Stage 15: Alagon to Zaragoza

My liftgiver arrived promptly at 8:30 and dropped me off near the Tourist Information office. Thanks to the map I got there yesterday, I could find my way through the rabbit warren of the old town to Calle del Estancion where the orange arrows began. I really enjoyed the next three hours, with views of the cliffs on the North bank of the river Ebro, and little traffic. In the first village, Torres de Berrellén, I had a pleasant surprise: the church was open! An unusual vaulted roof gave it amazing acoustics, and I read aloud Matthew 5 from today’s spiritual exercise before anyone else came in to pray.

After another village, crossed the motorway again to an industrial estate with a noisy refuse plant, then a muddy track almost blocked by tractors. The town of Utebo was a disappointment despite the “amazing Moorish bell tower”; the only bar en route had no food. I sat on a bench, ate what I had with me, and headed for the final village, Monzalbarba, which did have a bar with tapas.

Zaragoza was already in sight, but there were a couple of highways to cross before heading for the river and looking for a seat to gather my strength for the last lap: along the bank and find the hostel.

Once I had sorted out my gear, I walked to the Basilica where I caught the last half of the 6 o’clock Mass.  Someone heard me asking about a stamp for my credential, and introduced himself as a fellow pilgrim, David from Ireland. We compared notes over a cup of coffee. Then I went to a bookshop on the off chance they might have a map of footpaths for. Saturday’s walk. No luck. Back to the hostel for a simple meal of chicken teriyaki and cheesecake.