Friday, September 30, 2016

Gallipienzo Antiguo - Sos del Rey Católico

GR1 Sendero Historico day 22.
Distance: 26.1km (640.2km), time spent: 6:25.
Waymarking: Average, part of the trail is badly marked.
Weather: Wonderful.


The breakfast at the hotel stood apart from the dinner, as it consisted of plenty of food. So that I at least can begin the day satisfied both with food and sun, the location of the village makes sure that I get to see the fiery red sunrise in the east.

Sunrise from Gallipienzo Antiguo.

Unfortunately, the stage from the ghost town Gallipienzo Antiguo to the medieval town Sos del Rey Católico is not of the exciting one. The aspirations I got after yesterday's promising 'liberation' from the flat plains and broad landscape of Navarre, now became changed to a small let down. Instead of continuing in the same interesting way as yesterday, it now felt more indescript.

An abandoned farm in Gallipienzo Antiguo, here even the roof has been overtaken by vegetation. In the background to the left we can see Ermita de la Conception o de la Virgen de la Peña.

The excitement was left behind after Gallipienzo Antiguo; in return you get to feel the abandonment closer at hand on the way down from the village, empty shells of forgotten houses stood quietly next to the path. Roof covered by plants. You look at one of the houses and thinks that once a family lived there. Questions about who they were, how they looked, how they lived, how they felt, begin to form in the mind. But there and then, the time and history quiet and gives no answers.

Gallipienzo Antiguo as seen from the valley below.

When the deserted houses of Gallipienzo Antiguo lies above me and I have crossed the otherwise nice bridge over rio Aragón, there are however little that arouses my interest. Caseda offers little else than the possibility of getting something to drink or eat, and some uncertainty of where the trail actually leaves the village. I wonder how much it would cost to make just one small waymark at the places where one are most uncertain, I find a well hidden one behind a thicket of thorns a little later.

Ermita de San Zoilo.

My feet still carries me on however and I arrive at the Ermita de San Zoilo, which is a pilgrimage destination. On the way to and from pastures in the Pyrenees this was an important stopover for shepherds. Walkers on the GR1 Sendero Historico, the small and weary chapel probably sees less of, but it is a peaceful little place. Parts of the buildings has seen their better days. Two of the other guests at the hotel in Gallipienzo was here also, but they had not come on foot as I had.

Canal de las Bardenas. Here you only come if you go the wrong way on the GR1.

I had read that shortly after San Zoilo there was a section where it was supposedly difficult to finding the trail, but that it should have been remedied now. This turned out to be not true, even though there were traces of new waymarks (not for the GR1). I lost track of the trail and suddenly found myself in a completely different place. Next to another canal, which here ran on top of a larger aqueduct, Canal de las Bardenas. Instead of retracing my steps and trying to relocate the trail, I chose to follow the road going next to the canal and from there up to El Caserio de Goyo next to GR1 again (where another route also went, GR13). Perhaps the walk next to the canal a better alternative, but the water in this one was not as clear as in Canal de Navarra.

Torre Añués.

I eat lunch next to the Torre Añués, the not so very impressing remains of an old castle.

Sos del Rey Católico.

Sos del Rey Católico is however well worth walking through a less interesting scenery for. As Olite, this is a jewel of a town. Situated at the top of a small hill, the town consists of a number of impressing surviving buildings from the Middle Age. With even more tight and narrow streets than Olite, packed together like a labyrinth within the old city walls. And there are actually several real dead ends here, small streets that leads nowhere. Inside the city walls lies also the San Esteban church, Castillo de Sos de Aragón, Palacio de los Sada, Loncha Medieval (market), as well as the Santa María del Perdón church and crypt, to mention some of what you will find here. If you want to take a zero day, Sos is not a bad place for that.

Looking over Sos del Rey Católico from the top of Castillo de Sos de Aragón.

For me it will not be a zero day, but luckily I arrive so early that I have good time to explore the town. Situated almost smack in the middle, next to the old medieval market Loncha Medieval and Plaza de la Villa, lies the hostel in which I have acquired the 'tower suite', Hostal Las Coronoas. It is a nice place. There are few tourists here, which is strange, and also no gaudy souvenir shops to see, the absence of both feels liberating. The views from the top of Sos is great, both over the town and the landscape around, but the views for the weather tomorrow is not good. Rumours has it that it will be raining.

A sculpture of the movie director A Luis Garcia Berlanga. There were several of these sculptures around the town, both with and without a person in them.

These villages and towns are situated like pearls on a string, Olite, Ujué, Gallipienzo Antiguo and Sos del Rey Católico. And that is great, when the surrounding scenery is not that exciting all the time, though it probably must exist some of balance there as well. I eat dinner in the restaurant of the hostel, underneath the archways outside, it is as said a good place. Today is the last day of September, tomorrow October is at hand, what awaits me on the trail in that month. This month at least finished with an amazing stay in Sos del Rey Católico.

Typical street view from Sos.

<- Gallipienzo AntiguoPozo Pígalo ->

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