Saturday, October 8, 2016

Paúles de Sarsa - Ligüerre de Cinca

GR1 Sendero Historico day 30.
Distance: 28.6km (871.6km), time spent: 8:11.
Waymarking: Fine.
Weather: Excellent.

Were it not for an excellent climb up to Castillo de Samitier, this stage would not have left many traces of itself in the memory. Then adding an evening in Ligüerre de Cinca that became all other than satisfying, the 30th. day on the trail was not much of a highlight. There was never any doubt of where I had planned to walk to. Ligüerre de Cinca is an earlier abandoned village that has been made into a hotel. Yesterday, I had called and arranged a room for me; I was looking forward to a comfortable night while ghosts howled outside in the night.

After Arcus, the valley beneath the trail is sinking down into the landscape.

Out of the Parque Natural de la Sierra y Cañones de Guara, the scenery is not just as exciting, but it is more pleasant than what has been said about it. And then you got the Pyrenees, the trail has definitely ventured into what is called Prepirineo. Lifting up your gaze at several places, tall mountains and peaks rises up in the horizon. With Paúles de Sarsa still in sight, and the mountains that houses Bagüeste and the other abandoned villages behind, the trail passes through cultivated fields. Through El Coscollar goes one of the more unknown pilgrim roads to Santiago de Compostela, Camino de Sobrarbe.

Naked mountains arises in the background, on the way over the hill to Castejón de Sobrarbe from Arcus.

After Arcus, the route passes above a valley that sinks down into the landscape, the remnants of an old Moorish castle is standing at the edge of the gorge, its guarding eyes closed a long time ago. The path leads up into a hill.

The walk over the hills is a relaxing affair until a hunter appears on the forest road. I do not understand what he says, but what he tries to tell me is more than clear. The hunting season has started and I cannot go on. Still, after showing on the map where I am heading towards and plan to go, he let me continue. With a clear warning that I should stick to the forest road and not leave it in any way possible. I am happy that I do not have to walk a very long detour, but when I continue walking, it is with a certain tension in me.

Iglesia de la Asunción, the rotting church in Castejón de Sobrarbe.

From the woods below, I can hear voices and barking dogs. Then a sudden shot from a rifle. Given by the following voices, I understand that the shot hit its mark. At an empty house, most likely an abandoned farm, the GR1 leaves the forest road and continue downwards on a path, which I take my chances on. The shot came from the valley behind me and not from the valley I walk down into. I arrive safely at Castejón de Sobrarbe, a village where the most prominent buildings are the church (Iglesia de la Asunción) that is in the process of rotting and a huge farm building that the trail passes through.

Castillo de Samitier and Ermita de San Emeterio y San Celedonio.

Between Castejón de Sobrarbe and Samitier, the only exciting thing is the question why trail chooses to go down into and through a heavily overgrown bush in La Pardina. Instead of just go the short way around on the road. I look like the abominable snowman when I emerge again, covered by sticky spores.

View from Castillo de Samitier. The Pyrenees mighty in the background. Embalse di Mediano below, with the usually sunken church visible.

At the top of the ridge above Samitier, lies Ermita de San Emeterio y San Celedonio and the ruins of Castillo de Samitier. If the weather is nice, it is somewhat mandatory to go there, it is a little walk, but it is easy. On the way up and from the ruins, there is an amazing view over Embalse di Mediano and north towards the Pyrenees. The water level is now low in the dammed lake and I can see the whole church in the sunken village of Mediano, when the water is higher it is only the top of the church tower you see. It has not been a more mighty view of the Pyrenees so far on the hike.

Inside Ermita de San Emeterio y San Celedonio.

To get to the ruins of the castle, you have to go through the hermitage, which is in a quite good shape. Of the castle however, only the walls remains, the roof is gone and there are large open tears in the remaining walls. Inside, there is a hole in the ground that one should watch out for. It is steep down on each side. Below, I can see the narrow canyon that the trail passes through tomorrow, L’Entremon. My mood is so good that I feel it necessary to drink a beer, which I got from the hostess at Casa Rural de Fina in Paúles de Sarsa, to make it even better. I should have camped up here, or followed the higher traverse down to Ligüerre de Cinca; I would come to regret that I did neither later.

A large tear in the wall of Castillo de Samitier reveals a wonderful view of the Pyrenees to the north.

Because from Samitier, the trail continues to Meson de Ligüerre, a small cluster of houses and a closed restaurant. The remaining kilometres to Ligüerre de Cinca are four unexciting ones. There is little water in this lake as well. When I arrive at abandoned village turned into hotel, I am tired and the first thing I do, is to order myself a cold cerveza con limon. I distinguish myself from the crowd, a sweat hiker in the middle of visitors that clearly belongs to the more posh layers of society.

L'Entremon as seen from above, this is a narrow gorge that the trail passes through after Ligüerre de Cinca. You can see where trail is going, just above the now drier river at the bottom of the gorge. Parts of the route is carved out in the cliffs.

When I ask about where the reception is, I cannot do anything but mutter a mute curse. It is at Meson de Ligüerre, four kilometres back again, or two kilometres on the road. Clearly, the lady I talked to yesterday could have informed me about that, she even spoke English. Despairingly I realize that tomorrow’s already planned long day, now looks like to be even longer. In the end, I call up the reception. Fortunately, she is kind and comes to pick me up by car.

The tower in Samitier.

On the way to the reception, the second bomb goes off; it is actually not in the hotel at Ligüerre de Cinca that my room is at. It is in the albergue that is located in Meson de Ligüerre. My whole point of going here was to spend a night in the abandoned village. If I had been told that a room was not available in the hotel, if would have been fine, then I could have moved on or camped at Castillo de Samitier. I am not happy. It does not get better by the restaurant is not opening until seven o’clock, some hours from now. Nor by the price, 45 euro for a room without any significant standard, I feel kind of put aside.

Dead trees like a ghostwood at the shore of Embalse de El Grado I.

And to make it even better, the pizza I order at the restaurant, turns out to be a usual frozen pizza that you can buy in a shop, the Dr. Oetker kind of thing. Though, at this time, I am so tired of everything that I really do not care. I get to relax with some cold beers anyway. It is Saturday evening and here it is totally quiet. I dream myself back to Castillo de Samitier and the mighty Pyrenees.

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