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Report of Cami Catalan May to June 2018 (Parts 1 and 2)

Camino(s) past & future
Frances, Via de La Plata, Portuguese, Camino Ingles, Fisterra, Muxia, Catalan and Aragones
#1
It has now been a couple of weeks since we returned from our epic journey along the Catalan Camino, the Aragones route (to Santa Cilia de Jaca), connecting with the Frances route and ending in Santiago. We walked for 51 days and covered more than 1200 km. Splendid scenery and peaceful places to stay until we joined the masses along the Frances.

I will provide notes about our trip in the hopes that it will be useful to anyone planning a similar Camino. It is also advisable to contact the Associatio d'Amics dels Pelegrins a Santiago in Barcelona for any updated information: www.amicsdelspelegrins.org. I have based the information that follows on updates from them published on April 4, 2018 combined with our observations. Should you want further details or information about specific aspects of our Camino, do not hesitate to contact me. Sadly, there is no up-to-date guidebook available for this route.

We began our Camino from home, in Barcelona, closing the door behind us and walking for about 3.5 km to Laberint d'Horta where the yellow arrows begin just above and to the northeast of the velodrome, marking the start of the Catalan Camino.

9,4 (distance from Laberint d'Horta) 9,4 Sant Cugat del Vallès (Monestir) Day 1
Todos los servicios, excepto albergue. We stayed in a very comfortable Airbnb (listing # 21644530) where we were welcomed by our host, Carla. Her telephone number is (+34)628 059 924. It cost about 43 euros for the night for a double room for two people with full use of the equipped kitchen. Central location, near the monastery and start of the Camino (and near train station).

19,9 (distance from Laberint d'Horta) 10,5 Les Fonts (distance from previous listing above)
Todos los servicios, excepto albergue. Hay un hostal.

30,2 10,3 Ullastrell Day 2
Todos los servicios. Hostalatge de pelegrins municipal: “JORDI SANS” C/ 1 d'Octubre (al lado del Ayuntamiento) Llaves: Ayuntamiento/Town Hall (Tel. 937-887-262) de lunes a viernes de 9 a 14 y miércoles de 17 a 20 Bar del Casal Cultural (Tel. 937-331-051) lunes de 16 a 20 y de martes a domingo de 14 a 23 (el Casal está en la carretera de Olesa. Desde el Camí se puede acceder por un callejón que hay, a mano izquierda, unos metros antes de la carnicería Palet, en la calle Serra (Camí de les Monges). Microwave and fridge. No kitchen sink. 5 euros.

37,9 7,7 Olesa de Montserrat
Todos los servicios, excepto albergue.

41,0 3,1 Esparraguera
Todos los servicios, excepto albergue.

45,8 4,8 Collbató
Todos los servicios, excepto albergue. Hay establecimientos de hostelería.
From Collbató, walk the stone stairs up the face of Monserrat to Salnidre (old salt caves) and turn right, following a precipitous trail carved from the face of the cliff. It's safer than it sounds but becomes increasingly arduous in order to reach the lofty monastery. Count on 1.5 - 2 hours of hard work.

52,9 7,1 Monestir de Montserrat Day 3
El monasterio dispone de un espacio de acogida para los peregrinos con cocina equipada y algo (básico) de comida. (Tel. 938-777-766 – Centro de Coordinación Pastoral - Llamar con antelación de un día). No kitchen and no place to wash clothes other than the washrooms. Hang wet clothing about the dormitorio as best you can. Posibiliad de solicitar la bendición del peregrino, es cuestión de coordinarlo con el horario de misas (Of. De información tel. 938-777-701). Bar Self-service. En el Hotel Abad Cisneros hay, de momento,menú del peregrino. Podeís pedir el sello para la credencial. Some confusion as to where to begin Camino. Go to tourist information office for details.

(Descend the stairs signed "Sant Jaume", beside the parking area)

56,4 3,5 Santa Cecilia
Zona descanso / picnic.

63,6 7,2 Sant Pau de la Guàrdia
La casa rural Celler de la Guàrdia (Tel. 937-710-323) ofrece un sencillo alojamiento a los peregrinos (abierto los fines de semana). Reserva anticipada obligatoria.

69,5 5,9 Castellolí
Todos los servicios. Albergue “El Centre”, 10 camas, ducha y cocina (with microwave and fridge). Donativo. Ave. de la Unio, 45. Llaves en el Ayuntamiento los dias laborables por la mañana y los martes por la tarde. Por las tardes, de 17,30 a 22 excepto martes, llaves en el bar La Brillante. Tel. Ayuntamiento 938-084-000.

73,7 4,2 Polígono de Òdena
Bar-restaurante Carpí. Sello.

79,0 5,3 Igualada (albergue) Day 4
Todos los servicios. Albergue. Llaves en la residencia Pare Vilaseca, Avda. Gaudí, 26 (Tel. 938-045-515). Permite reserva previa. Open 14h to 22h. 10 euros. 200 m from Camino with microwave and fridge. Dia maxi supermarket about 250 m away, across a bridge.

84,4 5,4 Sant Genís
Ningún servicio. Fuente.

86,0 1,6 Jorba
Bares, restaurantes y tiendas (including a large Bon Area up at the truck stop) a pie de carretera. Small, friendly local bakery. Bar/restaurante La Gallega, Ctra. N-II. Tel. 938-078-014 (Marisa. Cerrado los domingos). Albergue juvenil y de peregrinos en la antigua rectoría. Plaça de la Font, 3 (24 plazas) Tels. Josep 651-344-7438 y 938-094-101. 10 euros, good kitchen (equipped with cooktop and fridge), welcoming host with a free bottle of wine but not usually available until 6 pm. Try calling ahead to get in sooner. El hostal Jorba (sin habitaciones) (Tel. 938-090-052) está a 4,3 km pasado el pueblo y siguiendo el camino.

93,8 7,8 Santa Maria del Camí
Ningún servicio. Fuente.

95,3 1,5 Porquerisses
Ningún servicio. Fuente.

101,0 5,7 Coll de la Panadella Day 5
Varios bares y restaurantes. El hostal Bayona (Tel. 938-092-011) hace descuento a los peregrinos (40 euros double and 22 euros single) en el menú y en el alojamiento.

105,2 4,2 Pallerols
Teresa, Pl. Iglesia,2, sello muy peculiar. Tiene las llaves de la iglesia. Refugio en el local social (suelo, no ducha). Ningún servicio. Font.

106,5 1,3 Sant Antolí i Vilanova
Bar-restaurante L'Amistat, sello, tienda y farmacia.

109,5 3,0 Sant Pere dels Arquells
Ningún servicio. Fuente.

112,3 2,8 Vergós
Ningún servicio. Fuente.

116,2 3,9 Cervera
Todo tipo de servicios. Las monjas de la Residència de la Sagrada Família (C/ Major, 57. Tel 973-530-805) disponen de albergue para peregrinos. 10 euros with 2 euro surcharge for use of microwave. Poor matresses and no common area. Not recommended. For the same price, try Hostal Bonavista (sencillo) instead. Tel. 973-530-027.

125,4 9,2 El Talladell
Bar i tienda de comestibles.

127,5 2,1 Tàrrega Day 6
Todo tipo de servicios. El albergue Ca n’Aleix (Pl. del Carme, 5. Tel. 973-314-635) hace descuento a los peregrinos. Es necesario reservar con antelación. (No accesible durante la Fira del Teatre en septiembre) Reservation needed. Look for the sign "Ca n'Aleix" on the building, which is next (left of) to an ATM (Caixa bank?) and is at the far end of the placa from the split of the camino where you first entered the placa. We didn't have any luck searching the address "Pl. del Carme, 5". Plan B, as always, is to ask a local, which luckily we did. 15 euros. No laundry or common area. Supermarkets nearby and plenty of shops. Pension Habitaciones Sant Pere Claver, C. Sant Pere Claver , 15, open 13h , 44 euros double. Habitaciones Maria Sole, Ave. Raval del Carme, 77, first floor, 30 euros double 680 771 975.

We chose the camino that passes through the city of Huesca. To take this way, follow signs directing you to San Juan de la Peña, the proper name of the Camino Aragones.

137,4 9,9 Tornabous
Bares.

140,9 3,5 La Fuliola
Bares y tiendas de comestibles. Restaurante en la carretera.

144,8 3,9 Ermita del Remei
Bar-restaurante.

150,8 6,0 Linyola
Todo tipo de servicios. Refugio/acogida en la finca de Josep Caba, excepto los meses de agosto y septiembre. Conviene avisarle previamente. (Tel. 973-575-030 y 626-663-545). Major disappointment. Called ahead to reserve space and he did not meet us. After bumping into him while we wandered through the cold and windy streets in search of him or his residence, we wasted 3 hours at a cafe/bar waiting for him to collect us after he finished attending a family gathering for another "hour or so". We decided to carry on despite the approaching twilight... To be avoided. Apartamento turístico con precios especiales para peregrinos: Teresa Pinyol (Tel. 679-183-943). Friendly local woman greeted us on the church square with a gift of walnuts and freshly baked empanadas. A real welcome gift on a long Sunday!

161,4 10,6 Balaguer Day 7
Todos los servicios. Albergue exclusivo para peregrinos “Teresa Pàmies” 8 plazas. 10 euros with microwave and fridge. Calle Francesc Borràs nº 14. Imprescindible mostrar la credencial. Recoger las llaves en el Casal Lapallavacara (justo enfrente del albergue). Horario: de lunes a sábado de 10h a 14h y de 17h a 22h (tel. 973-451-555). Domingos y festivos dirigiros al Ayuntamiento (Plaza Mercadal). Otros alojamientos: Hotel Balaguer, 63 euros double, c/ La Banqueta, 7 (Tel. 973-445-750). Hostal Urgell, C. d'Urgell, 25. 40 euros double. Fridge and microwave and breakfast.

170,9 9,5 Castelló de Farfanya
Bar, tienda de comestibles y farmacia.

178,9 8,0 Algerri Day 8
Todos los servicios including small shop in town . Albergue del Ayuntamiento con cocina (hot plate and fridge). 5 euros. Pl. Major, 1. Contacto: mañanas en el Ayuntamiento (Tel. 973- 426-013) y de 14 a 19 horas en l'Associació Gent Gran Sant Blai (local en el bajo del albergue) (Tel. 973-426- 042). Tienda de comestibles (cierra lunes tarde y festivos). Bar-restaurante Cal Sigle en la carretera.

185,2 6,3 Alfarràs
Todos los servicios, excepto albergue.

About 5 km before Tamarite de Litera, in Ermita de Sant Roc, there is a font.

199,4 14,2 Tamarite de Litera Day 9
Todos los servicios. Lots of road walking on this stage. Albergue municipal (llaves en el Ayuntamiento from the Police). The policeman at the desk personally walked us over to the nearby building, gave us the necessary instructions with the keys and wished us a Buen Camino. Nice chap! Tel. 974-420-075. Responsable fin de semana: Lourdes Tel. 686-925-895) Donativo. No kitchen, nice showers. (2º fin de semana de marzo no accesible por festival de magia). También hay la Fonda Galindo (Tel. 974-420-666).

221,0 21,6 Monzón Day 10
Todos los servicios. Albergue en la Residencia Municipal de Deportistas C/ Rio Flumen 36. Reserva previa en deportes@monzon.es o tel. 974-404-894. Mon. to Fri. 8h to 21:30h, Sat. 9h to 14h and 16h to 20h and Sun. 9h to 13h. Precio 10 €. We were given the story (on the phone) that the albergue was full and that there was no space for us. Not likely given that the place was locked up with all lights off and the fact that we had, so far, never shared a municipal albergue with any other pilgrims since Ullastrell. This forced us to the Hostal Venecia C. Cervantes, 3. 40€ double. 974 403 699. Not a welcoming place, especially disappointing at 40€.

227,5 6,5 Selgua
Bar y bar-restaurante. Font. Tienda de 9 a14 horas. Hostal Casa Fornies, Romero,2 (Tel.974-417-169, requiere reserva)

234,5 7,0 Ilche
Font. Ningún servicio. Al final de la calle principal hay un local social con máquinas de vending para poder hacer una pausa. Si está cerrado contactar con Mª José (Tel. 616-759-189)

239,5 5,0 Berbegal Day 11
Bar-restaurante (plaza España) y excellent tienda de comestibles (with local wine, cheese, fruit, etc.) and very nice bakery.. Alojamiento en casa rural y albergue (llaves: avisar / contactar con antelación: Nela - Tel. 687.297.161. Must call ahead. Very nice albergue, 10€ (including laundry) , kitchen with cooktop and outdoor space. Dorm with 8 beds + single and double rooms. - Si llegais en fin de semana, avisad antes del viernes). Casa Rural Bergallo, C. Jaime Callen, 13. 676 691 958. 21 - 26€.

245,5 6,0 Lacuadrada
Fuentes (2) y zona de descanso.

251,5 6,0 Pertusa
Bar y tienda comestibles (solo mañanas). Albergue municipal con calefacción, agua caliente, lavadora (stopped working mid-cycle) y cocina (oven and cooktop) and balcony. 5€. Great place but terrible water. Responsable: José Manuel Trallero (Tel. 622-272-501). Plaza del Portal, 5. A ser posible, llamar antes de llegar. Se aconseja comprar en Berbegal. El bar Escuelas vuelve a estar operativo: de martes a viernes por la mañana, fines de semana mañana y tarde y lunes cerrado. Very limited shopping; long wait for it to open after 12h.-ish.

256,4 4,9 Antillón
Acogida : En el bar del local social han habilitado un espacio con literas. En verano posible ducha en las piscinas. (Not an albergue)

266,2 9,8 Pueyo de Fañanás Day 12
Ni bar ni tienda. Limited food available here. Font. El albergue municipal, situado en la plaza de la Iglesia (edificio escuelas), tiene 8 plazas (donativo), dispone de basic cocina y los vecinos procuran que haya alimentos no perecederos, leche, galletas, embutido y pan congelado. Go to social bar for keys. Aconsejable comprar en Berbegal. La persona de contacto es Lidia (tel. 648-087-099). Se recomienda llamar con antelación. Hay un local social.

267,8 1,6 Fañanás
Bar / local social. Font. Abre por las mañanas 10 a 14 y tardes 18 a 21. Fin de semana y festivos abre más horas. Preguntar al 722-206-981.

272,2 4,4 Ola
Ningún servicio. Fuente.

277,9 5,7 Tierz (actualmente es desvío del camino marcado)
Bar en el polideportivo (en verano cierran al mediodía).

281,8 3,9 Huesca Day 13
Todos los servicios. Albergue gestionado por la Asociación de Huesca en la calle Valentin Gardeta, 34 (Barrio del Perpetuo Socorro, en la entrada de Huesca por la Ermita de Salas). 10€. Open 13:30h. Full kitchen and laundry included in price. Responsables: Agustín (Tel. 625-017-094), Andrés (Tel. 659-610-623) y Jose (Tel. 629-947-956). Comfortable albergue next to Mercadona supermarket. Hostal Lizana (atención especial a los peregrinos; 32 - 40€. ), plaza Lizana 6 (Tel. 974-220-776). Hostal El Centro, c/ Sanchez Ramírez, 3 (tel. 974-226-823).

286,8 5,0 Chimillas
Pequeña tienda de comestibles. Bar en la Residencia de la tercera edad Sierra de Guara. Bar La Alberca, junto al polideportivo, con bocadillos y comidas. Fonts.

Just after leaving Chamillas, you will come to a few forks in the path. Stay right. Further on, waymarking is poor and inconsistent, typically where you will need it most, out in the middle of nowhere. You'll find not a soul about to ask and many locals aren't even aware that a camino runs through their neck of the woods/bush/farmland. We opted on staying a straight-ahead course and not being tempted by left/right options. It was the correct choice.
 

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Camino(s) past & future
Frances, Via de La Plata, Portuguese, Camino Ingles, Fisterra, Muxia, Catalan and Aragones
#2
301,3 14,5 Bolea Day 14
Todos los servicios. Fonts. Casa Turismo Rufino (Tel. 974-272-205). Albergue Municipal : Contactar con el hospitalero Javier Fanlo (Tel. 679-446-392). C. Carretera, 5€ with kitchen. Apartment for 6 people, 140€, Casa Coscollo, C. Mayor, 17.

307,3 6,0 Anies
Bar y tienda. Dos casas rurales. Casa Basilisa (Tel. 679-584-679) y Casa Castilleta (Tel. 689-998-224).

312,0 4,7 Loarre
Todos los servicios, excepto albergue. Camping Loarre (antes de llegar, en la ctra. del Castillo – Tel. 974-382- 722). Casa Rural Pepico (Tel. 974-382-616), 35€. double. Casa Rural Tolta (Tel. 974-382-605). Hospederia de Loarre, www.hospederiadeloarre.com. Comidas en casa O’Caminero, c/Carretera, 8 (Tel. 974-382-696). The few shops are closed on Sundays and only open until siesta on Mondays. Basic groceries to be had at the panaderia. However, we did find a lovely shop selling local artesanal food products that was open Monday afternoon. Do try the candied almonds, chocolates and red wines of Navarra!

315,7 3,7 Sarsamarcuello Day 15
A la entrada hay una fuente. Bring food from Loarre. Albergue (con cocina with cooktop) en la parte baja del pueblo. 5 euros, 8 places. Llaves en casa de Antonio y Pilar (Plaza Mayor, 7 Tel. 618-614-669). The address (#7) is not readily apparent because it only appears on the mailbox. You'll find it at the far end of the plaza to left of 8-9-10. Sin tienda. Club social en las antiguas escuelas: la Junta ha decidido atender, en la medida de lo posible, a los peregrinos (horario reducido: tardes).

The day begins with climbing, climbing and more climbing but levels out into a cool, misty wonderland with an epic exit through an enormous cleft in the mountain where you will descend to...

329,9 14,2 Estación de Santa María y la Peña
Font. Panadería (with a few basic groceries to carry forward) y bar (unfriendly service, no food or booze to take out). El bar El Carmen ofrece comidas al mediodia los dias laborables, los sábados previa reserva y el domingo está cerrado (Tel. 686-504-641 – regentado por Mariángeles). La panadería cierra los lunes.
You can find basic foodstuffs at the panaderia where the baker is patient and helpful. They even turn out some nice artesanal loaves aside from the usual white baguettes. Wine, beer and beverages can be purchased in the village of Ena in the local social association's bar/clubhouse.

339,9 10,0 Ena Day 16
Sin bar ni tiendas. Wine and beer available from the local "social club" to take out. Albergue municipal bien equipado y con cocina with cooktop (hay que avisar con antelación). Ayuntamiento – Ramón (Tel. 636-496-343). Warm welcome to this old village of 10 people; peaceful and very comfortable. Decent kitchen at your disposal...if you humped all the necessary groceries (oil, vinegar, salt, onions, garlic, etc) with you from Estación de Santa María y la Peña 5 euros, 8 places.

347,3 7,4 Botaya
No groceries. Albergue juvenil Casa del Herrero, C/ Única s/n, abierto en temporada de verano y fines de semana, reserva anticipada (Tel. 974-359-853, 676-488-691). Ayuntamiento (Tel. 974-355-758). Fuente.

351,3 4,0 Monasterio de San Juan de la Peña Bar abierto en temporada de verano. Precio especial a los peregrinos en la visita al monasterio y en la Hospedería, habitaciones y restaurante.

355,4 4,1 Santa Cruz de la Serós
Todos los servicios, excepto albergue. Font. Tienda closes at 11:45h on Wednesdays. Hostal Santa Cruz de la Serós (Tel. 974-361-975), 56 62 euros double, 8 rooms.

363,4 8,0 Santa Cilia de Jaca. Day 17
Todos los servicios. Limited food shopping. Albergue municipal de 18 plazas. Not open until 18h (!!!). C. del Sol 8, Tel. 635 560 541 or 974 377 168. 10 euros including laundry, 4 euros breakfast. No kitchen; option of reserving evening meal and/or breakfast. Casa Vincente de Palacio, C. Mayor, 4. Tel. 974 377 390 or 650 442 145, 4 places. Should you need to take a taxi from here to nearby Jaca, which has everything you could possibly require, you can call a friendly taxi driver at 617 004 480. While it is only 14 km away, it is not possible to walk as it involves a trip along a very busy highway with little or no shoulder. This may be necessary if you need groceries, to load time on a mobile phone or visit a bank before heading off in the direction of Artieda as you will pass through no towns of note on the way. Mind you, about 6 km from Santa Cilia de Jaca, there is a substantial town across the river that is linked by a proper bridge. A side trip there should be less than a kilometre.

Approximately 30 km away Artieda Day 18
Beautiful private albergue 10 euros, friendly staff (Diego), English spoken. Local craft beers and patxaran (a wonderful drink from the Basque region), 3 course lunch for 10 euros, dinner available after 8pm for 10 euros, laundry 6 euros, breakfast 4 euros, tapas available after 7pm, vegetarian and vegan options available. Nice patio to relax on. Beware of the mosquitoes! Tel. 948 439 316 or 649 813 552.

Artieda-Ruesta (10.5 km) - Undues Lerda (11.9 km) with albergue -Sangüesa (10.6 km) with albergue with kitchen, supermarkets nearby. Tel. 948 871 693 or 650 669 547. Day 19

Sangüesa - Izco (18.6 km) - Monreal (9.6) with albergue with good kitchen and shopping. Tel. 671 175 534. Day 20
* I now realize that we missed the beautiful and highly recommended Hospital de Peregrinos de Arrés.
  • Localidad: Arrés (Huesca). Ayuntamiento de Bailo
  • Teléfono de contacto: 974 34 86 43 (Bar)
  • We will make a point of staying there next time!
  • Monreal -Tiebas (14.1 km) - Eunate - Obanos (15.5 km) Day 21

From this point we joined the masses on the Frances so I will provide few details as there is a wealth of information out there. Two diversions of note (both highly recommended): from Villafranca Del Bierzo to Las Herrerias: the Dragonte option. A challenging route of 30 km, crossing three mountains and following the original Camino route. Unforgettable scenery and new, clearly marked signage (see separate posting of mine under the Dragonte sub-forum). Big thumbs up for Albergue Leo in Villafranca Del Bierzo! And, from Triacastela to Sarria the lovely river route diversion through Samos.
 

hel&scott

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
2004 St Jean - Santiago, 2008 &18 Seville - Finesterre, 2010 Ferrol - Lisbon, 2012 from Cartehenga.
#4
Thank you for this. We always start our Camino by visiting Barcelona, getting our passport and first sello at the cathedral office, checking on progress at Gaudis basilica, a bite to eat from the quick Greek in George Orwell plaza before taking the train to the location of the start of our walk. We often discussed walking from Barcelona but finding information on the route was very limited, so it is encouraging to see your very practical post.
 
Camino(s) past & future
SJPP - Finisterre (2005) ; LePuy - Muxia (2007) ; Porto - SC. (2009) planning Lourdes- SC (2018)
#5
Thank for sharing, it takes a lot of effort to get this info from scratch.
Re: day 17 Santa cilia - since both Jaca and Santa Cilia are on the Aragonés, there must be another way to walk that distance other than on the busy road. As far as I understand, it’s also on the Pamplona to Jaca busline.
 

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#6
Ok, wonders never cease. I have now successfully merged the two threads into one. I think it is far more helpful to forum members that way, but @lindam if you have a special reason to keep them separate, just let me know and I will separate them.

363,4 8,0 Santa Cilia de Jaca. Day 17
Should you need to take a taxi from here to nearby Jaca, which has everything you could possibly require, you can call a friendly taxi driver at 617 004 480. While it is only 14 km away, it is not possible to walk as it involves a trip along a very busy highway with little or no shoulder. This may be necessary if you need groceries, to load time on a mobile phone or visit a bank before heading off in the direction of Artieda as you will pass through no towns of note on the way. Mind you, about 6 km from Santa Cilia de Jaca, there is a substantial town across the river that is linked by a proper bridge. A side trip there should be less than a kilometre.
Just to add that there is in fact a marked camino between Jaca and Santa Cilia de Jaca, which is frequently off-road and never dangerous. The Cami Catalan merges with the Camino Aragonés before Santa Cilia, going from Santa Cruz de Serós through countryside. As @LGLG noted, both Jaca and Santa Cilia are on the Camino Aragonés. My notes from that section: The 15 km from Jaca back to Santa Cilia de Jaca were almost all off road. The camino was either to the right of the highway, near the river, or up on the hillside to the left of the highway.

When @LTfit and I did this route, we decided we wanted to "backtrack" a bit when we merged with the Aragonés, mainly to see the mountains north of Jaca at the Puerto Somport. When we arrived in Santa Cilia, we saw that there was a bus up to Somport, but it came through at 5 pm. Since it was mid morning, we thought that would be a very long wait. So we tried to hitch hike. First 20 minutes or so with our thumbs out alongside the national road. Nothing. Then we got the smart idea to go into town to the place where people leaving Santa Cilia have to stop before merging onto the national road. I approached the first car that stopped, explained out situation, and he took us all the way to the Somport pass, even though he had only intended to go on to Jaca! Since we arrived in Somport in early afternoon, we walked down to Canfranc Station and spent the night there. The next night in Jaca. And from Jaca, we went on to Arres, which was a high point. Good call, @lindam, to plan a return visit. I've got some more details on some older threads:
https://www.caminodesantiago.me/community/threads/camino-catalán-from-montserrat-through-huesca.36443/

https://www.caminodesantiago.me/community/threads/our-camino-aragonés-june-2015.36782/

Glad to see more people on the Catalán. I would walk it again -- the albergue infrastructure is great -- but I would try to go earlier. When we went in June, there were some pretty hot days of parched landscapes.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances, Via de La Plata, Portuguese, Camino Ingles, Fisterra, Muxia, Catalan and Aragones
#7
Many thanks, Laurie, for merging the two parts of this thread. I had not planned to enter them separately, but a message appeared telling me that I had exceeded the maximum number of characters (hence my decision to divide the post in two). We will no doubt be walking more of the Catalán routes in the future (so easy now that we're living in Barcelona). Contemplating combining several routes next spring in order that we head out on the Aragonés and return on the Loyola route. Need to do some research to see how this might work. Certainly, I will be reviewing some of your earlier posts. In the meantime, we'll be walking the del Norte for the first time, starting 18 September. Feeling excited as I just bought our train tickets to Irun today.
 

oursonpolaire

Veteran Member
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
#8
As I walked much of the Cami Catalan in May of this year, I can confirm that this is an excellent and thorough;y up-to-date account of this route,. My Camino ended up being a bit disjointed as one of the first events was that my wallet was lifted in the train from Barcelona to Montserrat. In many training sessions, I have instructed pilgrims to keep a sharp eye on their valuables in Barcelona in the airport, stations, and public transit, but even contained in an inside zippered pocket, my wallet was a victim of local professionals. So instead of enjoying the abbey, I sat in the plaza with 7.80€ in my pocket telephoning Canada to cancel my cards and make arrangements for emergency cash and a replacement card. Mercifully, my passport was stowed away under my shirt but henceforth in Barcelona, it will be the money belt for me.

Still, everyone was very kind and helpful, from the señor at the Celler de la Guàrdia in Sant Pau who assured me that these things happened all the time, and to pay him when I could (which I did at a bank in Igualada when I got my emergency cash) to the warm and supportive words from the Californian pilgrims who were on the Ignatian trail. The Celler has an albergue room in the basement (nicer than it sounds), but you do need to call ahead (+34 937 71 03 23). The señor speaks English— I could not get anyone to answer the telephone, so I booked a private room through a message to their Facebook page. Dinner was superlative, and the breakfast was one of the best I have had in Spain.

Lindam covered most items of interest and use, but I will add a few others. I can dig up prices from my notebook if anyone would like.

Cervera- The Hostal Bonavista, where I stayed, now has a nearby competitor, El Celleret, just across from the university, and which opened the day after my arrival. Cervera is a very pleasant little Catalan university town and has a great social club at the Casal de Cervera on the Plaça Santa Anna which gives a flavour how cultural and community life must have been in the franquista and post-franquista period. Curious as to what Spanish Chinese food might be like, I tried the local Chinese restaurant and realized that I should keep my Chinese food activities to a Canadian setting.

Balaguer- I stayed at the Hotel Balaguer, on the quayside of the Rio Segre, where the staff were friendly and helpful. I had a celebratory dinner (of high quality....and price, but still likely under half the cost of its equivalent in Montréal) at the Tastet del Reng to celebrate the arrival of my replacement credit card and recommend it to a pilgrim needing indulgence or comfort. The museum of the Noguera had a fascinating exhibition of photography of the area during the civil war (Balaguer was the entry point into Catalonia of Nationalist troops and the careful observer can see a few bullet pockmarks on older buildings) and the curious may wish to visit the Church of the Miracle on Carrer del Miracle, as it is a converted synagogue from the time when Balaguer once had a sizeable Jewish community. The exit from Balaguer was much better marked than it was when I first did the Cami Catalan ten years ago, and generally the signing is improved and freshly painted. There were only a very few points along the entire Cami where it was unclear (Lindam’s description of the post-Chimillas stage should be noted) and the volunteers who attend to this should be congratulated.

Algerri- I stayed at the Hostal Terraferma (+34 973 426 004), one of the many small-town hostales attached to a gasoline station/bar/restaurant which we find in Spain off the beaten track. Reception was in the gas station, and was friendly and efficient. The room was clean and basic, but at 24€ was fairly priced. I had a basic but satisfactory lunch at the restaurant. The restaurant is closed in the evening, but I had an excellent meal in the Cal Sigle (+34 672 36 90 07), a café 300m east of the Hostal Terraferma, on the south side of the road, which is run by a warm and friendly young couple.

Tamarite de Litera- I stayed at the Casa Galindo, which I had frequented before on a previous Camino. Reception was warm and the food fine. I was able to enjoy a contest between several drum teams from the area, and applauded loudly for the Santiago drum team with its uniforms and the Cruz Espadon.

In Monzón, I stayed at the snazzy new Hotel Mosmonzón. It was not inexpensive but I had decided that I needed to pamper myself, given the robbery of my first day, and that I was travelling alone. The pilgrim should not miss the chance to check out the Juderia, just behind the cathedral, remarkable for the Mudejar brickwork and carving, and the notices of clergy and parishioners martyred during the civil war.

By this time, my foot was bothering me (details omitted) and I did not think I could easily do the Berbegal - Pueyo de Fañanás stage so I took the bus to Huesca to get it looked at. Succesful, I plunged on, more concerned about the nasty dogs at the Castillo de Azano, which had blocked my progress on two previous occasions. This time I was lucky and got through the grounds without any threats, and made it to Bolea through fields of wildflowers. Bolea has a wonderful museum at the Collegiate church, and every effort should be made to see the renaissance and baroque paintings and carvings. The Casa Ruffino was full, but a guest left early, and the señor prepared the room for me.

Loarre- I stayed at a casa rural which I am not sure I would recommend, although the breakfast was very good, but would recommend the meals at the Casa O’Caminero, run by a cheerful young German chef and his Aragonese wife.

I had planned to head over the Sierra de Loarre to Santa Maria, then to Ena, then to San Juan de la Peña, but by chance I encountered two Australian pilgrims– the first I had met in three weeks– who were walking from Santiago to Montserrat, and they recommended that I go to Ayerbe, then Murillo de Gallego, and head to Santa Maria from there. I liked this idea as there was a particularly decrepit bridge over a gorge on the path from Sarsamarcuello and I did not mind skipping that, even if it meant another day walking. This landscape is seriously Games-of-Thronesey, for fans of that series.

The 7km highway walk from Ayerbe to Murillo de Gallego was really quite unpleasant in the rain, as it was a well-used provincial highway, but while I liked my stay at the Casona de la Reina Berta (+34 628 09 62 62)– dinner at either of the two restaurants along the highway below the town, where I had a long conversation with a Mauritanian waiter happy to speak French– and the Casona’s breakfast might have been the best I have every had in Spain, with cherries and walnuts along with all sorts of jamon and stuff, the next day featured heavy rain and the señor called the Civil Guard, who advised that I not try the Sierra de la Peña as the path might have become impassable. I hiked over to the station at Riglos and took the local train into Jaca, which ended my effort at completing the Cami Catalan.

Taking the bus up to Pamplona and then the north coast along the Embalse de Yesa, I decided that discretion had been the better part of valour, as the waters had risen to cover one of the paths and also covered the hot springs at Tiermas. So I cannot comfortably claim that I completed the Cami Catalan, but I did try, and it was really interesting. I think that the robbery did knock me off my balance, but as an olive-skinned and flashing-eyed Guardia reminded me, I had kept my passport and I was not hurt. It’s only money.

In other years, I walked the Cami Catalan in September, when it is dry and parched. To do so in May gave me a pleasant and cool(er) stroll through a garden of fruit trees and green fields speckled with fields of poppies. Most conversation focussed on the politics of the area and, coming from Canada, many many questions of Québec and its experience. The intensity of discourse reminded me of the early 1970s in Montréal, and I hope that the situation serves as an engine to creativity in music and art, rather than to less agreeable means of expression.

This is a great Camino, and gives the pilgrim a touch of a deep Spain with very different regions of Catalonia with its orientation toward the Mediterranean and Aragon, still with a strong whiff of the middle ages and the reconquista.
 

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