Information about stage 5 through Somport: Stage from Sanguesa to Monreal
5 for support
- Important Notice : The Izco hostel will remain CLOSED during 2017.
- Km 0. Sangüesa (All Services)
Advancing in a straight line along Enrique de Labrit and Alfonso el Batallador streets, we turn left onto Calle Mayor. After passing the doorway of Santa María la Real we have the last encounter with the Aragón, a river that we cross by a bridge from the end of the 19th century that ended with the structure of the 11th century Romanesque bridge. At the exit we continue to the right and travel about six hundred meters along the road. Right up to the detour that leads to Rocaforte (see comments in case of opting for the Foz de Lumbier variant). We take the detour to shortly take a path that starts next to the right shoulder and faces the hill where Rocaforte is located .
- km 2.5. rockforte
At the entrance to the town, a Jacobean plaque indicates the options towards Rocaforte and Alto de Aibar. We choose the latter and continue to the right to take a track that passes next to the San Francisco fountain , where a recreation area with a picnic area and several barbecues has also been set up (Km 3) . The track winds its way through open terrain, strewn with cereal fields, vines and scattered olive trees and under the Sierra de Salajones wind farm . Without strong slopes, but in continuous ascent, we advance for six kilometers to the top of Aibar , which we crown after a tunnel (Km 9) . A path traced out on the road and with views of the town of Lumbier leads us quickly down the mountainside. He continues guiding us through a small pine forest, at the exit of which we open a gate to enter a track. Further on, after a Canadian crossing in the area of the Basobar ravine , the track curves and be careful, because you have to leave it through a wooden gate on the left (Km 12) . By another forest track, with the nearby reference of a line of wind turbines on the crest of the sierra, we are overcoming the unevenness. One kilometer after a cattle shed we reached 770 meters above sea level on a hill in the Sierra de Izco , the highest point of the stage (Km 15.9) . Through a small coniferous forest we descend to an agricultural track that leads to Izco, thus entering the Ibargoiti valley . At the gates of Izco we are greeted by a modern cruise and an information panel on the valley and its towns. The signs lead to the square, where the pediment and the pilgrims’ hostel are located (Km 17.8).
- km 17.8. Izco (Hostel-Bar-Shop)
At the exit of the town we continue along another parcel track, straight and with several undulations, which reaches Abínzano , the second inhabited nucleus of the valley.
- km 19.8. Abínzano
After Abínzano, more of the same. Continue along the track for another hour to the outskirts of Salinas de Ibargoiti . Without entering this population, we cross a bridge over the Elorz river .
- km 24.3. Ibargoiti Salt Flats
We turn left to continue briefly along the river. For a comforting and last stretch under an oak grove dense with boxwood bushes we present ourselves in Monreal . We cross the medieval bridge over the Elorz and proceed straight ahead along Santa Bárbara street to turn left and go up the stairs that end next to the door of the hostel.
- km 27.2. Monreal (Shelter. Bar. Shop. Pharmacy. ATM)
- Two stops and no towns for fifteen kilometres: From Rocaforte, the track climbs slightly upwards but is quite bearable. It should be noted that there are no intermediate towns between Rocaforte and Izco and that in this section we will only find a couple of sources, the one in San Francisco and another one and a half kilometers before reaching the top of Aibar, where a mountain bike route turns off.
- Today’s day presents the alternative of going directly through Rocaforte to Izco or through the Foz de Lumbier . The alternative of the Foz de Lumbier is about 5 kilometers longer, although somewhat softer and allows you to contemplate the natural environment of the Foz. Instead of taking the detour to Rocaforte, continue straight on the road in the direction of Liédena . They are 5 kilometers from Sanguesa. At the roundabout at the entrance to Liédena you have to take the national road towards Liédena, once you have crossed the Irati river take the Irati greenway that comes out to the left and winds over the Foz de Lumbier . From the town of Lumbier, the route advances to Nardués and Aldunate and after crossing the N-240 it goes up to meet again, before the town of Izco , with the official variant that descends from the mountains.
- The advantages of this variant are the spectacular nature of La Foz and that both in Liédena and Lumbier there are catering services, in exchange for 5 more kilometers of stage and slightly more asphalt than in Rocaforte.
What to see, what to do
- ROCAFORTE: Located on a hill and at the foot of a large rock, Rocaforte was the primitive nucleus of Sangüesa . At the end of the 11th century, Sancho Ramírez granted it the jurisdiction of Jaca, a privilege that Alfonso I el Batallador extended in the year 1122 to the new town (the current Sangüesa).
- San Francisco Fountain: Half a kilometer from Rocaforte, a historic reformed fountain recalls the figure of San Francisco de Asís (1181-1226) , founder of the Franciscan order and who, according to tradition, passed through this same place on a pilgrimage in the year 1213, where he founded the first convent of the order in Spain. A picnic area and several stoves have been built next to the fountain.
- Oratorio de San Bartolomé: To the right of the road, about 300 meters away, is this monastery from the middle of the 13th century . It was inhabited by Franciscan monks who abandoned it permanently in the 19th century.
- IBARGOITI VALLEY: This valley arises between the Izco and Izaga mountains . The pilgrim furrows it through the agricultural tracks that link the towns of Izco, Abínzano and Salinas de Ibargoiti. This last town has celebrated threshing day for more than a decade , an exhibition of how wheat was threshed in the past and packed in sheaves.
- IZCO: A small town that, thanks to its neighbors, once cleaned up a cozy hostel for pilgrims. A polished tool from the Bronze Age was found in its term. During the Middle Ages it appears inscribed in the Aibar valley, where the noble population predominated. The parish of San Martín responds to the simple rural typology with a single nave and a tower at the foot . From the old hermitage of Nuestra Señora del Sagrario, used since 1847 as a dependency of the cemetery, comes a Romanesque carving of the Virgin , highly retouched on the face and hands.
- MONREAL: Written in the Middle Ages, the Codex Calixtinus , the first recorded guide to the Camino de Santiago, already named Monreal as the end of the stage on the route from Somport. Under the shadow of La Higa (1,288 meters above sea level) and crossed from side to side by the N-240, Monreal, from Monte Real , has seen some of its services go out due to the construction and commissioning of the Pyrenees motorway (A-21).
- FOZ DE LUMBIER: Pilgrims who choose the alternative variant will enjoy a six-kilometer route through the gorge created by the Irati River and known as Foz de Lumbier. It is a railway route recovered as a greenway and which was covered by the old Irati railway. The infrastructure was created for the transport of wood and other merchandise, but there were also many passengers who benefited from this route.