Fuentes de Ebro
Venta de Santa Lucía
We have said goodbye to Fuentes de Ebro, and today we also leave the Camino de Santiago del Ebro: our Ignatian Way follows the Camino Real (Royal Road) that took Iñigo de Loyola as pilgrim to the monastery of Montserrat, and which is the same as the Camino de Santiago Catalán, but in an opposite direction.
From the church door we take the main street before us, and we will walk on it till we reach Ramon y Cajal Street, which starts on the left and that we will walk down on. On Mayor Street, on our right and almost on the asphalt road, a yellow arrow makes us remember that we are in the opposite direction. We arrive at the state road and we cross it, following straight away on the street that diverges: we take the right one, Lorenzo Pardo Avenue. Attention because we have to turn right in 250 metres, on Baño Street. Keep always on the same way until we arrive at a tunnel under the high speed train (AVE) line. Be alert because on reaching a stone quarry we find a fork at which we must turn right to go to the AVE railway line (the path to the left leads to a tunnel under the conventional railway).
After the tunnel the way takes us to a bridge above the Zaragoza-Barcelona railway. We cross it and we turn right to take the dirt road parallel to the conventional railway. Go straight ahead along the tracks for the next 3 kilometres. In a few metres we pass under a bridge and later we pass a railroad crossing on our right. We always continue straight on.
A road joins us on the right but we keep bearing left. In 100 metres we turn left, entering a new path, and then turn left again within a few metres. Walking straight ahead we reach the River Ebro and we continue along its margin by turning to our right.
We carry on straight. We reach A-1107 road and there we turn left to cross the bridge. From here onwards, we stop following the Ebro Camino de Santiago to get into the Catalan Camino de Santiago. We arrive to Pina town crossing the bridge over Ebro River, and we say goodbye to this good companion of Camino Ignaciano.
Just after the bridge, we enter Pina de Ebro looking for the main square of the town, which is on our right, near the river. Here we need to regain our strength in one of the many bar-restaurants in the square. We must pick up water reserves for the section that we still have to walk today and perhaps part of the next stage tomorrow.
In order to leave the town we seek Fernando Católico Street, off the square down the street from the Church. We take the road of Fernando Católico to the left and we leave the village to find ourselves on the asphalt heading for the National II main road. A large warehouse belonging to the agricultural cooperative of Pina de Ebro serves as guide: the COOPINA sign is clearly visible. Another 1.5 kilometre and we reach the Agricultural Cooperative and take the dirt road that runs parallel to the motorway.
We pass the Cooperative and the village cemetery on our right. The church of San Gregorio appears high up on our right. Our road reaches an irrigation canal, and we leave the motorway, taking the dirt road marked “Mirador de San Gregorio.” We walk along the dirt road, but do not take the road to San Gregorio: instead we continue on until we reach the asphalt street of the industrial zone, which lies ahead of us. We take the downhill road to our right. At the first street we meet, we turn left and follow it towards some large electricity pylons. We seeorange arrows on the lampposts on the street.
We reach an intersection, next to a high voltage tower. A dirt road opens to our right, next to the pylon and we take it. We find electricity poles along the road and in front of us the figure of a large black bull greets us. We are getting closer to the black bull. We continue straight on until we reach the N-II motorway, which will be our new companion on our Way.
We do not cross it but turn right to take a road which takes us away from the N-II for a while. We go up towards the plateau of Los Monegros. We continue straight on, following our dirt road that goes winding through the fields. We make no deviation. At 2.8 kilometres from the N-II we reach the level of Los Monegros plateau and can see some fairly large livestock stables on the left. On reaching the stables, the road forks: we take the left and continue straight on.
At 1 kilometres from the stable, there is a new fork in the road; we take the right. Continue ahead for 1.8 kilometres until the road forks again and take the left. At 1 kilometre from the stable, there is a new fork in the road; we take the road to the right. Go straight ahead on the main road, ignoring the side roads leading to the fields on either side. We are getting closer to the N-II. The road leads to Venta of Santa Lucia, at the back of which we arrive.
FUENTES DE EBRO
Taxi Sonia Rubio . Tel: 627 574 290
PINA DE EBRO
Ayuntamiento . 976 165 007
Pensión Los Valles . Magisterio Nacional, 7. Tel.:976 165 553 / 675 721 711.
Taxi José M Franco . 618 54 37 67
Venta de Santa Lucía . No lodging available. Check AGREDA bus stops from Venta Santa Lucia to Bujaraloz: Bus daily at 15:30.
We began with a series of stages that are not the easiest of the Ignatian Way. The stages near Loyola in the Basque Country were hard, with its steep slopes and cold in winter. Now we face the so-called “desert of Monegros.” We must be careful not to fall into the trap of wanting to pass through it “running” as quickly as possible. Parts of it are tough; you have to go at your own pace, neither faster nor slower than necessary. If at any stage of the Ignatian Way you are going to choose to sleep romantically under the open sky, it will be almost mandatory to do so in the “desert of Monegros”. Also water is scarce and it will be difficult to have a daily shower! Each pilgrim has to find his own way.
At this stage we leave the Camino de Santiago del Ebro, as it is called, and begin the Camino de Santiago Catalán, or Camí de Sant Jaume. As has been usual in our pilgrimage, we go “against the current.” We end this stage in the restaurant at Venta de Santa Lucia, because 29 kilometres seem enough. It would be possible to continue today’s walk by adding 11 kilometres and reach the gas station El Ciervo, but there is no accommodation available in this old hostel.
PINA DE EBRO: This is the last village on the Camino de Santiago Catalán (the first for us). The Franciscan monastery of San Salvador (16-17th cent.) keeps the Moorish style which we have already seen before coming to Zaragoza. In this village of over 2,000 people, one can find a restaurant, pharmacy, supermarket and bank. City Hall: 976 165 007.
VENTA DE SANTA LUCIA: Restaurant. There is no possibility of accommodation. National Road–II, Km 372.3. Tel: 976 162 001. It is wise to call from Pina de Ebro to the restaurant to make sure it is open and can provide water and a dinner. If there is no answer, it would be better to buy food and drink in Pina and be ready for dinner and breakfast in the open air. There is a possibility of taking the bus at Venta (at 15:30, www.agredasa.es) and heading to Bujaraloz, skipping the next stage. This bus line reaches all towns between Zaragoza and Lleida, proving very handy for pilgrims.
Notes: Pay attention to the “introductory prayer.” We are in the “third week” of our Spiritual Exercises. Ignatius invites us to become aware of the growing hardships Jesus encounters in His own “life pilgrimage.” We also enter into a more “arid” part of our pilgrimage. As we do so, keep in mind the cost and courage of Jesus’ commitment for each of us. Our hearts become sad as we walk with Jesus towards Jerusalem for the last time. In our final conversation we enter into this interior under-standing of Jesus who suffers death on the cross even though innocent. We speak of this sadness with our “friend” Jesus during the colloquy at the end of this prayer, as well as throughout the day.
Grace: I beg the Father to draw me closer to Jesus so that I may hear and understand His challenge, thrill to the adventure He invites, and ardently desire to serve Him and His people, all the while sharing His lot and His suffering.
Reflections: In the gospel, Jesus makes a pilgrimage from Galilee to Jerusalem, where He will celebrate the Last Supper and undergo His passion. He has spent nearly three years in the company of His disciples, yet this final journey together shows that they still do not fully grasp His message. They argue, for example, about who will be greatest in God’s kingdom. Jesus tries once again to help them understand that leadership in God’s kingdom involves service to others. They don’t understand – or perhaps can’t bring themselves to hear and accept – that Jesus’ way involves both suffering and sacrifice. Imagine yourself on this long journey to Jerusalem with Jesus. Bring Him your own questions, and pray that your eyes will be open to see his message more clearly, and that your ears will be ever more open to hear his call. Jesus feels weak and tired along His journey. The disciples go fetch food and water, but He stays outside the village. The sun is high and it is hot in Samaria. In John’s gospel Jesus encounters a Samaritan woman – remember that there was deep enmity between Jews and Samaritans. Jesus meets her at a well as she comes to draw water there. Jesus is very thirsty, so He asks the woman for water. In the ensuing conversation the woman comes to know who Jesus is and accepts Him as the Christ, even as she discovers Him as a tired and thirsty man who needs help! Who am I? Who is Jesus? In encountering Jesus, God helps us to understand ourselves more deeply. In the process, we also come to understand God more deeply. The Ignatian journey passes through “Los Monegros,” Spain’s desert-like region. Walking through this hot, arid, and dusty landscape, one can imagine how vital water became in the reality and imagination of Jesus’ listeners. Without food and water, there is no life. Thus we find one of the most evocative and enduring gospel images: Jesus is the water of eternal life, the wellspring that never runs dry, water always abundant. A true personal encounter with Jesus is transforming. It changed this woman’s life, as it transformed the lives of the many disabled people Jesus met. Meet Jesus yourself at the well as this Samaritan woman did. Who am I – really? And who is Jesus for me? What is Jesus asking of me? And what is my response?
Mark 10:32-45. “If anyone would be the first, he must become last of all and servant of all.”
John 4:6-15. “Everyone who drinks of this water will thirst again, but whoever drinks of the water I shall give will never thirst.”
John 6:30-44. I believe that Jesus is living bread and life-giving water. I beg the Father to draw me closer to Jesus so that, eating and drinking with Him, I may have new life.
Final Colloquy: Make a summary of your thoughts during this time of prayer. Speak with Jesus as one friend does with another. Open your heart to Him about what you have discovered within yourself during this pilgrimage. As you are able, invite Jesus to accept you under His banner. Conclude with the “Our Father.”