We start from the centre of Alagón, going down the Calle Chacón, in the direction of the Calle de la Estación, because we’re going toward a bridge which crosses the train line outside of town. Going straight ahead, the road takes us over a second bridge, this one crossing AP-68 highway.
Right after crossing the highway, we turn right onto a road which is at first paved and then becomes a dirt road. This road runs parallel to the highway, which accompanies us on our right for a good stretch. We will reach a bridge over the highway. We don’t cross that bridge, but it serves as a point of reference for a roadway to our left, which we take. This road cuts away from the highway at a right angle.
The dirt road now gives way to the asphalt that marks our path. We keep straight on and we come across Jalón River on our right. We come close to Jalón River following it along its left. We cross the river and after that the path takes us further from it, in a sharp bend to the right. We always keep straight on the asphalt road till we arrive in Torres de Berrellén.
We enter the town on the Calle de Garfilán and we head to the City Hall. We visit the church in Aragon Street and finally we leave town by way of Calle Cervantes and Camino de Sobradiel. We will find ourselves in open fields. About 600 meters further on we cross an irrigation canal and keep going straight. Many of the present-day canals date from the Muslim period. Two kilometres further on we reach a point where the road divides in two in order to allow a canal to flow down the middle of it. We take the roadway to the left, so that the canal is to our right, and we walk parallel to the canal until we reach the small town of Sobradiel.
We look for the church, which is in the park, and we continue ahead passing the church to our left. The Calle del Pino takes us toward the exit from town. We continue straight on the paved road, which after 1.6 kilometres turns 90 degrees to the right and leaves us at a bridge which again crosses AP-68 highway. We cross the highway and find ourselves at a roundabout. We take the second exit, which sends us toward the industrial area. After about 100 meters, we take a paved road (which is later unpaved), which runs alongside the wall of the last company. The train station of Casetas is on our right. About 200 meters ahead we find the Magrisa factory, which we keep on our right. After about two kilometres, this road will take us to Utebo, without crossing the train tracks again and without actually entering into the town of Casetas. We see the town of Utebo in the distance and we head towards its church.
We turn 90 degrees to the left on Calle de Joaquín Costa, which soon becomes Calle Miguel Hernández. We head toward the centre of town. After passing the plaza and a garden, we turn to our right, entering onto Calle Antonio Machado. This takes us out of town, and after a kilometre it crosses a bridge over the highway.
After crossing the bridge, we walk straight ahead, parallel to an irrigation canal on our right. We cross the canal a little further on and continue to follow it, but now it’s on our left. The road “jumps” from one canal to another one, which now is on our right. We follow it just 100 meters and continue straight along our route until we come out on a street from which we can already see the next town: Monzalbarba. Turning to our left, we enter the town by the Calle de Nuestra Señora la Sagrada (an old Roman road), and we walk straight through.
Just as we leave town by the Camino de Monzalbarba, we find the small church of Nuestra Señora la Sagrada. The road turns 90 degrees to the right, but we continue straight ahead on the paved road. We are in the path of La Almozara. We walk always straight on for a few kilometres. We leave a road on our right which leads to a bridge over the highway. We continue straight on our road until we find another bridge over which we cross the highway. After crossing the bridge, we pass through a tunnel, and then cross the last bridge – all of which saves us going through the highway intersection and announces our arrival in Zaragoza. We continue on straight until we reach the bank of the Ebro River. We make a 90 degree turn to our right, and we walk along the riverside path.
We continue on the road, which keeps following the river, which is to our left. In case it is not obvious: what we have before us is what once was ExpoZaragoza-2008, a large international exposition on the topic of water. We enter Zaragoza, where all the roads are fine, as long as we stay near the Ebro River. Located on the river (which we keep always on our left) are the old centre of town and the Plaza del Pilar, which we find after crossing the Puente de Santiago and before reaching the Puente de Piedra.
Autotaxi Ferruz . Tel: 976 854 063
Taxi Aguilar . Tel: 653 706 707
Taxi Angel . Tel: 657 529 269
City Hall . Tel.: 976 462 315
TORRES DE BERRELLÉN
Pilgrims’ Hostel . (8 places).
City Hall: 976 653 101. En el Café Aroa (Avenida Goya, 8) también tienen las llaves del albergue. Tel: 976 653 287.
City Hall . Tel.: 976 770 111.
Hotel El Águila*** . Ctra. Logroño, km 13,4. Tel.: 976 771 100
Hotel Europa . Ciudad de Ponce 4, Tel.: 976 792 900
Hotel Las Ventas*** . Ctra. Logroño, km 10,5. Tel.: 976 770 482.
Pensión Arade . , Las Parras 4, Tel.: 616 997 358
Pensión Don Juan . San Lamberto 14, Tel.: 650 770 575
Pensión Silvano . Cuenca, 2. Tel.: 976 770 584 – 679 232 122
Youth Hostel Baltasar Gracián . C/ Franco y López, 4. Tel.: 976 306 690
Youth Hostel de Zaragoza . C/ Predicadores, 70. Tel.: 976 282 043.
Hostal El Descanso . (24 habitaciones) C/ San Lorenzo, 2. Tel.: 976 291 741.
Hostal San Jorge* . Calle Mayor, 4. Tel.: 976 397 462.
Hotel Las Torres*** . Plaza del Pilar, 11. Tel.: 976 394 250.
Hotel Sauce . Calle Espoz y Mina, 33, Tel: 976 205 050 / 900102146
Pensión Iglesias . c/ Verónica, 14. Tel.: 976 293 161
Pensión Manifestación . Tel.: 976 295 821 / 666 114 096.
TORRES DE BERRELLÉN: The chapel of Nuestra Señora de Castellar, built in the 11th century, was restored in the 20th. The ruins of a castle speak to us of lands reconquered from the Muslims by Sancho Ramírez and Peter I in the 11th century. The town offers us restaurant, pharmacy, health centre, supermarket, and bank.
SOBRADIEL: From 1140, when Ramón Berenguer, prince of Aragón and Count of Barcelona, granted to his vassal Artal the castle and town of Sobradiel, including inhabitants and territory, until 1945, the residents of this town leased their land from the counts of Sobradiel. Starting in 1945, the farmers could buy and own the land they worked. Beside the palace of the dukes of Sobradiel (now the seat of the Casa Consistorial) is found the late-17th century baroque church, built of red brick and dedicated to St. James the Apostle. The town offers restaurants, pharmacies, health centre, supermarkets, and banks.
UTEBO: Not to be missed is the amazing Moorish bell tower of the church of Nuestra Señora de la Asunción (the Moorish-Gothic part from the 16th century and the baroque from the 18th). In majestic fashion, the bell tower changes from a square lower level to an octagonal form. The tile adornment is priceless. Just walking around this town of 13,000 inhabitants, visiting the houses and palaces of the 16th and 17th centuries, is a valuable experience. The ceramics and mosaics remind us of its Roman origins. It was situated on the 8th milestone of the road connecting Cesaraugusta (Zaragoza) and Asturica (the villa of Astora, in the NW of the peninsula). The town offers restaurants, pharmacies, health centre, bicycle repair shop, supermarket, and bank.
MONZALBARBA: The impressive Moorish tower of the old parish church greets our Camino. Like the church, the buildings surrounding it are from the 16th century. The Muslim influence is very strong in this part of our route, as we have noticed. This was originally a Muslim Berber settlement, founded by Abdul Jabbar when he encamped on the river island of Santa Catalina. The town’s name, “manzil-barbar”, means Berber settlement. Pilgrims will find restaurants, health centre, supermarkets, and banks.
ZARAGOZA: An imposing city, with the Basilica of El Pilar as the beacon of the Camino. In our limited space it is impossible to touch on all that might be visited in this 2000-year old city (from 13 BC). A must is a visit to the Virgin, which commemorates St. James’s legendary passage through Spanish lands. The basilica is the first centre of Marian devotion in Christendom. Bearing witness to the St. James tradition are the many hospitals, which served pilgrims walking on the Camino Real. It is worthwhile just to wander through the old part of town and to visit the Palace of Aljafería, seat of the Autonomous Government. The town offers bicycle shop, restaurants, pharmacies, health centre, supermarkets, banks, and a tourism office (next to the basilica). Tel: 902 142 008 / 976 201 200.
Jesuit Fathers: At the Centro Pignatelli we can meet some Jesuit Fathers who are carrying out their spiritual ministry there. They will be happy to stamp credentials for those who arrive when the centre is open. It is located on the Paseo de la Constitución, 6. Tel: 976 217 221.
Notes: We continue to walk with Jesus, in order to see more Him more clearly, love Him more deeply and follow Him more closely. There is no further need to remind you to say the “introductory prayer” before you begin and throughout the day. Remember also that the final conversation is becoming more and more important as we move into this interior knowledge of Jesus who is strengthening our commitment to life. This is discussed with our “friend” Jesus in our conversation at the end of our prayer and during the day.
Grace: I will ask the Father for three things that I need and that only He can grant: a more intimate knowledge of Jesus who has become one of us; a more personal experience of His love for me so that I may love Him more tenderly; and a closer union with Jesus in His mission of bringing salvation to humankind.
Reflection: After watching Jesus healing, another great image of Jesus to admire is his preaching: He was a real innovator as well as a really free man! Admire the clarity and purity of Jesus’ message, and his courage in proclaiming it, even though he was well aware of the danger he was courting. Jesus maintains his unyielding focus on the justice of God’s kingdom. He accepts no hypocrisy, no double dealing. He rejects legalistic or ritualistic positions that raise the letter of law above its true spirit.
Jesus promulgates his new alliance, his plan for living, his plan of action for how we, his followers, will help restore this world to what God originally planned for how human beings would treat one another. The famed “Sermon on the Mount” or “the Manifesto of the Kingdom” comes early in Jesus’ ministry. We have heard these words before, but do not let its familiarity detract from its radical appeal. Listening reverently to this discourse I allow the seed of Jesus’ word to be implanted in me and to take root. Imagine yourself sitting among the impoverished people who gathered on a hillside to listen to Jesus comprehensively laying out his path, his “Way.” Then as now, his way is highly counterintuitive; he is inviting us to be and to live for values that are exactly the opposite of what contemporary culture and advertising tell us to do. In His time, Jesus was in contradiction to His world.
Matthew 23: 11-12; 23-24. He who is greatest among you shall be your servant; whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.
Matthew 5: 1-48. Seeing the crowds, he went up on the mountain, and when he sat down his disciples came to him. And he opened his mouth and taught them, saying…
John 12:44-50. I gear myself up to listen to Jesus, for when I hear His message, I hear the Father.
Closing Conversation: Make a summary of the things I have meditated on during my prayer, talking to Jesus as a friend talks to a friend. Be candid with him about the things I have just found at this time of prayer. If that is how I feel, ask Him to be accepted under His banner. Finish with the Our Father.
On our tour through the old city of Zaragoza, we found the tracks of a figure, little known, but of exemplary significance: Saint Joseph Pignatelli SJ, sixth son of the noble family of the Counts of Fuentes.
The Society of Jesus is suppressed by Pope Clement XIV in 1773. Joseph Pignatelli dies in Rome on November 15, 1811, and fails to meet the restoration of the Society of Jesus in 1814 – for which he struggled- but is able to renew his vows in 1797 with the rest of the Society, which has been kept alive in Russia. The life of Joseph Pignatelli is a long story of adventure and suffering.
The child born in Zaragoza on December 27, 1737 did not think much about the difficulties that life would keep for him. The death of his mother at the age of four makes the family move to Naples, where his father dies five years after. He goes back to Zaragoza, with his older brother. From this date onwards, he studies in a school belonging to the Society of Jesus, which years later he decides to join, along with his younger brother Nicholas.
After entering the novitiate in 1753, he will spend years of training, studies and ministry that will be interrupted when the expulsion of the Jesuits from Spain in 1767. After soldiers entered the school campus of the Immaculate on April 3, 1767, the path of his life would take a very different stage. After spending a day locked in the refectory of the house he will be expelled from the city, with nothing else, and will go to Tarragona, where he will board towards the Papal States. But they are denied asylum in the Papal States and so he begins a tough journey by boat, looking for a place to be hosted. Not until seven months later, in October, the ordeal will end at the port of Ferrara.
It is from the expulsion from Spain when biographers point out that Joseph, still a young Jesuit who has not made his vows, became the comfort, support and assistance to his brother Jesuits, in times of difficulty will take up reins, even the provincial will put him legally in front of his companions, to accompany, accommodate, feed and assist those men who suffer expulsion, overcrowding, lack of food and, above all, not wanting to be hosted anywhere, going from side to side, feeling hated and rejected.
His family, his brother, will suggest more comfortable ways, but he will keep his commitment to the Society of Jesus until the end, together with colleagues at that difficult time. In Bologna, as a diocesan priest, he devoted himself to fight for the full restoration of the Company, which he failed to see.