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Virtual Camino Viejo/Olvidado from Pamplona

VNwalking

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I'm continually blown Away by the things I'm discovering while doing this little virtual Camino; this route is full of the most amazing surprises.
 

caminka

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Day 9. Banos de Sabron - Frias (via the South bank of the Ebro after Embalse de Sabron)
Here is a screenshot of my proposed route, which diverts from the Viejo that both @caminka and @Sheffield James walked, missing Quintana Martin Galindez altogether and following either the North or South banks of the river for the last few kilometers between Montejo de Cebas and Frias. Going directly to Frias from Sobron is about 21 kms, whereas going via QMG is about 28 kms as measured by my OsmAnd app.
View attachment 75282

There are a several Casa Rurales in Frias, and @caminka's guide mentions a campground, but I cannot confirm that it's still there looking at my maps.

The main event on this day is Frias itself - the walled city and its impressive bridge across the Ebro. So it looks worth heading there and enjoying its impressive offerings.
it looks like a lot of road walking on the southern route, though? that must have been one of the reasons I chose the northern route (and the menhirs(?) and probably cheaper accommodatoin in quintana).
I can't find any campground on google maps, only an autocaravan site.
 

caminka

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Wow. Beautiful photos of a beautiful place! They beg the question - how many people did it take to build that castle hanging in space? And how many people died in the process?
yes. the medieval architecture genius never ceases to amaze me.
 

VNwalking

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and the menhirs
You bad person. So much for an easy decision.
🙃

And yes, road walking...but it's 7 km shorter and you can still cross back over so that it's possible to aporoach Frias on the gorgeous bridge.

The campground? Maybe I misread your guide?
 

caminka

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You bad person. So much for an easy decision.
🙃

And yes, road walking...but it's 7 km shorter and you can still cross back over so that it's possible to aporoach Frias on the gorgeous bridge.

The campground? Maybe I misread your guide?
;)
the path from montejo de san miguel to the bridge was lovely, I would be sad to miss it.
 

caminka

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Oh! It's only 2.3km from Frias, and directly along the way between Frias and Oña. The map says there is a CR there as well. You know, @peregrina2000 , this makes that option of going from Miranda de Ebro-Pancorbo-Oña-Frias even more attractive.
this is a really nice idea. when I'll be there again...
 

VNwalking

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I am head down in looking at the way ahead.
It. Looks. Mind. Blowing.
How come no-one comes this way???
Stay tuned for further posts...

the path from montejo de san miguel to the bridge was lovely, I would be sad to miss it.
You wouldn't have to, because the route up the Southern bank of the river comes almost to the bridge that links it to the path you took. I didn't measure it but am thinking I will cross over at that point. The added benefit is that you cross the beautiful bridge back across the river, headed into Frias.
 
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peregrina2000

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So what is the map maker’s decision about whether to walk on the north or south of both sides of the Ebro on the way to Frias? I like the idea of the shorter route, unless it would miss out on the beautiful gorge, because then it would give plenty of time to take a 2 km stroll out and back to Santa María de la Hoz in Tobera. which is apparently on a pretty path with waterfalls.

It’s hard to find visiting hours for Tobera, but google said it was only open on Friday, 9-5 pm. That cannot be right. This website, with more gorgeous pictures, says it is only open in July during the romería, but the exterior looks pretty amazing. And this youtube video, if you go to 2 minutes 25 seconds, you’ll see the interior, which seems to have suffered a lot of re-doing and re-painting, so I wouldn’t be heartbroken to miss it.

I’m with you, is this really only day 9 if you include all those detours on the first days and the return to the tunnel San Adrian? Hard to imagine it could get better, but your comments suggest that it does!
 

VNwalking

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So what I think is a good compromise is to cross to the South side of the river until Montejo de Cebas, then to cross back to the North bank for the last part. It's a little longer but not a whole lot.

So 9 days is direct, though including the possibility of Alsasua-Salvatierra via the Tunel San Adrian as a long day. It also includes a long day between Argomaniz or Estibaliz and Puebla de Arlanzon, walking through Vitoria but not staying there. It does not include a day extra for the the hermitage on Beriain (I would do that separately rather than lugging my stuff up there), nor the 2 extra days if you were to cross to Beasain and go to the Tunel from there.

So it's 9, 10, 11, or 13 days, depending how far afield you wander and how long you linger. I think at the end I'll tabulate it.

You know, Laurie, I am still thinking. I know you discounted it, but Puebla de Arlanzon-Pancorbo-Oña-Frias is a great option, blowing through Miranda de Ebro. It's only 32 km between PdA and Pancorbo, giving the same number of days as PdA-MdE-S-F. And you get three fabulous day ending destinations.

Hard to imagine it could get better, but your comments suggest that it does!
Just you wait. Surprises are in store. :cool:
 
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VNwalking

Wandering in big circles
Camino(s) past & future
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This website, with more gorgeous pictures, says it is only open in July during the romería, but the exterior looks pretty amazing.
Oooooooooooooo.

OK.
So from the bridge in Montejo to Frias on the North bank it's 5.87 km, and from the same place on the South bank it's 3.73 km. More like 3.1, because if you were coming along the South bank you wouldn't need to go all the way to the bridge, which saves 600m or so. Both are measured to the Tourist office on the plaza in Frias, and those distances (and the difference between them) might be different depending on where you were staying.

(What did I do before OsmAnd? Measured painstakingly on a paper map, I guess....)
 
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caminka

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I am head down in looking at the way ahead.
It. Looks. Mind. Blowing.
How come no-one comes this way???
Stay tuned for further posts...

You wouldn't have to, because the route up the Southern bank of the river comes almost to the bridge that links it to the path you took. I didn't measure it but am thinking I will cross over at that point. The added benefit is that you cross the beautiful bridge back across the river, headed into Frias.
if you are referring to various gorges and natural scenery, yes, it is totally mind-bowing. but there are also amazing corbels, old stone-built roads and dolmens (some on short-cuts I took). ;)

I found this nice site about GR-99 with very nice maps indeed. this one, for example, is the section between sobron and montejo de san miguel, and this one is around frias. interestingly, it lists an albergue in banos in sobron and no albergue at quintana martin galindez.

here is the local route which I took from frias to trespaderne.

some routes around ona.

camping at frias has apparently closed down. :(

btw, how do you get that nice blue square for a link?
 
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VNwalking

Wandering in big circles
Camino(s) past & future
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Wow, thank you, @caminka! I was looking for something about the first part of the walk from Banos onwards, so it's great to have your link. And no albergue in QMG? That decides it. I'm definitely taking the South bank of the Ebro, and Dolmens be darned.
btw, how do you get that nice blue square for a link?
I'm not sure what you mean?

Day 10. Frias - Trespaderne 12 or 20 km
There are 2 ways of going about getting yourself form one place to the next on this day.
One is to roughly follow the river, using @caminka's track, and the other is to zig-zag up and over the alto on the GR85 via Tobera and Villanueva de los Montes. Both ways converge at Cillaperlata, and follow the Ebro to Trespaderne. Nature is the main attraction of this day's walking. Just South of here is the Parque Natural Montes Obarenes-San Zadornal, and you dip into it taking the longer GR85 route.

The GR85 route is about 20 km, involving a climb of 325m, and a similar descent:
@caminka's route, following the GR99 is shorter and gentler, only 12km and looks mostly flat.

The shortness of this day (whichever way you get to Trespaderne) is an opportunity to spend a bit more time in Frias, or to go the 'long' way to Trespaderne via Tobera on the GR85. If you go this way , after stoping in Tobera, about half way to Cillaperlata, you pass through the hamlet of Villanueva de los Montes with it's Iglesia de San Roman. Dating from the 12th C, it hasn't been in use as a parish chirch for 30 years, and is in sad shape. It made the news this last February because part of the roof fell in:
It's a sad sight, and shows how stones follow gravity in very little time without maintenance or use - even after 800 years of standing there.
1590061651491.png

Once back down by the river there are also humble places that have seen better days. Cillaperlata, a bit past half way to Trespaderne, is a hamlet with less than 100 people right on the river.

Trespaderne is a bigger place with places to stay, a gorgeous 12th C bridge across the Ebro, and some ruined palaces and a priory house to explore.
1590069677269.png
Above the town on the other side of the Rio Nela, near where it flows into the Ebro, a road brings you to the Fortaleza Tedaja, with its views over the town and the surrounding countryside. This fortress dates to late Roman times, guarding the mouth of the Horadada gorge. From an excellent webpage describing it:
Tedeja ocupa un saliente en el extremo oriental de la Sierra de la Tesla, en la desembocadura del río Nela en el Ebro. A sus pies está el desfiladero de la Horadada, que es uno de los pasos naturales entre Las Merindades y la llanura de La Bureba. Lugar este claramente estratégico por sus condiciones topográficas, por el dominio visual que llega hasta Medina de Pomar situada a unos 20 Km.
1590065489778.png

Near Trespaderne, on the other side of the river, there is another small hermitage, Ermita de Encinillas, which is much more humble than Toberna, and also down on its luck. It was the site of a pitched battle in the 8th C and until recently many graves were visible in the surrounding area. All that information is here.

There is a Hostal and a campsite with cabins in Trespaderne. If you want to keep walking you would have to go all the way to Quintana de Valdevielso, another 27kms, to find a place to sleep. Alternatively you could go off-piste to Oña (if you didn't come to Frias that way), 14 kms farther on. From Oña to Quintana de Valdevielso is about 24 kms. It is a trade off, though - the next day, if walked on the Viejo proper, takes you past some real jewels, which you would miss.
 

peregrina2000

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Staff member
Well, as someone who is likely to be pushing against a time crunch, I wonder if there is any way to extend this day’s walk, either using the short route or the longer route.

And Vira, when you mentioned the “Viejo proper”, does that mean that there are two essentially parallel routes, one the GR99 Ruta del Ebro and the other the Viejo?
 

VNwalking

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The best way I can imagine of extending that day is to just keep going to walk the 14 km from Trespaderne to Oña.
And Vira, when you mentioned the “Viejo proper”, does that mean that there are two essentially parallel routes, one the GR99 Ruta del Ebro and the other the Viejo?
I was referring by way of contrast to the alternative (if you wanted to extend the day) to go that extra 14 km from Trespadrrne to Oña. The 'Viejo proper' that I is essentially the same as the GR99 here.

The downside of that alternative of going to Oña fro. Trespaderne as I see it is that you miss some of the best parts of the walk the next day. Here's a screenshot of what it would look like to go from Oña to QdV; it's about 25 km. It involves some backtracking from the day before, but this way at least you do not miss San Pedro de Tejada.

@Sheffield James went another way that involved going down an old cobbled road right at the end. If it were me I wouldn't do that, because the day after leaving QdV, the Camino goes up that same cobbled road, which means you'll get to see it anyway, and going up such a road is much more comfortable than going down it .

Screenshot_20200523-072036_OsmAnd.jpg
(This route merges with the turquoise line of @caminka's track at waypoint 2. After that I could not get it to follow her track perfectly, but you get the picture.)
 
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VNwalking

Wandering in big circles
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Day 11.
Trespaderne – Quintana de Valdivielso
After Trespaderne, the way enters La Horadada canyon and follows the gorge of the Ebro for a while before then climbing into the Sierra de la Tesla, and eventually descending into the Valdivielso Valley. Roughly 400m up, and not quite all the way back down that amount.

This website is (again, as it was between Salvatierra and Vitoria) extremely useful:
https://translate.google.com/translate?sl=auto&tl=en&u=http://baulitoadelrte.blogspot.com/2016/11/el-romanico-de-las-merindades-de-burgos.html
Specifically, there is a section of the Romanesque in the Valdivielso Valley and surrounding areas.

Romanesque churches, as well as many rock cave hermitages dating from the 6th to the 10th C. are all over the place in this valley. There is so much here, that it is a little overwhelming.
Together, these pages are a goldmine, with information about hermitages, and Romanesque churches along the way:
https://visitalasmerindades.es/eremitasdelasmerindades/
https://visitalasmerindades.es/romanico-merindades/

Directly along the camino are:
The ruins of Santa Maria de los Reys Godos (on the outskirts of Trespaderne)
Down in the gorge in the below the fortress of Tejada, some of the site has been destroyed by nearby highway construction, and now there is nothing here but ruins. You walk right past it, but there is little to see. This area had been the site of a basilica from roughly the 5th C., and was once the church belonging to the fortress where people were baptized, worshiped, and were buried.

The words of Yepes (in the General Chronicle of the Order of Saint Benedict, 1615) are evocative:
“In the municipality of Tedeja there is a hermitage, called Santa María de los Godos, where an ancient burial site is shown, which it is believed that they belonged to some of the leading knights of that nation. ”
Obviously, once, this not ‘no-where.’ Sic transit Gloria mundi.
https://lacantabriaburgalesa.wordpress.com/tag/santa-maria-de-los-reyes-godos/

Evetually the camino leaves the gorge, climbing steadily up to the alto, and next we encounter
Ermita Rupestre de San Pedro (Near Tartales de Cilla after Trespaderne)
https://turismoenburgos.blogspot.com/2014/12/ermita-rupestre-de-san-pedro-tartales.html
1590252613554.png1590252628866.png
This is a genuinely old-fashioned hermetic abode, from the 8th C!
It is not the only one around, as the blogpost points out:
“In the surroundings of Tartalés de Cilla, there are the Cuevas de los Portugueses (rock hermitages that are located at the foot of the road next to the crossing to Tartalés de Cilla) and the rock hermitage of San Pedro, which we will talk about in this entry. [...] The rock hermitage is an artificial cave from the VII-VIII centuries that had the function of being a small church.”
Nearby there are two graves.
Also: https://www.turismo-prerromanico.com/monumento/san-pedro-de-tartalcs-20130515022214/
This is only the first of more to come.

Alternative way: Yew Trees
Nearby but not on the camino there is a protected stand of ancient yews – 64 numbered and well-studied trees that are about 1000 years old. Here is an account of a loop track that takes in part of the camino as well as the trees:
http://tierrasdeburgos.blogspot.com/2011/09/ruta-de-senderismo-los-tejos-de.html

The track passes through Hoz de Valdivielso, so if you are super interested in seeing them, it would be easy to walk to the Valdivielso that way instead of using @caminka ’s track.

Waterfall at Tartales de los Montes
Below TdlM, a 35m-high waterfall emerges from between the cliffs, right next to the camino. Photos look spectacular:
1590252688154.png
(This blog has a lot of other information, and is well worth a look)

San Pedro de Tejada
Once down from the mountain, the camino follows the length of the valley from East to West. Near QdV, the camino goes right past the Ermita San Pedro de Tejada, one of the highlights of the day:
https://es.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ermita_de_San_Pedro_de_Tejada

1590252740197.png
This is said to be one of the most important Romanesque buildings in Burgos. There was a monastery there that was founded in 850, but that’s now gone. The present building dates from the XII C. and is famous for the quality of its corbels:
1590252780665.png
Sadly the stunning altarpiece from here by “Maestro de Oña,” Fray Alonso de Zamora, is not in situ, but in the Burgos Museum.

QdV has an albergue and a couple of guest houses, and there is a CR near San Pedro in Tejada.
 
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VNwalking

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Oña Alternatives
Before going on I want to lay out options about getting to Oña together in one place, because it's confusing to have them scattered here and there.

Oña was a historically important place. And by all accounts it's a beautiful one, famous for the Benedictine monastery of San Salvador de Oña, which thrived as a monastic powerhouse between the 11th century and 16th centuries.

Basic information is here:

1590292598340.png 1590292691583.png
1590292795089.png 1590292840816.png

It's a good place to spend the night, and you can get there several ways - as a side trip from the Camino Viejo as it goes through the Ebro Valley, or to access the Viejo in a round-about way by first going to Pancorbo from Miranda de Ebro.

So here are options, all in one place; the main difference between A/B/C/D and E/F being whether you get to Oña from Frias or Pancorbo. The options I think are preferable have the asterisks; it would be a pity to miss the stage between Trespaderne and QdV. Really the main choice comes down to whether you will see Frias or Pancorbo; A and E below allow the highlights between Trespaderne and QdV regardless of which way you walk.

Via Frias
*A. Frias - Oña (via Tobera) - Trespaderne (29.7km),
Trespaderne - Quintana de Valdivielso (26.8 km) on Camino
B. Frias - Oña (via Tobera) (18.1 km),
Oña - Quintana de Valdivielso (28.2km)
(Through the Valdivielso valley, but bypassing Trespaderne, Ermita Rupestre de San Pedro, and the hermitage/waterfall at Tartales de los Montes)
C. Frias - Oña (via Tobera) (18.1 km), Oña - Poza de Sal (31.5 km),
Poza de Sal - Quintana de Valdivielso (29.8 km)(What @Sheffield James did)
D. Frias - Oña (via Trespaderne)(24.3 km),
Oña - Quintana de Valdivielso (28.2 km)(as B, above, but walking to Oña via Trespaderne, not Tobera)

Via Pancorbo
**E. Pancorbo - Oña, (32.7 km)
Oña - Trespaderne (12.3km)(onward on regular Viejo)
F. Pancorbo - Oña, (32.7 km)
Oña - Quintana de Valdivielso (28.2 km, as B and D above)

Edit - BTW, I just found this unsubstantiated statement about Tobera in a tourist website about Frias, Oña, and Poza de Sal:
This was an altar for pilgrims on the Camino de Santiago, as several branches of the Forgotten Camino de Santiago cross the Merindades de Burgos , taking advantage of the Roman road.
 
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NualaOC

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@VNwalking, what a wonderful thread you've created!

I'm trying to avoid going down those rabbit holes of Camino planning at the moment, so I've just browsed through the posts and bookmarked them for later.

The Viejo and Olvidado are definitely on my radar ..... if I were to go down that rabbit hole, I'd think about starting on the Baztan ... via a little route I plotted some time ago from Biarritz Airport to the river path leading to Ustaritz.

And if I had a lot more time than I usually have for a Camino, I'd end this epic walk with the Invierno....

I'll enjoy adding this to my wish-list of Camino plans when the time is right. N x
 

VNwalking

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Here are some maps...mix and match to your heart's content!

1. Frias-Oña-Trespaderne (via Tobera, 'A' above):
Screenshot_20200524-132008_OsmAnd.jpg

2. Oña - Quintana de Valdivielso (28.2km)
(Second day of 'B' and 'D' above, through the Valdivielso valley, but bypassing Trespaderne, Ermita Rupestre de San Pedro, and the hermitage/waterfall at Tartales de los Montes)
Screenshot_20200523-072036_OsmAnd.jpg

3. Frias - Oña (via Tobera) (18.1 km), Oña - Poza de Sal (31.5 km), Poza de Sal - Quintana de Valdivielso (29.8 km)('C' above)
Screenshot_20200524-135037_OsmAnd.jpg

4. Pancorbo - Oña (First day of 'E' and 'F' above) :cool:

Screenshot_20200524-141818_OsmAnd.jpg
if I were to go down that rabbit hole, I'd think about starting on the Baztan ... via a little route I plotted some time ago from Biarritz Airport to the river path leading to Ustaritz.

And if I had a lot more time than I usually have for a Camino, I'd end this epic walk with the Invierno....
My thought exactly. Baztan-Viejo-Olvidado-Invierno
It would take some time, though.
 

caminka

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The GR85 route is about 20 km, involving a climb of 325m, and a similar descent:
@caminka's route, following the GR99 is shorter and gentler, only 12km and looks mostly flat.
yes, but it does pass through tobera, if you have not already saw it on the way from pancorbo and ona.
I did climb out of frias but it was not very high. gorgeous view of the town from the top, though.
 

caminka

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There is a Hostal and a campsite with cabins in Trespaderne. If you want to keep walking you would have to go all the way to Quintana de Valdevielso, another 27kms, to find a place to sleep. Alternatively you could go off-piste to Oña (if you didn't come to Frias that way), 14 kms farther on. From Oña to Quintana de Valdevielso is about 24 kms. It is a trade off, though - the next day, if walked on the Viejo proper, takes you past some real jewels, which you would miss.
the taste of some of those jewels and my wikiloc. I mixed GR99 and GR85 to get the most of them on the most optimal route.
13218471Master.jpg 13218480Master.jpg 13218495Master.jpg 13218498Master.jpg 13218521Master.jpg
 
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caminka

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Well, as someone who is likely to be pushing against a time crunch, I wonder if there is any way to extend this day’s walk, either using the short route or the longer route.

And Vira, when you mentioned the “Viejo proper”, does that mean that there are two essentially parallel routes, one the GR99 Ruta del Ebro and the other the Viejo?
viejo camino in this thread is the camino that in this section follows the GR99.
but, for the sake of the argument, I would propose another (or perhaps the original?) viejo camino based on the route of the abbot gundisalvo I mentioned above. it runs more to the south of GR99 because of course this was not the most accessible valley in those times. I need to get my hands on gundisalvo's itinerary first, to be any more precise then a very general course.
 
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caminka

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Alternative way: Yew Trees
Nearby but not on the camino there is a protected stand of ancient yews – 64 numbered and well-studied trees that are about 1000 years old. Here is an account of a loop track that takes in part of the camino as well as the trees:
http://tierrasdeburgos.blogspot.com/2011/09/ruta-de-senderismo-los-tejos-de.html

The track passes through Hoz de Valdivielso, so if you are super interested in seeing them, it would be easy to walk to the Valdivielso that way instead of using @caminka ’s track.
oh, oh! I love old trees!
 

VNwalking

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and one of the most amazing little romanesque churches I have ever cme across, san pedro de tejada.
This church is famous, it looks like for very good reason.
1590391475433.png

What is not clear is whether it is ever open.

My general sense, and please correct me if this impression is wrong, @caminka , is that the day from Trespaderne to QdV is a special one. I would be tempted to go from Frias to Trespaderne via Tobera/Oña (the first map in my last post), and then to QdV the next day, following your track - thus getting the best of both worlds.
What do you think?
 

VNwalking

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oh, oh! I love old trees!
Me too!! Check out that website, it blew me away; there is a little video and the trees are start at about 3:30 into it. Going that way means missing the rock hermitage and the waterfall, but these are really serious trees, rare and special ones, and there are a number of them..
 
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peregrina2000

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I can’t contribute much to the choice of route, but I can hunt around for opening times!

The official web site of León y Castilla Turismo says it’s private property. Not sure how in the world that could have happened! It does, however, list phone numbers 947 303 200 or 652 641 079 to arrange a visit. Suggests that we might be able to get in with a call a few days ahead.

Most websites show few if any photos of the interior, but it does look very pretty. One blog said the guide prohibits pics inside, so that might explain it! Arteguías comments on svelte, high arches and shows a picture. If you haven’t seen this website, it is pretty comprehensive. Links to about 35 monasteries in the province of Burgos alone, and a page for every province in Spain. YIKES!
 

VNwalking

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Thank you, @Theatregal, but truely I'm standing on the shoulders of giants.
Here is something that @caminka posted about names in another thread in 2018, and it is worth a reprise here (especially the part that I put in bold):
I am rooting for the route pamplona - salvatierra/aguirain (at least) to be named camino viejo - based on roman and medieval finds and the travel journey by abbot gundisalvo in 902. it would be exciting if this could be extended to aguilar along the abbot gundisalvo's route (Salvatierra, Alegría, Armentía, Trespuentes, Puentelarra, Tobalina, Frías, Oña, Sedano, Amaya, Nogales, Mave, Aguilar) which is different then GR 99 ruta del ebro, but then there would be two options!

attached is a quick sketch of how I see the connections.
WP_20180611_13_05_29_Pro.jpg
 

VNwalking

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the travel journey by abbot gundisalvo in 902. it would be exciting if this could be extended to aguilar along the abbot gundisalvo's route (Salvatierra, Alegría, Armentía, Trespuentes, Puentelarra, Tobalina, Frías, Oña, Sedano, Amaya, Nogales, Mave, Aguilar) which is different then GR 99
OsmAnd makes that simple to plot, at least in terms of the basic route, which could be easily tweaked.
Here you go:
Screenshot_20200526-075528_OsmAnd.jpg
Screenshot_20200526-080208_OsmAnd.jpg
20200526_080717.jpg
 
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caminka

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This church is famous, it looks like for very good reason.
View attachment 75695

What is not clear is whether it is ever open.

My general sense, and please correct me if this impression is wrong, @caminka , is that the day from Trespaderne to QdV is a special one. I would be tempted to go from Frias to Trespaderne via Tobera/Oña (the first map in my last post), and then to QdV the next day, following your track - thus getting the best of both worlds.
What do you think?
in 2012 the church was open in the morning and in the afternoon. the lady that attended to the key was later at the albergue arte y natura in quintana de valdivielso. she was very nice. I arrived at the church with about 15min to spare (till 12h, probably) but she let me run around ohing and ahing and taking photos till I was satisfied. :) there was a small admission fee, I think.

your impression is correct, @VNwalking. :) these two days would be very splendid indeed. in fact, with all the awesome detours/alternatives popping up here, I might be considering walking it again! (not that I wouldn't, it's just that I have this wish list of caminos...)
 
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caminka

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Me too!! Check out that website, it blew me away; there is a little video and the trees are start at about 3:30 into it. Going that way means missing the rock hermitage and the waterfall, but these are really serious trees, rare and special ones, and there are a number of them..
I admit it would be an easy decision for me, having already seen the rock hermitage and the romanesque church and the gorge with the waterfall. ;)
what I would perhaps consider is peeking into one of the incredibly narrow clefts in the ridge to the north-east of GR 99/85. check this wikiloc track, for example. ooo....
 
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VNwalking

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peregrina2000

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And...ahem...
San Pedro de Tejada has some 'unusual' sculptural elements.
It turns out this is not unusual. Who knew?
Not to derail this thread or send it into the gutter, but San Pedro de Cervatos on the Olvidado is full of them! I couldn’t bring myself to take any pictures, though.

But I see the article you link to mentions it as the premier repository of sexual images in romanesque!
 

peregrina2000

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Ender just posted this link, and the term Merindades sounded familiar. :p

So here are some natural wonders to incorporate into your (hopefully our) little meander.

 

VNwalking

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Day 12, Quintana de Valdevileso – Pesqueria del Ebro 27.96 km
After meandering across the Valdivielso, it's time to move on.
Today we part company with the Ebro to go up and over the alto, but then re-meeting the rio higher up. So it's a day of a going up about 500 m and then at the end back down four-fifths of that. Why the route doesn't just follow the river is a question that is nagging at me but what we see going the other way is worth it.

Soon after leaving QdV, we come to San Nicolás de El Almiñé, which is definitely worth exploring.
This unusual window is from there:
1590593995776.png

And inside, there is this fine retablo:
1590594031086.png

This is an area with old pilgrimage roots. From the website about Las Merindadades:
“Until [recently], the road that led from the Merindades to the capital of Burgos passed through El Almiñé. In this town the ascent of La Cuesta began, an impressive mountain pass that culminated, some 1,000 meters above sea level, in the hermitage of Nuestra Señora de la Hoz. The construction of the current [road through] the Puerto de la Mazorra diverted traffic and hermitage and town lost significance. El Almiñé is the paradigm of what some authors consider to be a village-road since, in fact, its urban structure follows, broadly speaking, the linearity of the Burgos road. [...] Travelers, some of them pilgrims, left the Burgos Mountains most likely for this magnificent place. Today, in El Almiñé there is no more bustle. The abandonment of the road plunged the town into oblivion.”
The old calzada is our route onwards, and it's spectacularly well preserved.
Were you coming from the North (of you’d detoured to Poza de la Sal as @Sheffield James did, you could descend into QdV on this road. The rest of us walk up it early in the day, much easier than going down on that surface!
1590594259566.png 1590594297646.png

The old road climbs steeply and then levels off at Santa Isabel o de la Hoz,
1590594341413.png

Here, the camino turns right crossing the Alto de la Mazorra towards Pesqueria del Ebro.
From the mirador on the CL-629, the view down to the Valdevielso looking back the way we came from yesterday is not too shabby at all:
1590594389621.png

The Dolmen de la Cotorrita is a little to the North of the camino before the village of Porquera del Butrón, well worth the short detour. This dolmen is roughly 5,500 years old and was excavated and restored in 1969. It has an east-west orientation, and at least 15 people were buried there.
1590594606808.png
This wesite mentions the church at Porquera de Butron as having been 'restored;' it is certainly not of the caliber of others we have seen down in the valleys. Up here on the mesa, life is harsher than in the valley, and the village church in Cubillo de Butron has obviously fallen on hard times.

From here the camino zig-zags back down to the Ebro.
Right at the old bridge over the river in Pesquera de Ebro is the Ermita de San Antonio; here we cross the bridge and enter the village.
1590596844914.png
The first document that talks about Pesquera de Ebro is dated to 941. As the town's name implies, it emerged as a fishing place and developed on the edge of the strategic bridge over the Ebro.
The town, with emblazoned houses and old palaces, is considered a Historic Site. It's is one of the towns with the highest density of noble shields in all of Spain. Most are from the 17th and 18th centuries, a time when a large part of their inhabitants were nobility. But now it is a humble place with only a handful of residents.
There are at least two CRs to stay, one right by the river.

So here are some natural wonders to incorporate into your (hopefully our) little meander.
'Our' sounds very good to me, Laurie! may it be so!
And wow, thank you. Waterfalls, look at them all!
I'll have a look in the morning in more detail. It's too late to dive into that rabbit hole...
 

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VNwalking

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I'm sorry this is out of sequence, but I have this to add after looking at the link you got from Ender, @peregrina2000 .

Day 11 Add-on - side trip from Quintana de Valsivielso
Once you arrive in QdV and are settled in your accommodation, if you want an evening stroll there is a very short 1.1 km side trip worth taking to Iglesia de San Miguel and the Torrede los Velasco, along the Ebro near Valdenoceda, just North of QdV. Alternatively, it is possible to stay quite closeby in a CR in Valdenoceda.
1590662182892.png
https://www.lasmerindades.com/en/node/19497

There is hidden history from the 1930s here in Valdenoceda; if you are interested to know the links, please send me a PM.

Also nearby is the walk up the Ebro on the GR99 described here:
https://yendoporlavida.com/2018/11/30/ruta-del-desfiladero-de-los-hocinos-merindades/

Ahead are days of the Ebro Gorge, so while beautiful, this is definitely somewhere extra to go if you arrive at QdV with itchy feet.
 
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caminka

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And...ahem...
San Pedro de Tejada has some 'unusual' sculptural elements.
It turns out this is not unusual. Who knew?
I thought that it was a neat way of educating poor illiterate peasants about the mysteries of gender. :p
I love corbels. I think they are one of the very few insights into the mind of common people of the middle ages left.
 
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VNwalking

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I love corbels. I think they are one of the very few insigts into the mind of common people of the middle ages left.
Me too. I often wished on the Inierno that I had a better zoom lens, because there was a veritable bestiary on some of the churches.
 

caminka

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Day 12, Quintana de Valdevileso – Pesqueria del Ebro 27.96 km
After meandering across the Valdivielso, it's time to move on.
Today we part company with the Ebro to go up and over the alto, but then re-meeting the rio higher up. So it's a day of a going up about 500 m and then at the end back down four-fifths of that. Why the route doesn't just follow the river is a question that is nagging at me but what we see going the other way is worth it.

Soon after leaving QdV, we come to San Nicolás de El Almiñé, which is definitely worth exploring.
This unusual window is from there:
View attachment 75849

And inside, there is this fine retablo:
View attachment 75850

This is an area with old pilgrimage roots. From the website about Las Merindadades:


The old calzada is our route onwards, and it's spectacularly well preserved.
Were you coming from the North (of you’d detoured to Poza de la Sal as @Sheffield James did, you could descend into QdV on this road. The rest of us walk up it early in the day, much easier than going down on that surface!
View attachment 75851 View attachment 75852

The old road climbs steeply and then levels off at Santa Isabel o de la Hoz,
View attachment 75853

Here, the camino turns right crossing the Alto de la Mazorra towards Pesqueria del Ebro.
From the mirador on the CL-629, the view down to the Valdevielso looking back the way we came from yesterday is not too shabby at all:
View attachment 75854

The Dolmen de la Cotorrita is a little to the North of the camino before the village of Porquera del Butrón, well worth the short detour. This dolmen is roughly 5,500 years old and was excavated and restored in 1969. It has an east-west orientation, and at least 15 people were buried there.
View attachment 75855
This wesite mentions the church at Porquera de Butron as having been 'restored;' it is certainly not of the caliber of others we have seen down in the valleys. Up here on the mesa, life is harsher than in the valley, and the village church in Cubillo de Butron has obviously fallen on hard times.

From here the camino zig-zags back down to the Ebro.
Right at the old bridge over the river in Pesquera de Ebro is the Ermita de San Antonio; here we cross the bridge and enter the village.
View attachment 75857
The first document that talks about Pesquera de Ebro is dated to 941. As the town's name implies, it emerged as a fishing place and developed on the edge of the strategic bridge over the Ebro.
The town, with emblazoned houses and old palaces, is considered a Historic Site. It's is one of the towns with the highest density of noble shields in all of Spain. Most are from the 17th and 18th centuries, a time when a large part of their inhabitants were nobility. But now it is a humble place with only a handful of residents.
There are at least two CRs to stay, one right by the river.

'Our' sounds very good to me, Laurie! may it be so!
And wow, thank you. Waterfalls, look at them all!
I'll have a look in the morning in more detail. It's too late to dive into that rabbit hole...
now there is also accommodation in cortiguera, casa rural talamo. cortiguera was during my next day stage because in 2012 it was a village of ruined houses and one or two weekend houses. but it would be nice to stay there because the nearby evening views of the canon del ebro must be amazing.
 

VNwalking

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Day 13. Pesqueria del Ebro – Orbaneja del Castillo 25.8km
Today is about the Cañon de Ebro!
1590930747367.png

There are two possibilities today:
@caminka’s track:
https://www.wikiloc.com/hiking-trai...quera-del-ebro-orbaneja-del-castillo-21433123
Or a shorter flatter version that goes straight up the river, rather than going up and down and doubling back:
https://www.wikiloc.com/hiking-trails/pesquera-de-ebro-orbaneja-23406726

Either offers an amazing day in the Ebro gorge.
If you choose to follow @caminka’s track, the day zig-zags up the Ebro going from one side of the river to the other 3 times. The first third of the day involves a gradual climb of 405m, followed by a sharp descent of 356m. Other than that the camino follows a barely uphill grade, flat but just uphill enough to be following a running river.

The main attraction today is the gorge itself.
Following @caminka’s track, we get a good view of it from Cortiduera the first village we encounter after climbing up the hill above the river. This is a town that was once much more vital and populated than it is now, judging by the crests over hoses doors, and the church is slowly crumbling.

Because of the view, it would be a lovely place to spend the night.
now there is also accommodation in cortiguera, casa rural talamo. cortiguera was during my next day stage because in 2012 it was a village of ruined houses and one or two weekend houses. but it would be nice to stay there because the nearby evening views of the canon del ebro must be amazing.
1590930893413.png
From here the track zig-zags down to Valdelateja. Once there, if you are keen for a break, there may be a spa about 500m off the camino across the river at Balneario de Valdelateja. I say ‘may’ because it was reported closed in 2009, but there looks to be an active website in 2020.
https://hotel-balneario-de-valdelateja.vivehotels.com/en/

At this point, the camino goes first down the Ebro on the right bank, crossing and then going back up the river on the left bank, passing the Ermita de Ebro, crossing back to the right bank near Quintanilla-Escalada with its Iglesia San Miguel.

Around one more sharp Oxbow and we arrive at beautiful Orbaneja del Castillo. It’s been a day of stunning beauty, ending with a bang at this ‘Most Beautiful Village in Burgos.”
1590931084864.png

Orbaneja del Castillo
Orbaneja del Castillo is certainly astonishing. The waterfalls and the way the village is oriented with views down the river reminds me of villages in far off Ladakh, in a part of India that was once called “Western Tibet.” The village is nestled on the north side of the oxbow, an amazing sight: a village that climbs up the hillside, with its terracotta roofs, cobbled streets and wooden balconies. A magnificent waterfall splits the village into two halves, and ragged cliffs tower above it all. There are caves above the waterfall, and across the river are the ruins of the castle that gave the town its name. Hundreds of vultures nest in the cliffs.
1590932191854.png
 

VNwalking

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Yeah, it's almost parallel, but farther south from the look of it.
 

VNwalking

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That is so gorgeous! You can see the whole thing in one sweep of the eye— the river, the village, the gorge... Amazing.

@caminka, what do you know about cave paintings in a cave behind the village? One website I found mentioned that, but I could not find any other information to corroborate it.
 

caminka

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@caminka, what do you know about cave paintings in a cave behind the village? One website I found mentioned that, but I could not find any other information to corroborate it.
I dont' know about cave paintings. :eek: I do remember a guy charging money for a cave behind the village. I climbed above the cave to an overhang - mirador de la cueva del agua on google maps. very nice view of the castillo rocks across the canyon.
 

VNwalking

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I can't find much more about cave paintings, other than a few asides in larger websites. If there were any of significance, I am guessing that we would know about it!
But this is a fascinating place, and if you want a rest day to wander around this would not be a bad choice:

And while we are poking around in Orbanejo de Castillo, it is worth noting that some of the area the camino traverses here and much of the area to the south is included in a UNESCO-recognized Geopark – these are areas recognized for their unique significance as places where the geological history of the planet is exposed for all to see and study.
It's also full of places of cultural interest and the website conveniently has a comprehensive list:

Edit - in that last page is a list of "Bienes culturales intangibles" including this!:
"Camino Viejo de Santiago: trazado del camino de peregrinación primitivo (siglos VIII al XI)"
There you go. We have the right name!
:cool:

And from a general brochure about UNESCO-recognized Geoparks in Spain:
Las Loras Geopark, in Burgos and Palencia (Castilla y León)
A rugged terrain with imposing ravines and rocky outcrops, where you can find more Romanesque churches, convents and monasteries per kilometre than anywhere in Europe. These are the distinguishing features of Las Loras Geopark, which offers plenty of routes to explore on foot, by car or mountain biking. Some of the most spectacular landscapes are the gorges of the rivers Ebro and Rudrón (in Burgos) and Las Tuerces (in Palencia), close to the interesting Cave of Los Franceses and the recommended Mirador de Valcabado viewing point. Throughout most of the park you’ll also find pre-Roman castros, Neolithic dolmens, and Iron Age sites like the castros of Monte Bernorio, Peña Amaya, Peña Ulaña and Monte Cildá. Many of the park’s waterfalls are easy to access, such as those of Orbaneja del Castillo (Burgos) and Covalagua (Palencia). The area is ideal for adventure sports like rock climbing or canyoning.
Here is a stunning photo from one of those sites, of Peña Amaya with a gorgeous church in the foreground:
1591181291795.png

Amaya was the old capital of the Cantabrian people until its fall at the hands of the Visigoths, and in Medieval times it was an important stop on the way to Santiago. It is well south of here, but along the alternative (historical) route to Aguilar that @caminka was talking about:
it would be exciting if this could be extended to aguilar along the abbot gundisalvo's route (Salvatierra, Alegría, Armentía, Trespuentes, Puentelarra, Tobalina, Frías, Oña, Sedano, Amaya, Nogales, Mave, Aguilar) which is different then GR 99 ruta del ebro, but then there would be two options!
OsmAnd makes that simple to plot, at least in terms of the basic route, which could be easily tweaked.
Here you go:
Screenshot_20200526-075528_OsmAnd.jpg
 
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VNwalking

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Day 14. Orbaneja del Castillo – Polientes 18.5km (or 26.25 with side trip to Ermita) 17.8 or 26.02
Between OdC and Aguilar de Campoo, we mostly follow the Ebro and dip in and out of Cantabria, which has a zig-zag boundary with Castilla y Leon.

There are a number of worthwhile detours from this short stage if you are into cave hermitages.
First, on the left soon before you arrive at Villaescusa, there is a short spur off the camino that goes to Ermita Rupestre de El Tobazo.

Then, about 8km after leaving Orbaneja del Casrtillo, turn right taking the bridge across the river at Barrio de Cascajar, to do a loop that begins with the cave church Iglesia de Arroyuelos:
https://www.cantabriaromanica.com/articulos/iglesia-rupestre-de-arroyuelos
1591366075679.png

On the return leg to the camino you can visit the small Iglesia de Santa Santa Maria. There was once a Roman imperial villa in Santa Maria de Hito, which was excavated in the 70s and 80s, but then unfortunately re-buried so there is nothing to see.

An additional out and back 3.9 km from Santa Maria de Hito brings you to a really remarkable set of cave hermitages at Presillas de Bricia:
https://visitalasmerindades.es/presillas/
https://www.turismo-prerromanico.com/monumento/san-miguel-de-presillas-20130625215821/
1591366159722.png 1591366188490.png

The total loop adds 8.79km to the day’s walk, but it’s not a long day and the side trip looks totally worth it. If you leave out the leg to Presillas (which I wouldn't because it looks really special) it is about a 5km loop:
1591366267361.png

As I mentioned some stages ago, this is one of many ermitas or iglesias rupestres in the area, all from between the 6th and 10th C.
Here’s a clip from a larger map from:
https://www.turismo-prerromanico.com/arte/eremitorios/mapa/
1591366371675.png
Each pointer on the map is a rock hermitage – and there is a much higher density of them here as opposed to other places in Spain. Between Orbaneja del Castillo and Aguilar de Campoo, six are on (or close to) the route of the camino. That website (link above the photo) blew me away. Before this week, I had no idea that these cave hermitages existed, and they evoke the same sense of mystery as do the desert fathers of the first millennium. Who were these hermits in the wilderness? And how did they live? Back then, these would have been impossibly remote.

This is a beautifully done blog about all the rock churches:
https://chitiya.wordpress.com/2016/11/05/la-ruta-de-las-iglesias-rupestres/

It’s not clear how many of these ermitorios are ever open (though some are small and open to the weather), so best to inquire where you are staying to see if they are gated or locked, and if so how to get in. I found a website that said “[A]ll these churches are usually locked (though they’re striking from the outside too). You’ll need to contact the helpful Oficina de Turismo de Valderredible in advance to arrange visits.”

(It’s worth mentioning in this context that well North of the Viejo – closer to the Olvidado proper – is the huge cave system and hermitage of Ojo Guareña, which is close to the route of the ‘regular’ Olvidado from Bilbao:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ojo_Guareña
https://www.caminodesantiago.me/com...quisicedo-that-may-be-of-your-interest.37352/

This is also worth a look in the same general area, a beautiful walk described in the blog that Laurie posted about while ago:
https://yendoporlavida.com/2019/11/14/ruta-el-ventanon-de-sotoscueva-desde-ojo-guarena/)

If you are tired of cave hermitages, you might still want to take the slight deviation to visit the beautiful Romanesque Colegiata San Martin de Elines, only a small deviation from @caminka ’s track at San Martin de Elines.
1591366547930.png
Here, both the capitals and corbels are remarkable. The Mozarabic remains of the cloister and graveyard, as well as the Rupestrian churches nearby, are evidence of the early inhabitants in the Valderredible Valley.
 

caminka

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Day 14. Orbaneja del Castillo – Polientes 18.5km (or 26.25 with side trip to Ermita) 17.8 or 26.02
Between OdC and Aguilar de Campoo, we mostly follow the Ebro and dip in and out of Cantabria, which has a zig-zag boundary with Castilla y Leon.

There are a number of worthwhile detours from this short stage if you are into cave hermitages.
First, on the left soon before you arrive at Villaescusa, there is a short spur off the camino that goes to Ermita Rupestre de El Tobazo.

Then, about 8km after leaving Orbaneja del Casrtillo, turn right taking the bridge across the river at Barrio de Cascajar, to do a loop that begins with the cave church Iglesia de Arroyuelos:
https://www.cantabriaromanica.com/articulos/iglesia-rupestre-de-arroyuelos
View attachment 76384

On the return leg to the camino you can visit the small Iglesia de Santa Santa Maria. There was once a Roman imperial villa in Santa Maria de Hito, which was excavated in the 70s and 80s, but then unfortunately re-buried so there is nothing to see.

An additional out and back 3.9 km from Santa Maria de Hito brings you to a really remarkable set of cave hermitages at Presillas de Bricia:
https://visitalasmerindades.es/presillas/
https://www.turismo-prerromanico.com/monumento/san-miguel-de-presillas-20130625215821/
View attachment 76385 View attachment 76386

The total loop adds 8.79km to the day’s walk, but it’s not a long day and the side trip looks totally worth it. If you leave out the leg to Presillas (which I wouldn't because it looks really special) it is about a 5km loop:
View attachment 76387

As I mentioned some stages ago, this is one of many ermitas or iglesias rupestres in the area, all from between the 6th and 10th C.
Here’s a clip from a larger map from:
https://www.turismo-prerromanico.com/arte/eremitorios/mapa/
View attachment 76388
Each pointer on the map is a rock hermitage – and there is a much higher density of them here as opposed to other places in Spain. Between Orbaneja del Castillo and Aguilar de Campoo, six are on (or close to) the route of the camino. That website (link above the photo) blew me away. Before this week, I had no idea that these cave hermitages existed, and they evoke the same sense of mystery as do the desert fathers of the first millennium. Who were these hermits in the wilderness? And how did they live? Back then, these would have been impossibly remote.

This is a beautifully done blog about all the rock churches:
https://chitiya.wordpress.com/2016/11/05/la-ruta-de-las-iglesias-rupestres/

It’s not clear how many of these ermitorios are ever open (though some are small and open to the weather), so best to inquire where you are staying to see if they are gated or locked, and if so how to get in. I found a website that said “[A]ll these churches are usually locked (though they’re striking from the outside too). You’ll need to contact the helpful Oficina de Turismo de Valderredible in advance to arrange visits.”

(It’s worth mentioning in this context that well North of the Viejo – closer to the Olvidado proper – is the huge cave system and hermitage of Ojo Guareña, which is close to the route of the ‘regular’ Olvidado from Bilbao:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ojo_Guareña
https://www.caminodesantiago.me/com...quisicedo-that-may-be-of-your-interest.37352/

This is also worth a look in the same general area, a beautiful walk described in the blog that Laurie posted about while ago:
https://yendoporlavida.com/2019/11/14/ruta-el-ventanon-de-sotoscueva-desde-ojo-guarena/)

If you are tired of cave hermitages, you might still want to take the slight deviation to visit the beautiful Romanesque Colegiata San Martin de Elines, only a small deviation from @caminka ’s track at San Martin de Elines.
View attachment 76390
Here, both the capitals and corbels are remarkable. The Mozarabic remains of the cloister and graveyard, as well as the Rupestrian churches nearby, are evidence of the early inhabitants in the Valderredible Valley.
I didn't know about all those cave churches. woow! 😲
unfortunately, I missed the turn-off for the church of elines and beat myself up for it (too) later on. It was a very misty morning and I may have been a bit daydreaming while walking. :oops: don't miss the church, it has remarkable romanesque sculpture.
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
Here is a picture of a medieval hermitage in the Ojo Guareña. The Olvidado crosses through this area, but we didn’t see this! The Camino does take you past several large clusters of paleolithic graves, which were interesting but this is spectacular.

Turns out that this XII century ermita de San Bernabé is about 2.5 km off the camino Olvidado, if I had only known!!!!!

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/2/2a/Ojo_Guareña,_julio_de_2008_(2).jpg
 

VNwalking

Wandering in big circles
Camino(s) past & future
Francés ('14/'15)
San Olav/CF ('16)
Baztanés/CF ('17)
Ingles ('18)
Vasco/CF/Invierno ('19)
Day 15. Polientes – Villanueva de la Nia 13.4 or 17.5 (Road or Caminka’s track)
The way @caminka went is a bit longer than going directly along the road, and you could go that way if you wanted to shorten this leg. but you'd be missing this:

Graves and hermitage of La Velilla -Rocamundo
Near Rebollar de Ebro, quite close to the outset where the camino crosses the river at Polientes, is the hermitage of La Velilla. It’s a very short detour off the camino and a place of local pilgrimage. The building is from the 17th C, with a vaulted apse and a belfry. Adjacent to the hermitage, there are three rock tombs, now open to the weather.

Iglisia San Vicente
Just past the town of Rebollar de Ebro and also a short detour off the camino, San Vicente was built in the 13th century and has been rebuilt several times during the 16th and 19th centuries.

San Pantaleon
A little off the camino between Sobrepeña and Sobrepenilla is San Pantaleón, an archaeological site that has yielded the remains of 4,500 years of human habitation from prehistory to the end of the Middle Ages. Among its numerous ruins are its church and an impressive necropolis from the 13th century. The town of La Puente del Valle on the Ebro near here has an interpretation center. It’s a short detour form the camino – take the next road to the right after leaving Sobrepeña and there will an access on your left after about 1km. Altogether it’s a 2.24km round trip there and back to the camino.
https://enricvillanueva.wordpress.c...-san-pantaleon-la-puente-del-valle-cantabria/
1591695818741.png

Ermita Santa Maria de Entrepuerta
This is right near the camino shortly after the turnoff to San Vicente, built on a rocky outcrop that forms a small cliff, at the base of which is an artificial cave, presumably used by hermits at one point.
At the foot of the belfry and to the south of the hermitage there are more graves, oriented East-West.
1591695873763.png

[The photo above is from:
https://enricvillanueva.wordpress.com/
It’s a very useful website with a list of rock tombs all over Spain, with pages about each one.]

If the days leading through the gorge were about cave hermitages, this part of the camino seems to be about necropoli. There are many, and they stir up many questions...about the burials, about who and when and what happened to the mortal remains of so many...

Iglesia de la Purisma, Sobrepenilla
This church is a little gem, with some quirky sculptures that are more rough than artistic.
A website devoted to the Romanesque describes it this way (Google and my rough translation):
The building defines the archetype of a mountain village church. The workshops that built this type of edifice had few financial means. The [local] stonemasons proved to be skilled in roughing the stone blocks, lifting sturdy stonework, although they left much to be desired in terms of sculpting figurative scenes, demonstrating more imagination than mastery.
1591695937495.png

Villanueva de la Nia.
Posada del Cazador with its welcoming red parasols is a happy sight in Villanueva de la Nia.

There is one more church at the end of the day here at Villnueva de la Nia - the Church of San Juan Bautista, which sits on a sandstone promontory on the far side of town. Its was built in the 12th century, but now only the head with a transept and the semicircular apse are preserved – the rest of the building is a conglomerate of extensions and renovations from the 16th to the 19th Cs. But the iconography in the outer corbels and in the capitals of the triumphal arch are still there, carved the same sometimes erotic style as in San Pedro de Cervatos.
1591695974552.png


Here are @caminka’s photos from her wililoc track: the guy picking his teeth made me chuckle out loud. And then someone has a toothache...and is that woman giving birth!? From this fortunate vantage point it makes me ponder the common and universal woes in the 12th C., when toothaches and birth would have been much more dangerous events than they are now.

1591696031575.png 1591696068978.png

There’s a necropolis here, too, but not well preserved. One site I was looking at said that “it is certain that throughout the perimeter that surrounds the apse there is an extensive necropolis that could possibly be dated between the 10th and 11th centuries.”
 

caminka

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
see signature
Day 15. Polientes – Villanueva de la Nia 13.4 or 17.5 (Road or Caminka’s track)
The way @caminka went is a bit longer than going directly along the road, and you could go that way if you wanted to shorten this leg.
I followed the GR 99 all the way and didn't get lost this time. :)

posada del cazador must have been somehow fortified once. it has interesting corridors that apparently run the whole lenght (circle) of the building.
there is also another house with scallops in its coat-of-arms.

the guy picking his teeth made me chuckle out loud. And then someone has a toothache...and is that woman giving birth!?
these were one of the most interesting corbels I saw. I spent a while guessing what they could represent. I think that is certainy a woman giving birth. quite amazing.
 
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VNwalking

Wandering in big circles
Camino(s) past & future
Francés ('14/'15)
San Olav/CF ('16)
Baztanés/CF ('17)
Ingles ('18)
Vasco/CF/Invierno ('19)
Day 16.
Villanueva de la Nia – Aguilar de Campoo
After following the Ebro since Miranada de Ebro, the Camino Viejo finally leaves it after Villanueva de la Nia – the rio heads one way, north to its source, and we head the other west into a new and less dramatic landscape, up the Valderredible.

As the camino passes the village of Susila, immediately up the scarp from here on the left is the famous Mirador de Valcabado, with a sweeping view of the entire valley. My OsmAnd map says that it’s possible to make a detour up there – it adds 3km to the day and is well worth it if you are fit and have the time. What you miss out on, though, are the next two churches – which are special. (On the map below, the camino is the fine purple line while the detour is the wide one.)
1591954146924.png 1591954168946.png

There’s no doubt that this whole area is Ground Zero for an explosion of humble Romanesque hermitages and village churches. Here is a nice blog that describes a lot of what we encounter between here and Aguilar de Campoo, with some nice photos:
http://entrebosquesypiedras.blogspot.com/search/label/Unos días por el valle de Valderredible
And here is a lovely comprehensive site that offers a ton of information about the Romanesque in Cantabria:
https://www.cantabriaromanica.com/articulos/.c/iglesias

Staying down on the valley floor, shortly after Susila we come to Castrillo de Valdelomar, with its church from the 13th C.
1591954196214.png
1591954229202.png 1591954249005.png
There’s an extensive necropolis there as well.

Iglesia rupestre de Santa Maria de Valverde
From Lonely Planet (of all places!):
Dating back to the 10th century or earlier, Santa María de Valverde is the Ebro Valley's largest iglesia rupestre (rock-cut church). Written accounts from 978 AD describe the church as a simple one-nave affair; a 12th-century Romanesque expansion added the rooftop bell-gable and widened the interior into its present three-nave form.

The church retains a magical, rustic beauty, with irregular stone arches and rough-cut stone floors suffused in ghostly subterranean light. Visits are in conjunction with visits to interpretation centre next door, which gives an excellent introduction to this and the other rock-cut churches of the Ebro Valley.

Hours:10am-2pm & 4-7pm Sat & Sun mid-Mar–Jun & Sep–mid-Dec, Tue-Sun Jul-Aug, Mass 1pm Sun year-round.
Here is a map; the CA 273 is the camino here:
1591954286352.png
1591954348753.png 1591954364312.png

Pomar de Valdivia (Iglesia Parroquial La Santa Cruz)
Right after the Iglesia Santa Maria de Valverde, the camino leaves the road and takes off to the left. But if you carry on straight ahead you come to Peña Hortada (on the left as you walk towards the town of San Martin de Valdelomar), and Iglesia de San Augustin in the village.

Eremitorio rupestre de Peña Horacada
Another simple cave hermitage, reminiscent of the first one we encountered after Trespaderne. The website at the bottom of the photo is a wonderful source of information.
1591954394304.png

Iglesia de San Augustin

Another old and humble village church
1591954420301.png

Monte Bernorio
Approaching AdC, the camino swings South around Monte Bernorio. It may not be worth a detour as there is not much to see, but it’s worth knowing what you are walking past. It’s a nondescript hill, and one that looks like nothing much after the high landscape drama of the last days. But it it's the site of one of the most important cities of the Iron Age Pre-Roman people in Cantabria, which was continuously inhabited from the 8th C BC to the time of the Roman conquest. On it are what remains of its walls, fortifications, a fort and the necropolis. Some people consider Monte Bernorio to be one of the most important archeological sites in Europe.
Here is its story:
https://www.researchgate.net/public...the_Oppidum_of_the_Cantabri_at_Monte_Bernorio

South of Monte Bernorio, the two villages the camino passes through – Rebolledo de la Inera and Renedo de la Inera – each have a small 12th C church.

Soon the camino crosses the autovia and enters the outskirts of Aguilar de Campoo.
Thus ends this quieter but spectacular journey, as we merge with and continue on the 'regular' Olvidado that comes up from Bilbao. For the combination of history, patrimony, landscape, and sheer beauty this route rivals some of the best caminos out there, and I am surprised it is such a 'sleeper.'
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
It’s a good thing this thread is ending, since it takes my ipad a few minutes to load it all up. What an amazing document you have created during this lockdown, VN. Many many hopes that it will someday become a real walk.

I made it a sticky, so it will not slide down into Olvidado oblivion. But isn’t it time to start a new virtual planning thread on the Camino de las Asturias from Aguilar to Oviedo? :p Of course, if you need a well-deserved rest, your fan club can wait a while.
 

VNwalking

Wandering in big circles
Camino(s) past & future
Francés ('14/'15)
San Olav/CF ('16)
Baztanés/CF ('17)
Ingles ('18)
Vasco/CF/Invierno ('19)
But isn’t it time to start a new virtual planning thread on the Camino de las Asturias from Aguilar to Oviedo? :p Of course, if you need a well-deserved rest, your fan club can wait a while.
Haha! Thank you...
First I have to follow the Olvidado to Ponferrada. But I am already past Cistierna, so you won't have tooo long to wait.

Doesn't the Camino de las Asturias part company from this route way back in Alava? I have to go back and check. However it goes, it'll be a good wee walk!
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
Doesn't the Camino de las Asturias part company from this route way back in Alava?
Oh, yes, that’s right. I think the split may be Puebla de Arganzon. It crosses the Olvidado at Cervera de Pisuerga, which is one day northwest of Aguilar de Campoo, so it must run a little north of the Ebro route you’ve so brilliantly laid out here.
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
Now that the virtual planning effort is complete, I have decided to move this thread over to the Olvidado sub-forum. When I research an untravelled camino, I go first to the sub-forum and scroll through. I am afraid this gold mine of a thread would get lost if left over in the virtual camino realm. I think it is the most exhaustive and excellent effort I have seen when it comes to mapping out possibilities on an untravelled camino. Many gold stars and many hugs of thanks to @VN!!!!!!!!!

Buen camino, Laurie
 

VNwalking

Wandering in big circles
Camino(s) past & future
Francés ('14/'15)
San Olav/CF ('16)
Baztanés/CF ('17)
Ingles ('18)
Vasco/CF/Invierno ('19)
To cap off the thread here are a few tidbits I found about Aguilar de Campoo:

In a locked cave above AdC are the remains of two tombstones, which are said to mark the graves of Bernardo del Carpio (son Infanta Doña Ximena, daughter of King Don Alonso el II who died in the 850s), and of Fernán Gallo "a native of Burgos, Chancellor Maior in the battle of Ronces Valles where he lost an eye but not the banner." There is a piece of faux-history abut the tomb that has camino connections: Durendal (the sword of Roldán who died near Roncesvalles) was said to be in the tomb of Bernardo del Carpio who – according to legend – took the sword after the battle of Roncesvalles. So it ended up with him here after he died, In 1522, Carlos I took the sword to Madrid, where it remains. Some sword or another, that is...Durendal or not, this story would have been a nice lure for pilgrims and donors.

In town, below the castle is Ermita de Santa Cecilia, with its famous capital with the slaughter of the innocents.
1592228587286.png
AdC has a bunch of churches in addition to that:
Monastery of Santa María la Real (11th-13th centuries)
Collegiate Church of San Miguel (11th-16th centuries)
Church of Olleros de Pisuerga (7th-9th centuries)
Church of San Andrés (12th century)
Monastery of Santa Clara (founded in 1430)

Of these, the Monastery of Santa Maria la Real is farthest out of town to the West. According to an ancient legend, the origins of this monastery date back to the early 9th century, when the inhabitants of the northern mountain ranges gradually began to migrate towards the plains of the central plateau. However, the earliest records of and the first donations to the monastery date to the start of the 11th century; eventually its influence would extend into the lands of Palencia, Valladolid, Burgos and Cantabria.

The Collegiate of San Miguel is in the middle of the old town.
The church has three spacious pointed naves and dates back to the visigothic times, but was rebuilt in the 11th century. The main front is Romanesque and the original Gothic altarpiece was replaced by a Renaissance one and the tower is Herreran. The church contains sepulchres dating from the 12th-16th centuries and the white marble mausoleums of the marquises of Aguilar, who are represented praying and with clothes reaching down to their ankles.

Olleros de Pisuerga - the Church of the Santos Justo and Pastor
This is another cave church, well out of town to the South on the outskirts of Olleros de Pisuerga. From the outside you can only see by a small Atrium built in modern times, but inside is a Romanesque church, with two naves topped by barrel vault and its respective apses with the typical quarter sphere; the oldest part of the church is the the Sacristy and funeral chapel.

There's a very nicely done website that is a source of a lot of detailed information about Romanesque churches in the area here, including a name and phone number to call for keys! (The photo above came from this website):

This is pretty sketchy information about AdC, so if anyone who's walked the Olvidado has anything more to add, please sing out!

In my walking, I'm well along on my way to Ponferrada at this point - but will not continue the thread past Aguilar de Campoo. There's already plenty information out there from here on out!
 
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VNwalking

Wandering in big circles
Camino(s) past & future
Francés ('14/'15)
San Olav/CF ('16)
Baztanés/CF ('17)
Ingles ('18)
Vasco/CF/Invierno ('19)
I think it is the most exhaustive and excellent effort I have seen when it comes to mapping out possibilities on an untravelled camino. Many gold stars and many hugs of thanks to @VN!!!!!!!!!
Awwww, thank you Laurie. It was such a joy, and a real gold mine of wonder. This route truly has it all.
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
On our Olvidado zoom, I was just reminiscing about visiting the Ermita underneath the castle in Aguilar. The first time through, I walked up to the doors and found them locked, not surprising. On my second walk, after @alansykes waxed poetic about being lucky to get inside, I did a little research. And last year, I struck gold. I went to the priest’s house, which is right in the main square near the Colegiata. I gave him my passport and he gave me, gasp, the keys to the church. And the keys to the light box inside the church. It could only have been more atmospheric if the keys had been those hunge medieval clunkers, but they were modern keys. In any case, opening up the church and entering alone, and then turning on the lights and having all the time in the world to sit quietly was a remarkable experience. And the capital is five-star.

1592231065182.jpeg
 

VNwalking

Wandering in big circles
Camino(s) past & future
Francés ('14/'15)
San Olav/CF ('16)
Baztanés/CF ('17)
Ingles ('18)
Vasco/CF/Invierno ('19)
And the capital is five-star.
It's one of several, from the look of that blog I linked to above. If you go, print out the text of that (or pull it up on your phone) and you will have a complete guide.

And (as a coda, to tie up a loose end from earlier) from another unrelated post in the same website, there is an interesting explanation for the startling or obscene elements of the churches like San Pedro de Tejada, that of apotropaic protection (machine translated from Spanish):
in the line that we have been maintaining for years, they represent grotesque, satirical and daring, mysterious and intriguing scenes, which they seek to attract attention and surprise the gaze of those who pass through there - and the system is still successful - to protect the temple from envy and bad feelings, especially when it is an isolated church in the countryside, like many lost hermitages in the mountains, which have at least some obscene element for protection.
 
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VNwalking

Wandering in big circles
Camino(s) past & future
Francés ('14/'15)
San Olav/CF ('16)
Baztanés/CF ('17)
Ingles ('18)
Vasco/CF/Invierno ('19)
Today I made it to Ponferrada!
Thanks everyone, having this to do kept me focused.
In the near future, probably next week, I'll start the Camino de las Asturias...so stay tuned. :cool:
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances(2006) Portugues(2013)
San Salvador (2017) Ingles (2019)
Today I made it to Ponferrada!
Thanks everyone, having this to do kept me focused.
In the near future, probably next week, I'll start the Camino de las Asturias...so stay tuned. :cool:
Well done, intrepid and focussed pilgrim! Wherefore next, I wonder?...
 

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