Just after crossing the River Cinca and departing the city of Fraga, we enter the “Comunidad Autónoma” of Catalunia, one of Spain’s seventeen “autonomous communities.”.
Catalonia will welcome us with open arms and with some helpful signposts along the way: the regional government has placed markers for the Camino Santiago throughout the province, and these markers will help us to keep our bearings as we continue our journey to Montserrat and Manresa.
Interior Templo Sagrada Familia
The Catalan nation has a glorious history and a rich culture, manifested in the vernacular language “Catalan,” which you will hear spoken throughout this region.
After you have finished your pilgrimage, you will surely want to visit Barcelona, very close to Manresa. There you will find a few spots visited by Ignatius, but you will also find many highlights of Catalan culture, including modern architectural masterpieces such as Gaudi’s magnificent Basilica of Barcelona, the Sagrada Familia.
We continue our journey through Catalonia, the “home stretch” of the Camino Ignaciano. This land offered generous shelter, assistance and friendship to the pilgrim Ignatius of Loyola, and we trust you will feel similarly well cared for during your journey here.
Our starting point on leaving Fraga is Spanish Square, where the Town Hall is situated. From Barron Segone Avenue, we take the steeply ascending road called Obradores Revolt (Workers’ Rebellion), which is on the left when facing the Town Hall. At the N-II, we take the white bridge as far as the cemetery and from there, continuing on the road running parallel to the N-II, our journey takes us climbing away from Fraga. We can also continue travelling parallel to the N-II on the right hand side of the road, without crossing over.
Whichever side of the road we travel along, we reach a sign “Campo de Tiro las Acacias” indicating an asphalt path bearing left. We can either continue to follow the N-II or take the asphalt road, depending on whether we prefer to avoid traffic or tired legs (the road circumvents the rather steep descent by means of an 80m tunnel).
Having continued alongside the N-II for two kilometres (always walking in the direction of the traffic) after a short tunnel, take the service road indicated by the road signs. (Be careful not to take the A2 highway.) On the bridge over the A2 are signs painted red and yellow, the colours of three national flags of this region: Aragon, Catalonia and Spain. We descend from the bridge and arriving at a roundabout, we turn left, to go through the A2 underpass. A sign says “Industrial Zone” and we head for it. We enter the industrial area and take the first road on the right. When we go to the end of the road, after a left and a right we come to a roundabout. This is where those who decided to walk along the “Campo de tiro las Acacias” would arrive. These pilgrims, having followed the orange arrows on the asphalt to the top of the track, would continue the route as it bends left, as far as the fork in the path. From this vantage point, the yellow poles from the gas company ENDESA GAS would be visible to the right and would lead the pilgrims to the industrial zone. On entering the estate, they would take the first road in front of them which runs parallel to the A2 on the right. In 2 kilometres they would come to the roundabout which is the meeting place of the two routes.
We enter the roundabout from the right and exit at the second asphalt path, signed “Service Road.” A STOP sign painted on the asphalt indicates the route we must take around the back of a hostel – restaurant. Once there, we approach the A2 service road which we take turning left. Two red STOP signs tell us, once again, that we are not going in the right direction: we are always going against the tide!
If you ride a bike, it can be not good to go against the way by a road without sidewalks. That is why there is a possibility of going backwards, just go for about 200 meters, crossing a bridge over the A-2 and getting the first turning on the left. If we follow that way for some Kilometers, always next to the A-2, we will end arriving at the vicinity of Soses and we will get back to the outline designed on the map.
We go under a bridge that crosses the A2, continuing straight ahead on the service road until we reach a roundabout. At this point we leave the Aragon region and we begin our walk through Catalonia. A signpost shows the way. From this point until we arrive to Montserrat, these signposts of the Generalitat of Catalonia will be of great help. We take the second asphalt path to our left, a narrow, steep climb. A half-hidden pool appears on our right and we continue up the road on the right, which runs alongside the pool.
Upon reaching the top, our track leads to another asphalt path that we take, bearing left but only for 100m, because once again we turn right onto a dirt track. The signposts clearly indicate the route. We turn to our right and then left, towards a high voltage transformer and a wooded area. We start a steep descent, continuing along a very winding road that bears right and left, until we reach an asphalt road which leads us to yet another roundabout back on the A2.
We do not enter the roundabout but continue straight on, heading for the nearby bridge to cross the A2. At the beginning of the bridge, we meet a signpost that reminds us that we are on the “Camí Real,” the road that Ignatius travelled on before his last experience at Manresa. Crossing the bridge and arriving at the roundabout, we turn to our left and go towards the A2, because we want to take the service road on our right that is parallel to the highway. In a few meters we pass the Hostel of Catalonia and Aragon and a CAMPSA gas station on the other side of the A2, on our left. We follow the service road and arriving at another bridge, we pass underneath.
Continuing along the service road, after a descent, we enter a large roundabout, taking the first exit on the right. We are now 448 kilometres along the N-II. We continue along the shoulder of the N-II which separates us from the A2 and leads us to some warehouses. At a roundabout, we pass near a modern, iron, sun-topped sculpture, as well as the CEMESA factory. At this point, 150 m from the CEMESA roundabout, there is a track on our right which we take. A signpost indicates the road to Lleida. The asphalt track turns to earth and we reach the road leading to Torres de Segre. We turn right and in 250 m we take the asphalt road to our left, which leads us to Alcarràs. The Catalan government signposts accurately point the way.
We continue along this road without deviating, despite its winding nature, arriving at Alcarras by way of Clamor Road.We follow the Clamor Travesia and cross the National II road. All straight on Jacint Verdaguer street and take the first right. We continue straight on Joan XXIII street until we reach the Dr. Castells street that we take to the right. Behind us is Alcarràs church. On Passeig del Riu, at the first junction we turn left onto the Avinguda Onze de Setembre.
Having reached the end of the Avinguda Onze de Setembre, a signpost points us towards the town of Butsénit. We take the asphalt path to the right and soon turn left onto the path that begins directly facing an agricultural building. We continue along this path without diversions, following the signposts. We take the path at right angles to our left. We follow this path that leads us back to the N-II. When we reach a tunnel, we do not go through it, turning right instead, and continuing parallel to the N-II. We pass a large shopping centre on our right and come to another roundabout. A signpost indicates an asphalt path on our right that may be taken
We always follow the asphalt road. At some point we find a signpost indicating a left turn onto a path towards a stream. We cross a narrow bridge and turn left towards a dairy farm. Near the farm gate, we take the path indicated on our right, arriving at some farm buildings. We are now approaching the village of Butsénit. As we reach the road into town, we turn right into the village. We pass a primary school before arriving at the Church of Our Lady of the Assumption. We turn 90° right, to take a road that descends sharply beside the schoolyard.
The road leads directly to the River Segre. We follow the river, keeping it on our right. If the time is right, storks, ducks and swans won’t fail to keep their appointment with the walker! We follow the meandering river, passing under the railway line. Continuing straight ahead, walking parallel to the River Segre, we reach an asphalt road and turn right at the signpost. Finally, we reach the town of Lerida, the great capital. Keep walking along the River Segre, cross the bridge over the N-II and enter the town by the Avinguda Alcalde Areny.
Although not really visible since it is located on the ground floor of a building, the parish of Saint Ignatius, run by the Jesuits, is on our left, only 400m from the bridge we have just crossed. (Make enquiries after passing the “Gateway of the Marist Brothers.”)
We walked all straight on the avenue of Mayor Areny and we arrived at the Bus Station of Lleida. Turning to our left, we continue along the Avenida de Catalunya and turn right into Sant Antoni street. We continue straight on that street and we arrive at the Cathedral of Lleida, the Office of Tourism and the Town Hall of Lleida. End of the step.