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2019 Camino Guides

12 days on the Camino Primitivo - Sept. 13 to 25th

zrexer

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
2014, 15,16 & 19 Camino Frances
2017 Camino Portuguese
2018 Camino Primitivo
#1
I have been back almost a week since walking the Primitivo with my wife. We started in Oviedo on Sept. 13th and arrived in Santiago on Sept. 25th. We enjoyed perfect fall weather. Not a drop of rain and the trails while slightly wet in a few areas had dried out greatly as compared to what I had been hearing earlier this year. I am going to put a posting of a recap of each day over the next week. So the first is Day '0', or our travel day. We live just outside Edmonton, Alberta, so getting to Spain is a long haul for us. First we flew to Toronto, Ontario and then from Toronto to Madrid. From the airport to the ALSA down term terminal by taxi (tight connection for the bus to Oviedo) Madrid to Oviedo by bus. So instead of Planes, Trains and Automobiles like the classic John Candy movie, It was Planes, Taxis and Buses! So by the time we got to Oviedo we had been up just shy of 24 hours! Once we arrived we did a little sight seeing, but not a lot as we were dead tired. So below are our pictures of our arrival in Oviedo. IMG_0658.JPG IMG_0662.JPG IMG_0663.JPG IMG_0664.JPG IMG_0668.JPG IMG_0669.JPG IMG_0674.JPG IMG_0678.JPG IMG_0688.JPG IMG_0657.JPG
 

zrexer

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
2014, 15,16 & 19 Camino Frances
2017 Camino Portuguese
2018 Camino Primitivo
#2
Day I - Oviedo to La Doriga - 35 Kilometers. We were feeling pretty spry (good training?), so when we hit Grado, we decide to keep going and ended up at a lone albergue in the vicinity of La Doriga. We definitely notice the arrows and trail markers while adequate, are not close to the level found on the Frances. Also the rest stops are often few and far between. But we wanted a more isolated experience than the Frances, so it looks like we got our wish. The albergue we stayed at was not great, no hot water...felt like summer camp. The accommodations were adequate...barely and our meal was expensive, but we were in good spirits and not feeling bad despite a pretty long day. IMG_0697.JPG IMG_0705.JPG IMG_0724.JPG IMG_0726.JPG IMG_0730.JPG IMG_0741.JPG IMG_0747.JPG IMG_0749.JPG IMG_0751.JPG IMG_0750.JPG
 

TangoBravo

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances 2013, Norte 2016, Muxia/Finisterra 2016, Portuguese 2017
#3
zrexer.... Thanks for the inspiration. Having done Frances, Norte, and Portugal....Primitivo is my ultimate challenge. Summer 2019, I'll be following in your footsteps, maybe not such distances though.
 

zrexer

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
2014, 15,16 & 19 Camino Frances
2017 Camino Portuguese
2018 Camino Primitivo
#4
zrexer.... Thanks for the inspiration. Having done Frances, Norte, and Portugal....Primitivo is my ultimate challenge. Summer 2019, I'll be following in your footsteps, maybe not such distances though.[/QUOTE]

Tangobravo, I will be posting up once a day for each of our days on the Primitivo. A few of the days really tested our mettle. It certainly changed our definition of what 'hard' is. But 12 days is doable. 33 days of Primitivo like trails would take a better pilgrim than me to complete!
 
Camino(s) past & future
Fall 2016 Camino Frances to Leon
Fall 2017 Camino Frances to Finisterre
#5
Hello Fellow Canadian Zrexer! I hear your Day zero exhaustion. It is a killer if you're from Western Canada because it takes us over seven hours just to fly across Canada! (I'm from Victoria). I'm looking forward to the postings of your trip because I'm debating between the Portuguese and the Primitivo next spring.
 

zrexer

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
2014, 15,16 & 19 Camino Frances
2017 Camino Portuguese
2018 Camino Primitivo
#6
Day 2. La Doriga to La Espina - 23.9 kilometers. Later start today. Not walking until 8:10 AM, but after our marathon 35 kilometer day yesterday we don't feel guilty! Interesting day overall. Certainly the Primitivo is living up to it's reputation of being hilly. Starting to reset our opinion of what a hard days walk is now. Our question of the day is how long is a Spanish kilometer? They seem longer than 1000 meters!
As we are approaching Salas, we meet a young Polish lady who is slowly mincing down the trail. It is obvious her feet our killing her. I talk to her for awhile and advise at the very first opportunity to ditch her boots and get runners or trail shoes.
We have lunch in Salas and chat with many familiar faces from today and yesterday. We had planned to stay in Bodenaya, but the albergue is down to one bed.
We stay at a great albergue called El Texu in La Espina. It is run by a young Polish lady that found her calling while on the Primitivo. Nice private room and meal which we share with an Australian Catholic priest. My wife asks him to say grace before our meal. He seems a little surprised at the request, but is more than happy to do so. We have a long chat with him and find him very interesting. He has done many of the Camino routes, but admits he is finding the Primitivo is his most challenging one yet. IMG_0757.JPG IMG_0758.JPG IMG_0759.JPG IMG_0760.JPG IMG_0770.JPG IMG_0772.JPG IMG_0773.JPG IMG_0782.JPG IMG_0786.JPG IMG_0791.JPG
 
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jerby

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances-Finisterre 2013
Portugues 2017/18
Ingles 2018
#8
zrexer.... Thanks for the inspiration. Having done Frances, Norte, and Portugal....Primitivo is my ultimate challenge. Summer 2019, I'll be following in your footsteps, maybe not such distances though.
 

jerby

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances-Finisterre 2013
Portugues 2017/18
Ingles 2018
#9
Just wanted to say thanks for 2 great write ups SO far. The photos and your descriptions make me want to hop on a plane and start walking.
Heading over in 9 days time to finish the Portuguese and walk the Ingles route.
The problem with this Camino stuff is that it's addictive and I found 2 or 3 more lesser known Camino's that I would like to walk.
Buen Camino and safe walking. Looking forward to reading more blogs.
 

zrexer

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
2014, 15,16 & 19 Camino Frances
2017 Camino Portuguese
2018 Camino Primitivo
#10
Day 3 - La Espina to Campiello - 26.2 Kilometers. We have some yogurt and a couple of grapefruits and croissants we had picked up the previous day in our room. We are hitting the trail before the albergue is even stirring. As with the last couple of mornings, the mornings start with heavy fog. Not cold, probably 12 to 14 C, but the fog is incredibly heavy. Our headlamps almost make it worse with the reflection off the water vapour. We manage to miss a critical arrow leaving La Espina, so we need back track a little. They are a little stingy with the yellow paint we are finding! Soon we are making forward progress, but our coffee/lunch stop is a 11.3 kilometers down the road at Tineo. The Primitivo is a Catch 22. You get a more isolated experience than the Frances, but you do miss the available of a coffee stop now and then...and my wife misses bathrooms!
We do see vending machines periodically, but shy away from them.
Tineo seems very quiet, with a lot of older people and not much in the way of services. The bar we stop at has few wrapped sandwiches which look questionable as to their freshness, but we are quickly learning on the Primitivo there may not be another option for hours, so we get a couple and they turn out to be fine. I can't help thinking how many other things this bar/coffee stop could sell to pilgrims if made available.
The scenery really is spectacular and even in early fall, everything looks green and lush and flowers are still everywhere.
The last five kilometers into Campiello is a bit of a grind, we are tired, Jeanette's feet are getting a little beat up. So what we call our 'pilgrimtude' is now at a low ebb. But we do finally reach Campiello and find a great newer albergue, with showers that had hot water! After getting cleaned up and sharing a bottle of wine, our 'pilgrimtude' is back to normal.
There is a good store next to the albergue so we buy a bunch of supplies for tomorrow's walk through the high Hospitales route which offers zero services for almost 33 kilometers. We are warned the heavy hill fog may not make this a wise choice. We will see in the morning.
I spend some time talking again to the Australian Catholic priest from the other night (no confessions from me!) he is a very well travelled interesting gentleman. I also talk to Fabian, a 30 year old German man that has decided to quit his life as a systems analyst (much to his parents dismay) and travel. He has sold everything he owns. He eventually wants to end up in New Zealand, work and figure out the rest of his life. He just knows he does not want a 'conventional' life. I admire his courage. The path less traveled.
We are sitting outside still at 10 PM, crystal blue skies and the stars are now out. I have drunk way too much wine and too many beers with Fabian. I totter off to bed. It's been a good day on the Camino.
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zrexer

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
2014, 15,16 & 19 Camino Frances
2017 Camino Portuguese
2018 Camino Primitivo
#11
Day 4 - Campiello to Berducedo via the Ruta de los Hospitales - 32.5 Kilometres.
We didn't know it yet, but today would prove to be the most challenging walk ever in our five Camino's in Spain. It was a nice albergue, but unfortunately we had three world champion snorer's in our bunk room. In the kitchen area I commented to another sleepless pilgrim that I thought between the three of them, they had 'sawn enough wood to keep the village warm that winter!'
We had our yogurt, oranges and some muffins and poked our heads outside to see what the weather looked like. It had been a perfectly blue, star filled sky when I went to bed the previous night so I had hoped that the morning would be clear for a change. But as with every other morning so far, heavy hill fog had rolled in during the night. It seemed most of the other pilgrims were planning to walk the Hospitales route regardless, so decided it would be safe enough with a bunch of us on the path.
We got out of the albergue ahead of the pack and switched on our head lamps. Again the swirling mist made our headlamps not particularly useful, but still better than no light. We walked for a while and came to a junction and not being completely sure, waited a few minutes for others to come down the trail. After a quick huddle we made a decision that proved to be the right one.
We soon reached the junction where the trail split for either the lower (but longer) Pola de Allande or the higher Ruta de los Hospitales. Soon most of the group from our albergue and others had caught up to us as my wife was suffering somewhat from blisters so our pace was slower. Soon most of the walkers were ahead of us. I take a lot of pictures, where I have noticed many walkers seem intent on the shortest elapsed time to the days end point. To each their own.
As we gained altitude, the fog began to thin and we did have some brief glimpses of some pretty spectacular countryside. It is a grazing area, so a lot of cows were near many portions of the trail.
As I was walking I saw a plastic bag that had been dropped. As I picked it up, I noticed it was someone's lunch. My wife attached it to my pack in case we came across the owner latter that morning.
I won't lie, it was a tough walk, continual elevation gain and a lot of sharp rocks on the trails that were making it one day that my lighter soled trail shoes were not the best choice.
We finally ended up at a plateau where many of the other walkers had stopped for lunch. As luck would have it, we found the lady that had lost her lunch and she was grateful to have it as this was day of absolutely no services of any kind.
After our lunch we continued on the trail still gaining considerably more elevation. The hill fog is amazing as it swirls around, one minute you have a view and literally seconds later it can roll in obliterating the view. The trail was decently marked, but I could see how you could get lost pretty easily if you happened to venture very far off the marked trail.
Eventually we reached the summit and at first the decent was pretty gradual. Soon we reached the real descent, which was about as steep as a black diamond ski run. Thankfully with our poles and a little luck we were able to navigate down the steep section with neither of us falling. A fall would have certainly resulted in stitches, broken bones or worse due to the jagged rocks both on and off the trail.
Once we had the steepest decent out of the way, we realized we had used up 80% of the 3 liters of water we had between us. We estimated we had another 8 to 10 kilometres to go so we began to ration out sips between us.
At this point, the fun was rapidly disappearing, but we were feeling confident that while being thirsty we would be OK as it was not a super hot day. After a few more kilometres and not a single place to fill our bottles or even a farm we came around a corner and next to a house, a local lady sat in a lawn chair close to her house and the trail. We pulled out our water bottles and asked in our dismal Spanish if she would fill them up for us. She broke out in a smile and grabbed our bottles and went into her house. A minute later she was back with two filled bottles. We thanked her and both had a good long drink before pressing on.
By the time we reached Berducedo, we had been walking almost 9 1/2 hours. We were both pretty beat and decided if we could find a pension, we would stay there not caring about the cost. We could not risk being in the same albergue as the super snorer from the previous night.
We did find one on the far side of town and it was like being a guest in someone's house. A very nice room.
After we both showering, we reflected back on the day. It had been very tough, our toughest walking day ever. But there was also some pride of accomplishment as well.
A quiet dinner alone and a really good sleep that night followed. IMG-20180916-00786.jpg IMG_0838.JPG IMG_0844.JPG IMG_0848.JPG IMG_0849.JPG IMG_0857.JPG IMG_0860.JPG IMG_0861.JPG IMG_0862.JPG IMG_0875.JPG
 
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zrexer

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
2014, 15,16 & 19 Camino Frances
2017 Camino Portuguese
2018 Camino Primitivo
#12
Day Four - More pictures from the Hospitales route. IMG_0877.JPG IMG_0880.JPG IMG_0885.JPG IMG_0889.JPG IMG_0892.JPG IMG_0893.JPG IMG_0894.JPG IMG_0897.JPG
 

Snoopy99

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances, Via Pondiensis (till Chaor)
next Caminho Português
#13
Thank you very much for the nice report. I will start next week and have already tuned in well with the pictures.
Sincerely
 

zrexer

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
2014, 15,16 & 19 Camino Frances
2017 Camino Portuguese
2018 Camino Primitivo
#14
Day 5 - Berducedo - Grandas de Salime - 21.4 Kilometres.

We get rolling just after 8:00 AM after a somewhat disappointing breakfast at our Pension. It is another perfect walking day. We hit our first coffee stop at La Mosa which is 4.6 kilometers down the road
and meet up again with Hendrick, the 27 year old South African. He has a acoustic guitar strapped to his back pack and is busking wherever possible to make a few extra Euro's. He has been walking the last couple of days with a young German lady.
It is a very scenic day and not nearly as hard as the previous day which is a relief.
We meet up again with Gerard, the Australian Catholic priest, but even though he is older, his pace is quicker than ours.
A lot of the day is walking along a reservoir and shortly before lunch we reach the dam sight itself. The dam was made in the 1950's and produces hydro electricity.
We stop at a hotel close to the dam sight and have a great lunch. I have a beer which after a long mornings walk tastes pretty great. During the morning I had noticed a lot of motorcycles on the roads. They are great twisty roads and it makes me wish I had my bike in Spain. At lunch a couple of bikers are talking and they sound like they are from England. I talk to them a few minutes and they had taken the ferry over from England and are enjoying a few days riding in Spain.
We reach Grandas de Salime around 2:30 PM and it is nice to have had a shorter day after our marathon day of yesterday. We check into a pension. It is kind of old and I see a lot of black mold everywhere, but I figure one night will not kill us.
We wander around town, but we are in the midst of siesta time so everything is closed. The grocery store is supposed to reopen at 4:00 PM, but at 4:15 it is till not open. We find another smaller shop and secure our bottle of Vinto Tinto, so all is well.
We have dinner at the restaurant attached to our Pension, another pilgrim meal that is OK, but not memorable. We are still tired from yesterday, so we make it an early night.
It has been another great day on the Camino.
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Camino(s) past & future
Frances x5, Portuguese VdlP12, Sanabres, Aragones, Norte,Salvador,Primitivo, VdlP 17,Madrid18
#15
Lovely new Albergue Cantabrica in Fonsagrada for tomorrow if you are interested.
 

zrexer

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
2014, 15,16 & 19 Camino Frances
2017 Camino Portuguese
2018 Camino Primitivo
#16
Lovely new Albergue Cantabrica in Fonsagrada for tomorrow if you are interested.
Thanks, but as per my title, I completed the Primitivo on Sept.25th. Maybe for the next walk!
 


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