunna

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
frances; portugues, lisboa-muxia; norte + to bayonne; vdlp; chemin du puy; voie d'arles/ aragones
Actually, if you are interested in the historical time when Hitler's troops were acting on Spanish soil, you will love the documentary titled "El rey de Canfranc" (The king of Canfranc), a moving real story about a French officer who helped thousands of Jews to escape Nazi occupied France through Canfranc. To not miss it!
I loved Canfranc station, but sadly, i think the numbers saved may have been in the hundreds, rather than the thousands - but either way, it is truly an amazing history and an amazing structure!
 

lunna

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
frances; portugues, lisboa-muxia; norte + to bayonne; vdlp; chemin du puy; voie d'arles/ aragones
I walked this route from Oloron Ste Marie, starting in mid September of 2016, through the Vallee d'Aspe in wet weather to Somport, and on to Puente la Reina and Santiago. There were a few challenges, but I never felt unsafe and I found the setting of the Aragones to be very beautiful. I much prefer it over the VdlP. There were others in all the albergues, but I walked alone each day. I will walk it again some day, if I can. It is the perfect camino for someone who is, by preference, a solitary mountain walker.
Agree on everything, except to me, the VdlP was my favorite :) But they're all great!
 

lunna

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
frances; portugues, lisboa-muxia; norte + to bayonne; vdlp; chemin du puy; voie d'arles/ aragones
I am sorry to hear your experience was so awful; I must say I enjoyed every step of it when I went there; the magnificent Pyrinees, the stunning Canfranc station (getting off that train on early evening feels like travelling in time) with all its stories of spies, the only part of Spain where Hitler had troops (Gestapo), the smugglers, the Jews escaping France... All very moving. The delightful walk down river Aragon, the city of Jaca, magical Arrés, the incredible story of desserted town Ruesta, the amazing gorge of Lumbier early in the morning all by myself, Eunate... so many reasons!

And all that joy, for me, was over when I reached Puente la Reina and the mad crowd of pilgrims. Time to go back home!

We both see the same landscape, but the sensations and feelings are completely different!

I will surely return to this Camino. Definitely.
Love your comments regarding Canfranc Station - I even ended up buying, and carrying (!) three heavy books I bought there regarding its history the rest of the way to Puente La Reina :)
 

Thea Camino

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Portuguese (Sept 2017)
Camino Aragones (Sept 2019)
We are walking from Somport to Puente la Reine in September 2019 and will be 3 persons. Any suggestions / advice especially with regard to auberges / hostels?
 

Karl Oz

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances
Portuguese
Aragones
Sanabres
Piamonte
Elizabethpfad
We are walking from Somport to Puente la Reine in September 2019 and will be 3 persons. Any suggestions / advice especially with regard to auberges / hostels?
It will still be warm in September, so take plenty of water. In some places you will be limited in the choice of available accommodation - there are some very small villages, in addition to larger towns like Jaca. Use guides like Gronze to get up-to-date information. The one place I can unreservedly recommend is the albergue in Santa Cilia, run by a lovely Swiss lady who will also cook a tasty and welcome dinner for you. If you are intending to undertake that gruelling walk up to the monastery then this is a wonderful place to end the day and recover.
I keep intending to write a few lines describing impressions of my own Camino Aragones in July of this year. Maybe your post will spur me to get on and do it!
 

Thea Camino

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Portuguese (Sept 2017)
Camino Aragones (Sept 2019)
Thank you and please do! I will be on the look out for your writings
 

Vacajoe

Traded in my work boots for hiking ones
Camino(s) past & future
2019 Biarritz-Pamplona-Lourdes
2018 Aragon/Frances/Finis
2018 Operation Sabre
2018 Marin Ramble
Water will be very important in September, so plan to carry a day’s worth since it’s not as readily available as on the CF. Arres and Ruesta were our favorite albuergues, plus I second the suggestion to hike the path to San Juan de la Pena (old and new) — we took the road due to April snow and found it to be a nice hike. The Santa Cilia albergue often allows you to stay two nights if you use the extra day for a RT hike to the monasteries.
 

sharon w

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances 2007
Camino Portugues 2009
Via Podiensis, Camino Frances, Camino Finisterre 2012
Cammino di Assisi 2014
Via Podiensis, Camino del Norte, Camino Frances(Astorga to Santiago) 2015
Aussie Camino 2016
There are some very good albergues. The municipal in Jaca is quite good and the hospitalero very helpful. I loved staying at Somport at Albergue Aysa and looking over the Pyrenees whilst enjoying a wine. Great after a hard days’walk. The lovely hospitalera in Santa Cilia cooks a delicious evening meal. We also stayed at Artieda and had a great dinner.
 

Beeman

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Primitivo,2017,Argonne and salvador,sept.2019
We are walking from Somport to Puente la Reine in September 2019 and will be 3 persons. Any suggestions / advice especially with regard to auberges / hostels?
I am doung the Argonne next september,but am starting in Lescar on the 4th. Buen Camino,and hope that we can run into each other.
 

Karl G

Member
Camino(s) past & future
August and September 2019 - Arles
So glad the CA spoke to you like it did to me! For those who come after, the Lumbier Gorge is phenomenal and worth the walk. You can actually keep on that trail and walk to Pamplona, actually!
I’m considering the CA for September this year and I’m wondering if you have more information about walking to Pamplona from the Lumbier Gorge?

Thanks in advance,

Karl
 

Vacajoe

Traded in my work boots for hiking ones
Camino(s) past & future
2019 Biarritz-Pamplona-Lourdes
2018 Aragon/Frances/Finis
2018 Operation Sabre
2018 Marin Ramble
Lumbier gorge is an easy and flat detour that is worth the extra kms following Sanguesa (or Yesa, depending on which route you take). It's just after the village of Llieda and drops you into Lumbier (nice hotel, no albuergue). From there, you'll end up walking to Monreal and rejoining the main part of the CA, so it's a small side-route that is really worth your time.

The route is clearly marked with its own signs, so do not get worried by the lack of any Camino arrows or shells -- you'll see those again once back on the main route. Use of maps.me or the Buen Camino app makes it even easier.
 
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Beeman

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Primitivo,2017,Argonne and salvador,sept.2019
I am looking at the Aragones for late September, I like that it is a total change from the Frances. A question for those who have walked the Aragones in the past year or two: How did you handle the side trip to San Juan de la Pena? Walk all the way? Bus? Taxi? Overnight somewhere? I am thinking specifically about the descent leaving the monastery which sounds brutal. Did you go through the interpretation centers or just concentrate on the monastery?
Lumbier gorge is an easy and flat detour that is worth the extra kms following Sanguesa (or Yesa, depending on which route you take). It's just after the village of Lumbier and drops you into Llieda (nice hotel, no albuergue). From there, you'll end up walking to Monreal and rejoining the main part of the CA, so it's a small side-route that is really worth your time.

The route is clearly marked with its own signs, so do not get worried by the lack of any Camino arrows or shells -- you'll see those again once back on the main route. Use of maps.me or the Buen Camino app makes it even easier.
So how was your trip! Mostly where you started from,the weather, and the route. Thanks, Bruce
 

Vacajoe

Traded in my work boots for hiking ones
Camino(s) past & future
2019 Biarritz-Pamplona-Lourdes
2018 Aragon/Frances/Finis
2018 Operation Sabre
2018 Marin Ramble
Mine was FABULOUS!!!!!! 😎. But I think you asking “Sparrow in Texas” right?
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances 2016, Mansill de las Mulas to Finisterre and Muxia 2017, Camino Aragones 2018
I agree with @Vacajoe, FABULOUS!! I wrote a posting titled My Recent Journey on the Aragones. I apologize that you will have to search for it. A few of us walked the route in 2018, for each the journey was unique and special.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances 2016, Mansill de las Mulas to Finisterre and Muxia 2017, Camino Aragones 2018
@Beeman, You will notice that we each of us planned our route a little differently to account for various factors. I specifically wanted to ride the train/arrive to Canfranc instead of starting in France, partly because it was a convenience having just spent the previous two weeks in Salamanca. On the way down the mountain I fell and would not have been able to manage the walk to San Juan de la Pena the next day so I splurged on a taxi. I suggest that before you go, do some reading on Spanish history. One can say that the Frances is all about arriving in SdC while this route for me evoked more serious thought about Spanish history.
 

Vacajoe

Traded in my work boots for hiking ones
Camino(s) past & future
2019 Biarritz-Pamplona-Lourdes
2018 Aragon/Frances/Finis
2018 Operation Sabre
2018 Marin Ramble
I’m considering the CA for September this year and I’m wondering if you have more information about walking to Pamplona from the Lumbier Gorge?

Thanks in advance,

Karl

Sorry, missed your Pamplona question the first time I answered your post! I will be walking from Pamplona to Lumbier this spring, so I’ll have specific info for you then. However, I can tell you it’s two long (or three shorter!) stages to do it and the route follows roadways and an old railroad route (the same that extends through Lumbier Gorge).

You can also continue down the CA until you reach a point between Monreal and Tiebas where you can head for Pamplona (about 13kms, but much less if you catch the city bus into Pamplona from near Noain after 5km or so)
 

alaskadiver

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
May 2017-Camino Primitivo
April 2019-Camino de Invierno
I just looked at Gronze and based on accommodations available this route can be extended to shorten all of the longer days. Basically creating something like 12 stages and starting in Somport.
My question is: I don’t want to walk on asphalt kilometers at a time. I’m looking for countryside walking due to my plantar fasciitis. How much road walking does the Aragones have as compared to say the Invierno which was close to 70%, imo.
My husband and I like solitary walking, and carry food and extra water is the norm for us. I’m also fluent in Spanish so no issue there.
Our biggest issue would be the logistics of getting to Somport from Alaska :) but that’s the fun part of planning for me.
 
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Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances 2016, Mansill de las Mulas to Finisterre and Muxia 2017, Camino Aragones 2018
Greetings @alaskadiver! I am one of those who loved extending the Aragones, for me it was 11 days. There was too much that I wanted to see and experience and I walk slowly. I flew from Dallas/Fort Worth non stop to Madrid. From there I took a train, high speed - new experience for me, to Zaragoza where I spent the night to allow a bit of sightseeing. From Zaragoza you can take a bus (3 hours) to Jaca and Canfanc but @amancio had suggested the regional train. I took the very early morning train so I could watch the sun rise over the mountains. It is a 4 hour trip twice a day up the mountain but trains allow you to move around and have a toilet and arrive at the historic station in Canfranc. Taxi Miguel right next to the station will take you to Somport without having to think of the bus schedule.

I am unable to quantify the pavement walking but my impression is that it was mainly in the towns and there were a couple of alternate routes to the pavement and places where it was a dirt road and not hard pavement.
 

Vacajoe

Traded in my work boots for hiking ones
Camino(s) past & future
2019 Biarritz-Pamplona-Lourdes
2018 Aragon/Frances/Finis
2018 Operation Sabre
2018 Marin Ramble
You can avoid most of the paved road walking (even between Jaca and Santa Cilia!), but generally you are on farm roads which tend to be hard-packed dirt with some gravel. In short, maybe actually worse conditions for plantar facitis.
 

alaskadiver

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
May 2017-Camino Primitivo
April 2019-Camino de Invierno
You can avoid most of the paved road walking (even between Jaca and Santa Cilia!), but generally you are on farm roads which tend to be hard-packed dirt with some gravel. In short, maybe actually worse conditions for plantar facitis.
For me asphalt is the killer. Gravel and dirt are fine as we wear backpacking boots and don't feel rocks. Even in the Infantry my husband says he always avoided paved road walking because the pounding is so bad on the feet.
Good info! Thanks.
 

alaskadiver

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
May 2017-Camino Primitivo
April 2019-Camino de Invierno
Greetings @alaskadiver! I am one of those who loved extending the Aragones, for me it was 11 days. There was too much that I wanted to see and experience and I walk slowly. I flew from Dallas/Fort Worth non stop to Madrid. From there I took a train, high speed - new experience for me, to Zaragoza where I spent the night to allow a bit of sightseeing. From Zaragoza you can take a bus (3 hours) to Jaca and Canfanc but @amancio had suggested the regional train. I took the very early morning train so I could watch the sun rise over the mountains. It is a 4 hour trip twice a day up the mountain but trains allow you to move around and have a toilet and arrive at the historic station in Canfranc. Taxi Miguel right next to the station will take you to Somport without having to think of the bus schedule.

I am unable to quantify the pavement walking but my impression is that it was mainly in the towns and there were a couple of alternate routes to the pavement and places where it was a dirt road and not hard pavement.
We generally fly to Seattle from Anchorage and then direct to Madrid, or for a cheaper flight what we did last month was Anchorage to Portland and then on to DFW to Madrid. Thanks for the details on getting to Somport. We too would need to overnight in Madrid to rest and then rest again in Somport before we started.

You went last September? How hot was it? For us anything above 70F is hot. And any issues finding accommodations open or available? We've been doing our Caminos in April and early May to take advantage of the cooler weather.
 
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Vacajoe

Traded in my work boots for hiking ones
Camino(s) past & future
2019 Biarritz-Pamplona-Lourdes
2018 Aragon/Frances/Finis
2018 Operation Sabre
2018 Marin Ramble
Consider flying into Barcelona, if possible. Buses and trains from there to Jaca and then up to Confranc and/or Somport (seasonal, so check your exact dates). There is little shade on the Aragones, so September May be too hot for you.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances 2016, Mansill de las Mulas to Finisterre and Muxia 2017, Camino Aragones 2018
I walked the last week of September-first week of October. I am like you, I do not walk well in temperatures over 70. The only hot part for me was going up the mountain to Leyre monastery in the afternoon sun. I had no problems with accommodations. The hotel in Lumbier was taking a vacation day but they gave me a room anyway.
 

Karl Oz

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances
Portuguese
Aragones
Sanabres
Piamonte
Elizabethpfad
I walked last July. Not too much in the way of road walking; just a few sections, basically near towns. Take plenty of water with you, as this can be a solitary route, and places to refill during the day can sometimes be sparse.
 
Camino(s) past & future
2002, Toulouse/Aragon 2005, Cami S Jaume/Aragon 2007/9, Mont Saint Michel/Norte/Vadiniense 2011, Norte/Primitivo 2013, Norte/Primitivo 2014. Norte 2015, Cami S Jaume/Castellano-Aragonese 2016
The local train from Saragossa/Zaragoza to Jaca is spectacular and rolls along by the Mallos and through the sierra. This is one of the most scenic parts of Spain and you are getting a treat which hundreds of thousands of tourists will never know about. As far as surface goes, my recollection is the same as Vacajoe's. If you are trying the walk on the north side of the Embalsa, you are in roadwalking country and it is not that agreeable, but on the main Aragonese, on the south from Jaca to Artieda to Sanguesa, you avoid this. PS If you have time, catch the diocesan museum in Jaca, which has astonishing romanesque treasures, taken from local parishes to safeguard them from art thieves.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances 2016, Mansill de las Mulas to Finisterre and Muxia 2017, Camino Aragones 2018
A question for @Vacajoe and anyone else, what were your stops on the Aragones particularly with regard to being able to figure in Sanguesa, Leyre and Foz de Lumbier? I did walk along the quiet old highway from Yesa to Liedena to fit everything in.
 

Vacajoe

Traded in my work boots for hiking ones
Camino(s) past & future
2019 Biarritz-Pamplona-Lourdes
2018 Aragon/Frances/Finis
2018 Operation Sabre
2018 Marin Ramble
Walked it twice, so chose different stops each time!

2018: Jaca - SJdlP - Arres - Ruesta - Yesa - Lumbier - Monreal - Tiebas - Puente la Reina

2019 (contra-walked): Lumbier - Sanguesa - Leyre - Artieda - Santa Cilia - Jaca - Confranc Estacion - Borce (on the Arles)

Having stayed at nearly all the albergues and talking with others who stayed in Undues, I can attest that you really can’t go wrong with any of them!

NOTE: we walked on the “old route” on the north side of the Yesa Embalse and it’s an unconditional NO! if you are thinking about that side! Nearly all road walking with parts on a very busy highway. The reservoir was at 60% and the old Camino path was completely submerged; perhaps if it was at 30% full it would be better, but as it was it made for a loooooong day
 

Amy Mello

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Porto to Santiago in Sept 15
Thank you for this thread. We're not starting til September 1 in Oloron. I was considering the northern route at the resevoir- initially thinking we'd walk but after this thread perhaps a taxi from Artieda makes more sense. I have booked a night at Leyre but was also interested in stopping at Tiermas if the water level is low enough for the baths to be available.

@Vacajoe - Wonder if you recall if there is a trail to Leyre from the old highway, or if the best route is to walk that road route thru Yesa and then up to the monastery?
 

Vacajoe

Traded in my work boots for hiking ones
Camino(s) past & future
2019 Biarritz-Pamplona-Lourdes
2018 Aragon/Frances/Finis
2018 Operation Sabre
2018 Marin Ramble
Tiermas is great IF the water is low enough. There’s an online site that shows the what % full the reservoir is so if it’s below 30%, you should have great access (at 60% it was completely covered). If it’s that low, a great deal if the old Camino route will be walkable, keeping you off the highway.

From Tiermas westward, most of the traffic moves back up onto the new superhighway, making the trail navigation better, though you still have to cross bridges and walk the route basically on the road. The old road to the monastery from the old highway is intact for walkers/bikers, but blocked for cars — a pleasant change from the rest of the route. 👍. After the monastery, you can continue on a very nice path down to Yesa and then onto Lumbier or Sanguesa.

If you have time, Castillo de Javier is worth a visit, as is the Foz de Lumbier. If you stay on the south side of the embalse, you can stay at Ruesta and then walk through Javier to the monastery.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances 2016, Mansill de las Mulas to Finisterre and Muxia 2017, Camino Aragones 2018
From Tiermas westward, most of the traffic moves back up onto the new superhighway, making the trail navigation better, though you still have to cross bridges and walk the route basically on the road. The old road to the monastery from the old highway is intact for walkers/bikers, but blocked for cars — a pleasant change from the rest of the route. 👍. After the monastery, you can continue on a very nice path down to Yesa and then onto Lumbier or Sanguesa.
@Vacajoe, would you please be specific about the “old road...from the old highway “ and the “very nice path down to Yesa”. I walked beside the road going up from Yesa being unaware of alternatives. For me, Leyre was one place not to miss.
 

Amy Mello

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Porto to Santiago in Sept 15
Tiermas is great IF the water is low enough. There’s an online site that shows the what % full the reservoir is so if it’s below 30%, you should have great access (at 60% it was completely covered). If it’s that low, a great deal if the old Camino route will be walkable, keeping you off the highway.

From Tiermas westward, most of the traffic moves back up onto the new superhighway, making the trail navigation better, though you still have to cross bridges and walk the route basically on the road. The old road to the monastery from the old highway is intact for walkers/bikers, but blocked for cars — a pleasant change from the rest of the route. 👍. After the monastery, you can continue on a very nice path down to Yesa and then onto Lumbier or Sanguesa.

If you have time, Castillo de Javier is worth a visit, as is the Foz de Lumbier. If you stay on the south side of the embalse, you can stay at Ruesta and then walk through Javier to the monastery.
BTW - I think I found that website for water level: http://www.saihebro.com/saihebro/index.php?url=/datos/ficha/estacion:E029. Will have to get lucky for it to be low enough for Tiermas but fingers crossed.
 

Vacajoe

Traded in my work boots for hiking ones
Camino(s) past & future
2019 Biarritz-Pamplona-Lourdes
2018 Aragon/Frances/Finis
2018 Operation Sabre
2018 Marin Ramble
Yes, that’s the water level site! 👍.

As for Leyre, the road from Yesa to Leyre used to continue past the monastery and then head down the hill again to meet up with the highway that used to run on the north shore of the reservoir. When the superhighway was started, they blocked that road and cars can no longer use it. Fortunately, hikers can walk around the road blocks and enjoy a car-free walk between Leyre and Tiermas.

Between Leyre and Yesa, there’s a newish hiking trail that parallels the road, about 20m off to the side and downhill a bit. It allows one to walk that route almost completely off the roadway. 👍
 

Pilger99

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
addicted since 1999 (Aragones, CF), lots of caminos in Spain and Portugal since then
Superhighway? Well, motor-way, freeway or autobahn will do. It has nothing special (maybe the costs?) and is still unfinished.

The northern route was hardly in use 20 years ago and disappeared about 15 years ago from guides and maps I know of.

With that years I heard many times about the resizing project, which seems to be still ongoing. They plan to reach about 3 times the old size of Yesa reservior. Some years ago the southern camino was already shifted more south. So was the road. Ruesta is at risk to be drowned. For the north they expect ~15km of the old trail will be drowned most time of the year. If the pantano is almost empty you can enjoy termal water from a sulphur spring in Tiermas. With the extension finished that will hardly happen anymore.

After Ruesta there was a shortcut trail along the southern side to Yesa and Lleire, which can't be used anymore.

It is still possible to walk from Undués (alb) to Sangüesa (alb) via Javier (Hostal). That route is even marked (wooden poles with a yellow stripe). If you want you can walk the road from Javier to Yesa (alb, pension) / Leire (hotel).
Our interest in Javier is the castle (stamp) and the churches. Never made it into the monastery. There are some bars/restaurants here and an adjacent village Javier with nothing special for us. Shade, benches, water and toilets you have for free, for the castle you have to pay a little fee.
I recommend to pass Javier in hot sommer days, because the walk to Sangüesa has no shade or other refreshment to offer. Just dirt tracks. If you look for refreshment before you have a pool bar in Undués's higher part.

Artieda has a Taxi firm in "town", but I would not take it. Enough alternatives have been shown.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Nearly every year since 2006, often walking more than one route.
I loved this route from Lourdes - it remains my favorite Camino of all!
I'm so happy you got to walk it, Father Jeff
 

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