The route of the "Sea of Aragón-Mequinenza"
In Mequinenza, the "Sea of Aragon" is also known as the highway of Caspe, because this highway has connected these two places of the Tierras Bajas de Aragón since time immemorial.The road is also known as a "coastal road", because it runs long distances parallel to the "Sea of Aragon".If you leave Mequinenza in the direction of Caspe, you will see the ruins of the old Mequinenza on the hillside on the right. On the left, just before crossing the bridge, the traveller can see how the Segre flows into the Ebro. The estuary has been flooded by the Ribarroja reservoir since the 60s. The place is worth a stop and a few photos. We continue and cross the Ebro over a bridge over the dammed waters of the Ribarroja reservoir.Once the bridge has been crossed, we can see the impressive Mequinenza dam with its six weirs on the right. At the foot of the dam, we can admire the hydroelectric power station for which the dam was built. We drive up the road and a few meters later we leave the Ribarroja reservoir behind us and see the second reservoir, that of Mequinenza or "Sea of Aragón". The traveller should make no mistake: the waters he now sees are those of the Mequinenza reservoir and are almost 70 metres above those of the reservoir we have just crossed over the bridge.Towards Caspe, we see on the right the "Sea of Aragon", a large 100 km long reservoir in the old course of the Ebro river, from the Monasterio de Rueda monastery in Escatrón to the Mequinenza dam that we have just seen. From the hill we can see the first part of the "Sea of Aragón", wedged between two mountains. It is a good chance to make a stop and take some photos (Km. 308.900).For a while we will no longer see the "Sea of Aragón", because it is wedged between the mountains of the Serreta Negra on the left – an area of high ecological value that amazes one with its vegetation and fauna - and on the right between the mountains of the Sierra de los Rincones, while the road turns to the west and crosses this last mountain range.Although we cannot see the "Sea of Aragon" now, we can see its effects. Along the road we shall see large orchards, which are irrigated by droplets from the reservoir. Today, the main activity of the region is intensive fruit-growing, and the traveller can see many hectares of fruit trees that, depending on the season in which he or she travels (February-March), show a white-pink sea of flowers.16 kilometres ahead, from the height of a plain called "Las Planetas", along which the road runs, we will see the reservoir and its most emblematic island, Magdalena Island, where the monastery of the hermitage that gave its name to the island can be seen. From here you can enjoy wonderful views of the reservoir, the island, the monastery, the huge meander that forms the island, and the Sierra de Valdurrios mountains on the other side of the river. The view and the pictures are beautiful and worth a stop (Km. 292.000 – 291.500).After leaving Las Planetas, the road descends to the reservoir and crosses it through a narrow valley called Valcomuna (because it serves as a dividing line between the municipalities of Caspe and Mequinenza). When the waters of the reservoir are high, this small valley is a very photogenic site, and we recommend a stop next to the reservoir (Km. 290.000).The road now climbs up again and in the rear view mirror we see the Magdalena hermitage. Maybe a new stop at the edge of the road will make a "see you soon" possible.Our next stop is in Val de Pilas (Km 285.300). This big Val, this being the name given here to the small valleys between two cabezos (hills), begins with a small circle surrounded by mountains. Here is former small station of the train. The valley ends at a point called "La Herradura" (horseshoe) from where you can see the Mediana and Chica Islands. The sunset pictures here are unique.The road runs along a long stretch of an old Camino de Cabaña Real, an ancient path of transhumance or migratory pasture, which is now practically unused, and rises and falls between "vales and cabezos" (valleys and hills). There is another essential stop at the new mouth of the Guadalope, at Km. 277.000. Here there are three tunnels drilled into a hill that divert the river to prevent it from being flooded in its last section, built together with a part of the city of Caspe, its orchards and the railway station as the Mequinenza reservoir. A gigantic work of engineering! The inhabitants of Caspe call the place "the diversion" or "the three tunnels", for obvious reasons. The sight is worth a few photos. A few metres further, at km 276.600 of the N-211 highway, the traveller crosses the Greenwich meridian and changes "from one side of the globe to the other"; in this case, from east to west. That is something that does not happen every day. Here the views are beautiful on both sides of the meridian.As we approach Caspe, on the last descent before the detour to the town of Compromiso de Caspe (Km. 273.000 to 274.000), we see in front of us the remains of the strategic Acropolis of San Juanista, which houses the castle, monastery and collegiate church of Santa María la Mayor. They are worth a stop and some photos. Here you can see the old town of Caspe, which stood on a hill surrounded by the Guadalope River.Having taken the detour to Caspe, after crossing the Madrid-Barcelona railway line and the old riverbed of the Guadalope, you will reach Caspe via La Porteta.