Coast to Coast

Camino Castellano-Aragones

Gallur – Borja

03 May 2019

After 5 days off in and around Zaragoza, we were ready to start walking again.

In 2012 we walked from Zaragoza to Gallur on the Camino Catalan/Ebro so this time we went by train. The Camino Castellano-Aragones, forgotten for centuries has been re-established by Soriana Association of Friends of the Camino de Santiago. It runs 239 km from Gallur to eventually join the Camino Frances. We will only do 3 days of it.

Click here for Camino Castellano-Aragones map.

We left Gallur at dawn on an overcast day with a strong cold wind blowing from the Moncayo Mountains. Then it started raining. Then we hit the mud, the heavy mud that sticks to your shoes and makes evey step an effort. The walk though is nice enough on farm roads through the fields, no cars, no people. 24.5 km, 5 hours 20 minutes.

Borja was just beginning the festivities in honor of Nuestra Señora de la Peana starting with the “Encierro de Reses Bravas” where wild cattle are let loose in the plaza to chase young men. Nobody was injured and no cattle killed.

One of the joys of walking – seeing the next village (Magallon) 2 hours out and watching it get bigger
Church of Santa María de la Huerta in Magallon, Mudejar style 1350
Just enough rain to make the mud stick
Plaza del Mercado, Borja
The hills behind Borja are honeycombed with private bodegas used for storing wine and escaping summer heat
Artistas del Gremio, a “charanga” brass band that interacts with the audience to build excitement for …
… the wild cattle running down the street into the plaza …
… to chase young men
Ecce Homo: 1930 original | damaged, 2012 | restored
In 2012 an 81 year old parishioner “restored” the Ecce Homo fresco damaged by humidity in the Misericordia Sanctuary near Borja. News spread online of a “botched restoration”. Now over 45,000 visitors from 110 countries have seen it, raising more than €100,000 for local charities

Santuario de Misericordia to Tarazona

04 May 2019

From Borja to Tarazona is 27.5 km but we cut it short by taking a taxi back up to the Santuario de Misericordia so 23.5 km in 5 hours 20 minutes. A fine day, clear skies and sunny but facing strong cold winds all the way.

The way was an easy, fast and deserted gravel road to El Buste, about half way. From then on the path gradually became a barely-visible rough track up and over a remote hillside until a few kms from Tarazona. Just about had enough when a man in a car stopped and gave Pam a most beautiful red rose from his garden!

Tarazona is an old city of narrow streets, surprises around every corner; a very nice place wander around.

Ermita Del Calvario built 1565 at the top of the hill above the Santuario de Misericordia
A cold wind was blowing off the snow capped Moncayo Mountains
The are hundreds of wind turbines here; must be windy all the time
After El Buste the path deterioates until it becomes a barely visible track across remote hills
Arriving at Tarazona
Walking up to the old town
One of the town’s storks with a chick
Mudejar Tower of St. Mary Magdalene was the reference point of the old city
Tarazona City Hall, built 1573
“Hanging houses” in the old Jewish quarter
Tarazona city walls
The bullring, one of the oldest in Spain from 1792, has an unusual octagonal shape

12th century Tarazona Cathedral, a mix of Gothic, Mudejar and Renaissance was restored 1984-2011

Tarazona to Agreda

05 May 2019

A great days walking – out of Tarazona following a small stream, birds singing to Los Fayos. Then along the Val Reservoir and up the Val River Canyon. The Canyon hike was impossibly beautiful and the highlight of our trip.

One of the great things about walking not driving – the path up to Agreda passed by the 8th century Arab Gardens to enter through the 10th century Arab Arch. Agreda is known as “Villa de las Tres Culturas” (Town of the Three Cultures) and traces of Muslim, Jewish and Christian civilizations remain.

The 24 kms took 6 hours but today time passed quickly in fine sunny weather and a light breeze.

From Tarazona to Los Fayos – burbling stream on the left, birds singing in the trees on the right
Los Fayos, a small town attached to the walls of the mountain, first recorded in 1106
Castle of Los Fayos is a rare example of a natural cave castle, built in the 12th century
From Los Fayos we walked beside the Val River Reservoir for about 6 kms …
… continuing along the Val River …
… and up the Val Canyon, a highlight of the day and the trip
Steps up the canyon
Old bee boxes made from wicker and covered with clay
What a way to arrive at Agreda – walking up through the 8th century terraced Arab Gardens …
… to enter the town via the 10th century Arab Arch built in horseshoe style
Moors lived in Agreda from 719 until the expulsion of 1610
The synagogue, a small church of 12th century Romanesque style
It now houses an excellent restaurant where we enjoyed a 5 course lunch
15th century Gothic style San Miguel with 12th century Romanesque bell tower
The church of Our Lady of Miracles with almost cathedral proportions was built in the 16th century