Information about stage 11: Stage from Belorado to Ages
|STAGE 11||KM 27.4||TIME 06H00|
- Km 0. Belorado (All Services)
To leave Belorado you have to cross Hipólito López Bernal street and Camino de Santiago avenue to later cross the N-120 and the Tirón river by a wooden pedestrian bridge (Km 1.1) . Parallel to this is the stone bridge known as El Canto . By a track separated from the N-120 by the channel of the Retorto , a tributary of the Tirón, we comfortably advance to the Tosantos . Just before arriving there is a rest area with several tables and barbecues.
- km 4.7. Tosantos (Hostel. Bar)
Crossing the town you can see, on the other side of the N-120, the hermitage of the Virgen de la Peña , located on a rocky escarpment. From Tosantos a short stretch brings us to the next town: Villambistia
- km 6.6. Villambistia (Hostel. Bar)
The parish church of San Esteban , from the 17th century, welcomes us . A legend attributes powers to the water that flows from the four-spout fountain. He ensures that to regain vitality and end fatigue there is nothing better than soaking your head in it. After Villambistia, with nothing more to report, we headed towards Espinosa del Camino , which we reached after circumventing the N-120.
- km 8.2. Espinosa del Camino (Hostel. Bar)
At the exit the profile of the track intensifies a bit and reaches the ruins of the Mozarabic monastery of San Félix , where tradition places the mortal remains of Count Diego Rodríguez Porcelos , founder of Burgos (Km 10) . After the ruins, the itinerary turns to the left in search of the shoulder of the Nacional, which leads us to Villafranca Montes de Oca .
- km 11.7. Villafranca Montes de Oca (Hostels. Hotel. Bar. Shop)
From this population to San Juan de Ortega there are 12 kilometers or almost three hours of walking, so it is advisable to stop for lunch or to gather food for the crossing of the Montes de Oca . In the past, they were a risky place where dangers awaited behind every bush, but today, despite being a very lonely section, they offer nature and peace. We leave the N-120, go up next to the church of Santiago – it houses a baroque carving of the Apostle – and we pass next to what was the hospital of La Reina or San Antonio Abad . The start is steep and should be taken easy. The ordeal continues until reaching a viewpoint over the Demanda and San Millán mountains and the Mojapán fountain, where the climb begins to soften (Km 13) . Surrounded by oaks, junipers and heather, the track continues its ascent, first up to a repeater and then towards a monument to those who died during the Civil War (Km 15.2) . Immediately afterwards, the track descends like a slide to the bed of a river to face a hard, although short, slope. The loose gravel track now becomes a wide forest track surrounded by repopulated pine forests along which we cover the remaining seven and a half kilometers until we reach the monastery of San Juan de Ortega .
- km 23.7. San Juan de Ortega (Shelter. Rural Tourism Center. Bar)
The set of buildings have been of Cultural Interest since 1931 and belong to the municipality of Barrios de Colina. The Burgos saint Juan de Ortega (1080-1163) was a disciple of Santo Domingo de la Calzada and collaborated with him in the construction of bridges and roads before traveling to the Holy Land. On the way back, he built a church dedicated to San Nicolás de Bari in the same place where we found ourselves. As recounted by José María Lacarra in the second volume of The pilgrimages to Santiago de Compostela: “in his will, drawn up in 1152 and preserved in Ortega as a precious relic, he recalls the building of the church of San Nicolás, how thieves lived there and how he instituted a community of regular canons of San Agustín”. Inside the church there is a Romanesque capital that receives the light that filters through an ogival window only on the days of the equinox: March 20 and September 22. In San Juan de Ortega there is a bar and parish hostel and for the most gourmets a rural tourism center with all the comforts. We leave the monastic complex and arrive at a regional road where a wooden cross stands. There is a historical variant but hardly traveled that continues to the left through Santovenia de Oca, Zalduendo and Ibeas de Juarros. We continue straight ahead and take the path that goes into a wild pine forest, now without any loss, in the direction of Agés.
- km 27.4. Agés (Hostels. Shop. Bar)
- Hard, although brief, ascent at the exit of Villafranca de Montes de Oca:At the exit of this town in Burgos , the journey through the Montes de Oca begins . When leaving Villafranca, the greatest unevenness occurs, but the hardness begins to subside when reaching the height of the Mojapán spring.
- N-120:Attention when leaving Belorado and before entering Espinosa del Camino, since you have to cross the N-120. To enter Villafranca you also have to drive about 800 meters along the shoulder of the national road.
- The stage has two very different parts, the first from Belorado to Villafranca Montes de Oca practically flat and with services and the second from Villafranca to Agés where there are no services for 12 kilometers and you will have to cross the mountains of Oca and its unevenness. Legend has it that centuries ago for the pilgrim to cross the mountains of Oca was little less than risking their lives, and that they waited in said town until they gathered in large groups and faced said mountains at that time infected with bandits waiting for any prey.
- Before Villafranca the pilgrim can see the ruins of the monastery of San Félix (what remains of it), VI IX century.
- In San Juan de Ortega the miracle of light takes place. A beautiful play of light that takes place on each equinox at five in the afternoon solar time. We also recommend a prayer and a memory for José María Alonso, who was the parish priest of the town (died in 2008) and a great lover of the road and of the pilgrims whom he always helped in everything he could.
- Agés has several hostels and restaurants, which makes this small town a good end of stage for pilgrims.
- From Agés there is, or at least was, the possibility of accessing the Atapuerca sites by bus . For more security, ask at the municipal or private shelter. You can also reserve and request information by calling 902 024 246 from Tuesday to Sunday and in the months of January and February, from Monday to Friday.
What to see, what to do
- TOSANTOS : On the other side of Tosantos and the N-120 is the hermitage embedded in the rock of Nuestra Señora de la Peña . The parish church of this small town near Belorado is dedicated to San Esteban.
- VILLAFRANCA MONTES DE OCA : Its ancient settlers were of Frankish origin, hence its name. Heiress to the Roman Auca Austrigona , it was the old episcopal seat until the year 1075. It was an important stop in the past and is recorded as such in medieval chronicles. In the neoclassical church of Santiago Apóstol (18th century) there is a holy water font made with the largest shell on the Camino brought from the Philippine archipelago. The San Antonio Abad pilgrims’ hospital , now restored, was founded in 1380. Domenico Laffi in his Viaje a Poniente recounts the benefits of this place. Villafranca is a good place to have lunch before starting the ascent to the Montes de Oca.
- SAN JUAN DE ORTEGA : The sanctuary is located in the middle of the Montes de Oca, which in the past were a favorable place for bandits who stalked the Camino. San Juan de Ortega (1080 – 1163) was the founder of the church and the hospital. When he returned from Jerusalem he became the most faithful collaborator of Santo Domingo and together they built hospitals, bridges, roads and churches to serve the pilgrims. The Saint’s tomb is Gothic in style and the chapel of San Nicolás de Bari (12th century) is a beautiful Romanesque example and has a Greek cross plan. On March 21 and September 22, Around five in the afternoon, solar time, a ray of light filters through a small window and illuminates the capital of the Annunciation for ten minutes. In San Juan de Ortega there is a hostel, a tavern and a Rural Tourism Center for those with a sweet tooth.
- AGÉS : The origin of the term Agés is unclear. It can derive from the very term of pre-Roman origin that alludes to communal property; from the Latin Fagege (beech forest or mount of beech trees); from the Arabic word Fageg (he who makes a pilgrimage) or from the Basque word Agista (border). Located in the Vena valley, its population origin dates back to the year 900, the date on which it could be repopulated. It was linked during the Middle Ages to the Nájera monastery, which benefited from a third of the tithes. At the exit of the village, to the left of the local road that leads to Atapuerca, there is a Romanesque bridge over the Vena river attributed to San Juan de Ortega. Agés is a quiet town and a good alternative to San Juan de Ortega, with a bar-restaurant and several hostels.