A donation to the forum removes ads for you, and supports Ivar in his work running it

Advertisement

See the full Camino Forum Store here with many more camino products.

Over the sierra to Santo Domingo de Silos

alansykes

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Except the Francés
This morning I left the albergue in Gallur and said goodbye to the Ebro, which I've been walking up for the previous 11 days. Still in mudéjar country. Now in Borja, ancestral cradle of an evil brood. But the DOC Campo de Borja, if a bit heavy and strong for my taste, is very far from poison, and was most welcome after several hours being buffeted by the cierzo wind. Although in theory impossible to get lost, as Moncayo's distinctive saddleback towers over the valley to let you know the way, I still recorded 30km on a stage supposed to take 25, as crossing the motorway etc got me confused.

The landscape is definitely more highland here, even so close to the river - I came across my first chestnuts, and the indefinable smell of autumn in the uplands.IMG_20151020_123350.jpg
 

Attachments

alansykes

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Except the Francés
Venus was getting up close with Jupiter when I left Borja, so it was still only 9am when I arrived at the Santuario de Misericordia, meaning I didn't get coffee or a sight of their famously botched Ecce Homo, repainted disasterously by an over-enthusiastic local amateur. I had been meaning to stay at the albergue there, but nobody answered my (many) calls yesterday, so I decided not to risk going the extra 5km and finding it closed.

Above the Santuario is the charming renaissance cylindrical chapel of Calvario. The Camino crosses an empty high plateau of maquis-like country for the next several km, at some point in which I missed the arrows, and headed across farm tracks towards Tarazona, visible from far off, so no danger of getting lost - in fact I think my route was a little shorter and used a lot less tarmac than the official one.

Tarazona is a lovely spot: clean mountain air, a channelled river bisecting the town centre, great architecture - including lots of mudéjar, a narrow judería, an octagonal 18th century plaza de toros made up of arcaded houses, and an amazing cathedral in a glorious jumble of styles from Gothic, renaissance and mudéjar with a bit of baroque thrown in case you were getting bored. With a good lunch and a pleasant tapas crawl in the evening, it was really not a bad spot for my 8th and last night in Aragón.
IMG_20151021_092200.jpg
 

Attachments

alansykes

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Except the Francés
Tarazona to Ágreda was one of the best days of any of my caminos. It's nearly 500m of ascent but, once you've passed the slightly dull reservoir, you follow the melodious río Val up and up through woods being gilded with autumn gold, past waterfalls and through its cañon and then over high ground with eagles circling overhead. Just wonderful.

And Ágreda's pretty special too, nestling under looming Montcayo. I'm guessing it is to Soria what joyous Zafra is to Seville, with its murallas roídas, casas denigradas and portales con escudos de cien linajes. But plenty of current bustle as well.

Tomorrow could be a long day if I make it as far as Fuensaúco.

IMG_20151022_125145.jpg
 

Attachments

C

Castilian

Guest
Tarazona to Ágreda was one of the best days of any of my caminos. It's nearly 500m of ascent but, once you've passed the slightly dull reservoir, you follow the melodious río Val up and up through woods being gilded with autumn gold, past waterfalls and through its cañon and then over high ground with eagles circling overhead. Just wonderful.
I'm glad to see you enjoyed your entry into the province of Soria. The reservoir is still in the Aragonese province of Zaragoza. Roughly less than 2 kms later you were in Soria province (on the Castilian part of Castile and Leon).

And Ágreda's pretty special too, nestling under looming Montcayo. I'm guessing it is to Soria what joyous Zafra is to Seville, with its murallas roídas, casas denigradas and portales con escudos de cien linajes. But plenty of current bustle as well.
There are many nice towns and villages in Soria that are pretty unknown. There are also some nice natural spots (you've already discover one of them). If any of you wants to make an off the beaten track and non-camino trip in Spain, a trip to discover the hidden gems of the province of Soria would be, IMHO, a great idea.

P.S.: With a population of roughly 3000 people, Ágreda is one of the biggest towns in Soria province.
P.S.(2): just for the sake of accuracy, Zafra isn't in the province of Sevilla but in the province of Badajoz.
 
Last edited by a moderator:

alansykes

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Except the Francés
Tomorrow could be a long day if I make it as far as Fuensaúco.

]
It was and I did. Wonderful countryside and many beautiful things to see. About five Romanesque churches, three Roman fountains and a couple of strong towers, partly on a Roman road, and all with Moncayo's majestic bulk slowly receeding behind me. By one I was at Pozalmuro, which has pilgrim acogida in the town hall, and a very friendly bar - the only one in the 57km between Ágreda and Soria. Another time I think I'll start later and stay there.

The afternoon was a long one and, having left Ágreda with Jupiter and Venus playing kissy kissy overhead, the shades of night were falling fast when I finally reached Fuensaúco under a waxing moon. There are several buses from there to Soria, (reduced service on Saturdays, almost non-existant Sunday). The "bus stop" is horrible, involving standing by the side of the main road hoping the bus will see you in the dark and stop. Luckily it did. The same bus service also serves Aldealpozo, several km earlier, which might be a better place, as the main road, I think, goes through that village rather than by-passing it. Until somebody puts a nice casa rural at the half way point in Omeñaca (which, incidentally, has a very fine portico with lovely capitals on its 12th century church) there will be a problem crossing this despoblado country.
 

alansykes

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Except the Francés
Saturday was a short day: lovely lazy morning, noon bus back to Fuensaúco, then 13km to Soria. This is the fourth different place one of my caminos has crossed the Duero - well upstream of Zamora, Toro and Tordesillas. A modern footbridge takes you over a pleasant wooded island and on into the town. It's a less dramatic arrival than the other crossings (with the possible exception of Toro, where I arrived and left in thick freezing fog), and the river is shallower and faster flowing. If I ever do the Portugués, that will make five.
 

Attachments

C

Castilian

Guest
The "bus stop" is horrible, involving standing by the side of the main road hoping the bus will see you in the dark and stop.
That isn't (too) rare in rural areas. Not every village has a marked bus stop and in places where there isn't any external sign of the bus stop the bus stops at some point known by locals and the bus driver either in the village (e.g.: in front of a bar or of the village hall or...) or close to it (e.g.: at the junction of the main road that passes close to the village and the local road that connect it with the village itself). I recall some years ago I was in a bus making a local route in Cantabria (out of a camino to Santiago) and at some village 2 locals got the bus and asked the driver whether the bus made one or two stops in other of the villages along the route. The bus driver didn't know about the second stop and locals had to point out to him were it was (of course, there wasn't any sign whatsoever marking it). I'm not sure yet whether that was ignorance from the bus driver (what I find rare) or a favour he made to those old passengers (most likely due to the smiles of the driver) but nobody was surprised of seeing the bus stop to leave passengers at a point where it wasn't any bus stop signal because similar stops can be found in other rural places.

This is the fourth different place one of my caminos has crossed the Duero - well upstream of Zamora, Toro and Tordesillas.
If I ever do the Portugués, that will make five.
...and if you end the camino de Madrid you will cross it another time in Puente Duero. Oh, and if you walk the Ruta de la Lana you'll cross it at San Estebán de Gormaz...
 

KinkyOne

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
I'am not perfect, but I'm always myself!!!
Saturday was a short day: lovely lazy morning, noon bus back to Fuensaúco, then 13km to Soria. This is the fourth different place one of my caminos has crossed the Duero - well upstream of Zamora, Toro and Tordesillas. A modern footbridge takes you over a pleasant wooded island and on into the town. It's a less dramatic arrival than the other crossings (with the possible exception of Toro, where I arrived and left in thick freezing fog), and the river is shallower and faster flowing. If I ever do the Portugués, that will make five.
Hola, Alan,

I see that in 2013 you've walked Camino de Madrid and in Puente Duero & Simancas you should've crossed the Rio Duero also.
And in Toro you crossed it twice ;)
 

alansykes

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Except the Francés
Today was a lovely restful day ambling around Soria. It's a great city, with a fresh delight around every corner. The arches of San Juan de Duero were the highlight - amazing how pure Romanesque arches interlocking form the ogive Gothic arch: buy one, get one free. The totally pure Romanesque cloister of the concatedral of San Pedro was another treat - I especially liked the centaur hunting a deer on one of the capitals. The tympanum of Santo Domingo was fabulous as well - "the Bible in stone". So much to enjoy, and so much of it open as well - including the Casa de los Poetas, celebrating Machado and others inspired by Soria. By good fortune, this weekend is the end of the semana de la tapa micológica, with a big marquee in the Plaza Mayor promoting everything mushroom, and most of the city centre bars and restaurant doing a special boletus or setas-related tapas.DSC_0622.jpg DSC_0611.jpg
 

Attachments

C

Castilian

Guest
I see that in 2013 you've walked Camino de Madrid and in Puente Duero & Simancas you should've crossed the Rio Duero also.
In Simancas you don't cross the Duero but the Pisuerga.
P.S.: If I'm not wrong, he made just part of the Camino de Madrid and didn't go as far as Puente Duero.

By good fortune, this weekend is the end of the semana de la tapa micológica, with a big marquee in the Plaza Mayor promoting everything mushroom, and most of the city centre bars and restaurant doing a special boletus or setas-related tapas.
That's great but I would suggest not to miss torreznos either. The mantequilla de Soria is great so if you like butter, try to get it... (to get authentic mantequilla de Soria with DOP; go to one of the two pastelerías certificadas in the city of Soria. You can find their address -as well as the address of pastelerías certificadas in the province of Soria out of the city of Soria- at www.mantequilladesoria.com/content/view/14/9%20)
 

KinkyOne

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
I'am not perfect, but I'm always myself!!!
In Simancas you don't cross the Duero but the Pisuerga.
P.S.: If I'm not wrong, he made just part of the Camino de Madrid and didn't go as far as Puente Duero.
Ups, my wrong about Simancas. Thanks, Castilian! But you have to admit that it's just a few kms to the SW :)
 
C

Castilian

Guest
Ups, my wrong about Simancas. Thanks, Castilian! But you have to admit that it's just a few kms to the SW
Yes, it's just a few kms to the SW but sometimes just a few kms can make a big difference and this is one of those times. :)
The Pisuerga is one of the main tributaries to the Duero and a well-known river in Spain due, among other things, to the saying/expression: aprovechando que el Pisuerga pasa por Valladolid (that's a sentence used to advice you are going to say/make something unrelated -or barely related- with what you were saying/making before). So whenever you hear the expression, you can say, I crossed it once ago... it won't matter if it's off-topic and/or irrevelant for your conversation because you will be saying it aprovechando que el Pisuerga pasa por Valladolid.;)
 

alansykes

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Except the Francés
Sunday night's paseo was just as energetic as Saturday's so I was able to sample a few more setas. The almost full moon was out, so I could see Soria pura ... tan bella, bajo la luna. I had been tempted to take another rest day (staying at the Casa Diocesana Pío XII, €20.50 b&b, simple, comfortable, central) and stroll up to Numancia to see the site where the Celtiberians refused to surrender to the Romans and ”did a Masada", about 200 years before Masada. But it was a fine day and I seemed to have recovered from my marathon (+6km) of Friday, so I pressed on, mostly through deciduous oak dehesa, similar to parts of Extremadura's but without the happy black pigs busy turning acorns into jamón ibérico.

The villages are about as far apart, but much less depopulated than east of Soria, and most have casas rural etc, so rural tourism is clearly taking off. Stayed the night in the albergue (private) at Abejar (€31 dinner, bed & breakfast).
 

alansykes

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Except the Francés
I see from my Diario de Soria that scaffolding went up yesterday over the façade of Santo Domingo, for restoration works that could take months, so I was very lucky to see the amazing tympanum unobscured.

Today was a short walk through delicious smelling pine forests to Navaleno. Part of it was on an old railway line, which will eventually become a Vía Verde but at the moment still just has the rails and sleepers removed and the rubble surface remaining, in my opinion the worst surface to walk on. Other parts were following arrows on trees through the forest, with moss underfoot, in my opinion the best surface to walk on. In a sandy patch I saw an obscure but huge dog-like footprint, and wondered if it could have been a wolf.

Here's Santo Domingo the day before the scaffolding went up:
DSC_0622.jpg
 

alansykes

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Except the Francés
The nice people at the hostal in Navaleno were happy to stamp my credential, and thought they might have done one for a bicigrino a year or so ago. At San Leonardo de (escupir) the church was open so I was able to see the very fine c1620 Ecce Homo sculpture, and a lovely Romanesque font that must predate the church by several centuries. The town also boasts a ruined pilgrim hospital.

A slight detour off the camino took me to the cañon of the río Lobos, whose 12km took me into Burgos province for the first time in my life. There was a good circularity about arriving and leaving Soria by a canyon, and although the río Lobos one is spectacular (Yosemite-like in places), I thought the canyon coming up the río Val into Soria province was lovelier, with the river laughing beside you (the Lobos is secco now) and the deciduous trees all being gilded with autumn gold (the Lobos is almost entirely pine), and, of course, a week ago I was looking forward eagerly to seeing Soria for the first time. The fact that it was sunny then and rainy now may also have had an effect.

And Soria has been a great treat, exceeding very high expectations: so much to enjoy and so little to dislike, it's hard to think of another province that matches it - Cáceres, perhaps.
 

alansykes

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Except the Francés
Up from Hontoria del Pinar and over the high wide pastures of the sierra de la Demanda. If there is a better way of first seeing Santo Domingo de Silos than from high up above a couple of km out, I'd be surprised. Shortly after, I kissed a stone and added it to the pile at the Moreco del Santo, the spot where, in 1808, Santo Domingo's reliquary was moved to make it safe from Napoleon's troops.

The double capitals of the cloisters are just amazing, as was vespers, where nearly 30 monks sang to a congregation of 8 (and amdg, of course). After the service, the hospitalero monk showed me to the cosy albergue across the road from the monastery, 4 bunk beds, donativo. I had vaguely hoped there might have been a peregrino from the Lana there, but I was alone again, and indeed the visitors' book was unsigned since 10 October.

And so ended my Camino Castellano-Aragonés, short but very very sweet.

DSC_0649.jpg
 

eamann

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Francés, Plata, Levante, Norte (part), Primitivo, Catalan, Lana (part), Madrid, D.V. Francés 2020
Thank you very much for your very interesting, helpful (places to eat and sleep) and well written account!
 

Get on our Mailing list for new products on the Camino Store and news from the Camino Forum








Advertisement

Booking.com

Most downloaded Resources

Forum Rules

Forum Rules

Camino Forum Store

Camino Forum Store

Casa Ivar Newsletter






Forum Donation

Forum Donation
For those with no forum account, it is possible to donate here as well. Thank you for your support! Ivar

Follow Casa Ivar on Instagram

When is the best time to walk?

  • January

    Votes: 16 1.2%
  • February

    Votes: 10 0.8%
  • March

    Votes: 54 4.2%
  • April

    Votes: 196 15.1%
  • May

    Votes: 323 24.9%
  • June

    Votes: 94 7.2%
  • July

    Votes: 24 1.8%
  • August

    Votes: 27 2.1%
  • September

    Votes: 373 28.7%
  • October

    Votes: 157 12.1%
  • November

    Votes: 17 1.3%
  • December

    Votes: 7 0.5%
Top
AdBlock Detected

We get it, advertisements are annoying!

Sure, ad-blocking software does a great job at blocking ads, but it also blocks useful features of our website. For the best site experience please disable your AdBlocker.

I've Disabled AdBlock