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Camino Aragon

Discussion in 'Camino Aragones' started by geraldkelly, Nov 29, 2009.

  1. geraldkelly

    geraldkelly Member

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    Hi Everybody!

    I recently returned from spending a few weeks walking the Camino Aragon?s and I wanted to tell you a little bit about it and hopefully persuade some of you to try it out.

    The Camino Aragon?s enters Spain over the Col de Somport. It is the continuation of the French Chemin d’Arles which starts in Arles near the Mediterranean coast and does a loop through Toulouse and Pau to the Spanish border.

    Unfortunately. I didn’t get the chance to walk all of it, but the bit that I did walk left me wishing I could do the rest.
    I started in Orolon Sainte Marie, which is a beautiful little town on the French train network and easily reachable from Toulouse. Oloron is in the Valley of the river Aspe and it’s south through this valley that you walk for three day to Spain. It's a beautiful, green and luscious valley with an extremely moist micro-climate. The people are friendly and there are hostels within easy walking distance of each other. It's the last habitat of the bears which once lived all along the Pyrenees. They were reintroduced here a few years ago (much to the joy of the local sheep farmers!) I managed to avoid getting mauled. Although, I was bitten by a dog. I think it muat have been punishment for all the times I assured people that dogs aren’t a problem on the Camino. Luckily it wasn’t serious and the local, chain-smoking doctor fixed me up and packed me off to the police to report the culprit.

    The only negative thing is that, because in places the valley floor is litterally only metres across, you’ll have to walk a bit along the side of a busy road and there isn’t much room for pedestrians. Thankfully, it’s only a short stretch. Oh, yes, and the other thing is, it’s a hell of a climb up to the Col de Somport. But you knew that already! I really struggled on it despite, or possibly because of, a massive feed of greasy chips and fried duck in the last village.

    Once over the top it’s a straight run via the surprising Canfranc Estacion to Jaca which is a beautiful and historic town. Then it’s another 3 or 4 days to join the great unwashed trudging their way along the Camino Franc?s.

    As usual I did a quick guide to help anyone who might like to give it a go. I think it’s a great alternative to the St Jean/Roncesvalles route, especially if you’ve walked it already.

    If you're interested in knowing more about this route I did a short guide to it. You can download it from my website at http://www.caminoguide.net

    Buen Camino!
    Ger
     
    Last edited: Nov 29, 2009
  2. Villagejonesy

    Villagejonesy New Member

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    Thanks Ger,

    I also hiked the Camino Aragones, from Oloron. I was originally going to start at Lourdes, but as I was approaching by train, I had the feeling I should go to Pau and start from there, for some reason. Well, when I got to Pau, there wasn't a darned hotel in the whole town, and the information lady at the train station didn't know anything about pilgrim's hostels, and the town information place was closed already; so I started from Oloron after all. I never did find a single hotel in Pau save one, which was well on the way out of town. So I would have been hours poking around for it. Good thing! Oloron is by far a preferable town to start from.

    I also agree that Jaca was a very neat town, and that the road from Oloron to there was very picturesque in a great many places. Fun to hear the kind German man at the albergue reading about what to do if you have to run from a "beer," until his Belgian friend told him how to pronounce "bear!"

    Were you bitten by one of those big, stupid, white Pyrenees dogs? There was one that barked up a storm at me, and followed me up the road--for over 30 meters! I wish those things would be kept on a leash more often!

    One other neat and unique thing that people get to see on this trail is the beautiful ghost town of Ruesta, by the lake where the Yesa dam is. It's a ruined town--the sign says "Population: 1"--where, over fifty years ago, the first Yesa dam caused the people to have to leave town. On coming around the trail and seeing the two medieval towers in town, I gasped, and knew that this was a special sight. Then, as I walked in, I realized it was a ghost town. You'd see overgrowth, in what used to be someone's bedroom or living room; crumbling flower-boxes, that someone used to tend; and a balcony railing, now hanging out in mid-air over these deserted little roads. There was a guy there named Antonio, who everyone was afraid of, because he looked like a biker, with a denim vest, earrings, and half his teeth missing. But I got to talking with him, and he was the greatest guy, buying me beers, talking about Ruesta's history, and feeding us his homegrown sugared bell peppers. He told me how the dam had caused the diaspora, and said that the new planned extension of the dam was being protested for that reason. That's why you always see "Yesa No," on the local graffiti. Ruesta is a beautiful town, and it is a poignant sight to see.
     
  3. Villagejonesy

    Villagejonesy New Member

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    Meant to add: be aware that if you go over the Col du Somport, all the hotels in Canfranc-Estacion are closed for winter. I went 18 or 20 kilometers up and over the Col du Somport, and then thought, "well it's downhill, and it's not sundown yet--I'll keep going!" Then, at 7:00 or 7:15, I got to Canfranc-Estacion and found that out. The information office lady didn't want me to walk in the dark, but wanted me to take a bus to Villanua; so I had to take a bus there, sleep there, and then walk back 4 kilometers to Canfranc-Estacion, to start over from there in the morning! That's a drag, so if you go over the pass in winter, then be prepared either to stay at Candanchu at the top, or else go all the way to Villanua.
     
  4. bobmitel

    bobmitel Guest

    Hi friends, have anybody walked the camino Aragones in the last year?
    I'm going to do it at the beginning of May 2011 and I would like to know if the descend from Somport is difficult or easy (I have problems with my knees, they are 65 y old).
    I will very much appreciate your answers,
    Roberto
     
  5. Atlantic

    Atlantic New Member

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    Hi B

    I've only done this from Jaca, a long time ago, so that's of little help. But what I want to say is just go anyway. If it's too much for your 65 year old knees then youll find a solution. But just go. I am a young bloke in comparison to you as I'm 64 and I find that brains will baffle brawn here. Just start. You will be fine. Only you know what your knees will tolerate so give it a try and come back and tell us!

     
  6. geraldkelly

    geraldkelly Member

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    Hi Roberto!

    I walked from Oloron-Sainte-Marie a few years ago. I found the descent from Somport easy. The first part is steep but it quickly levels out. But then I had found the ascent from the other side extremely difficult.

    Anyway, if you have problems you can get a train from Canfranc Estación to Jaca.

    Ger
     
  7. nathan

    nathan New Member

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    jaca is indeed a great little town. i have wandered around the north of spain for many a happy month and always make a point of staying in jaca. My treat is to stay in the grand hotel with a great pool and it's own mini golf on the roof. the breakfast is mamoth and legendary. on a seperate point...after a weeks walking it is a good place to re stucture if you find you have any of the wrong kit or if those bargain bucket walking boots are wrong for you..(my experience)
     
  8. adapilar

    adapilar Guest

    I am walking alone and Will be arriving Barcelona from NYC at 7:40 a.m. on Monday, June 11.
    I want to arrive in Somport, sleep, begin to walk Tuesday....
    How do I arrive in Somport from Barcelona airport?
    thanks for information
     
  9. fraluchi

    fraluchi 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2015

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    When walking the Camino Aragonés, don't miss to visit the Monasterio de San Juan de la Peña. From Jaca take a short early morning bus to the old monastery, and from there descend towards Santa Cilia. It can be done in a day, weather permitting.
    And before reaching Puente La Reina, do not miss Eunate.
     
  10. lcowan

    lcowan New Member

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    ¡Hola! I'll be walking the Camino Catalán (from Montserrat, near Barcelona) and then the Camino Aragonés this fall (2013). If anyone would like to see the information I've compiled so far, I'd be more than happy to share it. The albergues are few and far between (compared to the Camino Francés), but the route seems to be well worth walking. I'm taking this route because I lived in Barcelona for a few months years and years ago and have very fond memories...
     
  11. michelle 123

    michelle 123 New Member

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    Yes I would like to see the info you have compiled so far?
     
  12. michelle 123

    michelle 123 New Member

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    found you information . Thanks. What are the French albergues/hostels like-do you have to book them in advance-I am walking the camino Aragon in August
     
  13. geraldkelly

    geraldkelly Member

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    Hi

    In France a lot of people do book in advance and August is likely to be busy. However, it's up to you whether you book ahead or take pot luck.

    When I walked in France I never booked ahead and I never had a problem.

    If I was you I'd book someplace for the first night, because it's nice to know when you get off a train in a strange town after a long journey that you don't have to traipse around looking for a place to sleep.

    Buen Camino! (ou Bon Chemin!)
    Ger
     
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