Search 62305 Camino Questions

A donation to the forum removes ads for you, and supports Ivar in his work running it


Advertisement

About Face!

GigiO

New Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Primitivo
My heart wants to do the Primitivo but my body thinks the Frances from Leon is a better choice. Is it possible to start the Primitivo and if it proves too much to get transportation to Leon to restart? I feel pathetic even asking, but just trying to think through all my options. For a little background, I'm a 57 year old female in decent shape. Knees and hips get a little grumpy if I walk more than 20-24 kilometers, but I've been doing 13 kilometers regularly with no problem training daily..
 
Camino Jewellery
A selection of Camino Jewellery
Donation to the Forum
A donation to this forum helps it continue to exists and also removes all ads for you.

Corned Beef

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
VDLP Part 2/2023
That's a very good question and one that some don't plan for - what "escape" routes are there on the camino.

If you look at the rail network map for north Spain you'll see that the line goes south from Oviedo to Leon so rail would not really be an option.


If you want to check bus routes you are best to use Rome2Rio to see which bus companies might operate and from which towns. For example Tineo to Leon goes back to Oviedo


Whereas if you get to Lugo, then there is a direct bus


Put Rome2Rio app on your phone just in case you need to consult it.
 

xin loi

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Walked May 14, 2014 from St Jean France

starting to walk again August 25, 2016 --SJPDP to Finisterre
My heart wants to do the Primitivo but my body thinks the Frances from Leon is a better choice. Is it possible to start the Primitivo and if it proves too much to get transportation to Leon to restart? I feel pathetic even asking, but just trying to think through all my options. For a little background, I'm a 57 year old female in decent shape. Knees and hips get a little grumpy if I walk more than 20-24 kilometers, but I've been doing 13 kilometers regularly with no problem training daily..
Don't worry: not as difficult as you think. Walked in May at 74 and at least 30% of people who I met were over 70. Best thing is that the hills make you stronger so after Lugo it is like walking on a flat table! Some very nice, friendly Municipal albergues on the primitivo.
 
Donation to the Forum
A donation to this forum helps it continue to exists and also removes all ads for you.
Peaceable Projects Inc.
Peaceable Projects Inc. is a U.S.-based non-profit group that brings the vast resources of the wide world together with the ongoing needs of the people who live, work, and travel on the Camino de Santiago pilgrim trail network in Spain.

GigiO

New Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Primitivo
I've walked the Primitivo in my 60's as a medium fit gal. On the more difficult hills, you just take it a bit slower and stop often to take beautiful pictures😃...it all works out and is worth it!
Thank you for those encouraging words! I see you've done multiple Caminos. Lots of people are saying I should do the Frances first because of the "full" experience. Do you have an opinion on that? I'm waffling back and forth, and can't decide!
 
Time of past OR future Camino
Latest: Rota Vicentina '19; Portuguese '19.
Thank you for those encouraging words! I see you've done multiple Caminos. Lots of people are saying I should do the Frances first because of the "full" experience. Do you have an opinion on that? I'm waffling back and forth, and can't decide!
Well, I have loved all my Caminos, but I still normally suggest people start with the Frances; especially if they are not used to backpacking in nature, or possibly are timid, slightly fearful females if going alone. The Frances is its own special "feel", and although a number of people don't appreciate the movie "The Way", I personally loved it, and for me it replicated quite well what the Frances is all about. I thought the movie was a great introduction to the uniqueness of that particular Camino, and fueled my desire to experience it.
That said, I do not know what "category" you fit into, and I'm sure you will receive many varying opinions.
 

GigiO

New Member
Time of past OR future Camino
Primitivo
I've seen it and admittedly it inspired my initial interest in the Camino. I'm torn because I really want beautiful landscape, a sense of community, but not the bed race. I'm going in September and I have roughly 20 days to walk. Originally I was considering the Primitivo because of the 20 day window. Now I'm considering the Frances from Leon. Or possibly the Frances from Leon and then hoping onto the Invierno at Ponferrada (assuming the wild fires are no longer an issue). That might give me a mix of both.
 

JabbaPapa

"True Pilgrim"
Time of past OR future Camino
100 characters or fewer : see signature details
There is actually a Plan C, though it would involve a few lonely days, so that it might be self-defeating.

There is a route from the Primitivo to Léon, how many days depending basically on your daily hiking speed.

On that route, you might be able to find accommodation from the town halls, though maybe not, but it would be remiss of the forum to not mention it at all.
 
Time of past OR future Camino
Latest: Rota Vicentina '19; Portuguese '19.
I'm torn because I really want beautiful landscape, a sense of community, but not the bed race
I do read on this forum that post-covid the lack of beds is real; some due to permanent closures, and also because there has been an influx of pilgrims once again. I think it depends if you want to walk without reservations or are willing to plan each night ahead of time.
I do love the Primitivo, but have also read of lodging problems there as well.
There are no clear-cut answers as a few people have posted they had recently walked with no reservations and had no problems finding beds. 🤷
 
Last edited:
Camino Magnets
A collection of Camino Fridge Magnets
Peaceable Projects Inc.
Peaceable Projects Inc. is a U.S.-based non-profit group that brings the vast resources of the wide world together with the ongoing needs of the people who live, work, and travel on the Camino de Santiago pilgrim trail network in Spain.

JabbaPapa

"True Pilgrim"
Time of past OR future Camino
100 characters or fewer : see signature details
Thank you for those encouraging words! I see you've done multiple Caminos. Lots of people are saying I should do the Frances first because of the "full" experience. Do you have an opinion on that? I'm waffling back and forth, and can't decide!
I am a lunatic, so that for me, the "full experience" is to walk from home.

But that has a corollary - - any other starting place is a good one, and there's nothing particularly special about SJPP, except for the unusual difficulty of the stage out from there.

Having said that, the French Way is still the best one for a first Camino for most people, unless you live in Portugal or elsewhere in Spain or something.

Or you're a loony like me.
 

lt56ny

Veteran Member
Time of past OR future Camino
10/22 Aragones/Frances
Well, I have loved all my Caminos, but I still normally suggest people start with the Frances; especially if they are not used to backpacking in nature, or possibly are timid, slightly fearful females if going alone. The Frances is its own special "feel", and although a number of people don't appreciate the movie "The Way", I personally loved it, and for me it replicated quite well what the Frances is all about. I thought the movie was a great introduction to the uniqueness of that particular Camino, and fueled my desire to experience it.
That said, I do not know what "category" you fit into, and I'm sure you will receive many varying opinions.
I totally agree with you Chrissy. it is so hard to have a one size fits all scenario for what is hard/easy and also factor in age/weight/experience/prior injuries/blisters or aches and you can't possibly have one answer. The only thing I tell people is try it if you really want to . I also recommend the Frances as a first camino just because of the infrastructure support as well as pilgrim support. I think most will agree that no matter how much you train for many people especially those who have never attempted something like this prepares you but can't replicate the experience. Finally learning your rhythm and how to walk can only come once you begin your pilgrimage.
 
Time of past OR future Camino
2019
The Primitivo is beautiful but demanding because for the first half you are walking perpendicular to the folds of the mountains. Lots of up and down. If your first Camino is the Frances it will give you a chance to get all your gear and footwear right on an easier route with more support. Don't worry, once you have walked the Camino, you WILL return. Whichever Camino, before you start spend some time in the beautiful cathedrals in Oviedo or Leon. Buen Camino
 

Corned Beef

Active Member
Time of past OR future Camino
VDLP Part 2/2023
Another one for the Frances as a first. Mainly because there are more "escape" routes if you find the going tough. There is more support from fellow pilgrims. There is more opportunity to interact and more choices of terrain.

As you come from Florida, you might want to do the meseta from Logrono to Leon. Or if you want varied, from Leon to Santiago. If you want company (and a lot of it) Sarria to Santiago. Or if you'd prefer the newness and novelty you get from starting with others, and finding your feet, start from SJPP for as long as you need.

The camino has been around for a thousand years and will be here when you want to come back.
 
How to Successfully Prepare for Your Camino
This book's focus is on reducing the risk of failure through being well prepared.
Peaceable Projects Inc.
Peaceable Projects Inc. is a U.S.-based non-profit group that brings the vast resources of the wide world together with the ongoing needs of the people who live, work, and travel on the Camino de Santiago pilgrim trail network in Spain.
Time of past OR future Camino
please see signature
I really want beautiful landscape, a sense of community, but not the bed race. I'm going in September and I have roughly 20 days to walk
I've been doing 13 kilometers regularly with no problem training daily..

@GigiO, hi: my suggestions below are anchored to what you say above: they are aimed at an arrival at Compostela within your 20 days.

As I understand it, Florida, USA is pretty much like The Netherlands, flat as a pancake. On the other hand, north west Spain is not at all like that aspect of The Netherlands, or Florida, USA. I don't know what this might mean for you. But it suggests to me that for your first foray into Camino, you take shorter days.

A possible route for you, using the Frances, might be:
day 01 - 20 km Ponferrada to Cacabelos - flat
day 02 - 13 km Cacabelos to Valcarce - flat
day 03 - 10 km Valcarce to La Faba - about 200 m elevation gain in last few km
day 04 - 16 km La Faba to O'Cebreiro to Fonfria - 400 m elevation gain in first 5 km then ups and downs
day 05 - 19 km Fonfria to Samos - gentle downhill
day 06 - 16 km Samos to Sarria to Barbadelo - flat to Sarria, then a small pull up to the Albergue
day 07 - 18 km Barbadelo to Portomarin - continue the pull to the ridge then downhill

Day 03 will probably give you sheep and cattle on the hill sides, rams having a bell around their necks.
Days 03, 04, 05 and 06 should give you landscapes (but not all hours that you walk).

That is just on 120 km of the around 200 km from Ponferrada to Compostela.
Leaving you, say, a rest day or two on the way: and time at Compostela to wind down.

An alternative is to start at say Pamplona (definitely not Saint-John) and achieve your daily distances from there, stopping when you have run out days (possibly Burgos). Then, in latter years, returning to your last stopping point and carry on. Repeating until done.

May I comment on the mythical bed race, and it is a myth in my experience.

I started tramping (the term used way down under, elsewhere backpacking, through hiking ...) when I was quite young. Our play ground started near sea level with tops at about 1,500 metres (5,000 feet) asl. The natural obstacles meant achieving 10 km on some days was pretty good going. To give us safety margins during the day we would break camp around sunrise. It is a habit that is hard to break.

When on camino, each day I will have a probable stopping point: but nothing is booked - I just want to be able to enjoy what ever the day and the way provide. And over two months, arriving late in the afternoon having completed more than 30 km (and then aged mid 70s), I had no difficulty finding a bed in France or Spain.

Kia kaha, kia māia, kia mana'wa'nui (take care, be strong, confident and patient)

PS: A way to replace natural hill work is to get regular access to multistorey buildings and climb up, and down, the stairs. With your pack etc.
 

Suzanne H

Camino Junkie
Time of past OR future Camino
CF'17; LePuy'18; Porto/Coastal'19; Portugal? '22
My heart wants to do the Primitivo
@GigiO, follow your heart.

If you need to reassess midway, you'll know. This particular part of Spain is not that big, and Rome2Rio will help you with bus schedules. Buses in Spain have been good to me, btw.
The CF has more infrastructure and more beds and more people.... and if it's your first Camino, it gives you the full taste of the Camino -- both good and bad. I haven't done the Primativo to offer you specific feedback, but I see that you've received that here already.
Based upon what you've told us here about your fitness, I think you'll be fine. We all get 'fitter' as we walk.

A quick story about my first Camino. I was supposed to start from SJPdP, but as I was planning for my trip I just kept feeling as though something about SJPdP was holding me back. Perhaps it was the rumors about the bed races... I booked a guest room in Bayonne instead of catching the train, thinking I would rest for two nights and get on European time. Instead, my hostess talked me into walking directly from Bayonne! I started off the next morning on a wing and a prayer, with no knowledge of or reference material for the Baztan... but the option to walk to Pamplona from Bayonne spoke to me. Those first days alone on the Baztan before joining the CF are some of my favorite memories of the Camino.

I'm presently booking the first week for my walk out of Lisbon because the idea of not having a bed is giving me anxiety. Having those bookings is giving me peace. We all do it our own way -- there is no right or wrong.

And thank you for allowing me to respond to your question because it's helping me to answer my own questions.

So listen to what is coming from your heart, and walk in love... not fear.
Buen Camino~!!
 
Time of past OR future Camino
Yearly and Various 2014-2019
Via Monastica 2022
So much depends on what kind of experience you seek. If the social aspect of the walk is a priority, than the Frances is likely to be more your cup of tea. But if you are seeking other things, the Primitivo is likely the better bet. You are reasonably fit so the ups and downs of the Primitivo will be doable. And there are other pilgrims there, just not the large numbers that are on the Frances. .

Lots of people are saying I should do the Frances first because of the "full" experience.
Excuse me? "Full experience" according to what? Any camino can give you that.
I love the Frances when it is quiet, and have walked it a number of times. But the mythology about the Frances being the authentic camino is just that, fed by Hollywood, countless blogs, self-published books, and social media feeds. There are many officially recognized ways to Santiago - and most of them have a long history. The Primativo is one of the older ways, older than the Frances.
So listen to your heart, and go for it!
 

Drumbo_hiker

Just walk, don’t rush
Time of past OR future Camino
Le Puy, Português, Primitivo & Norte
Just to prove that there are more options than you can shake a stick at, Caroline and I decided, having read Nicholas Luard's book The Field of the Star, to start in Le Puy and walk in stages to Santiago. WE did that and started in 2010 and over 5 years walked to Santiago and then Finisterre. A big case of deferred gratification. When we walked into Santiago in 2014 the emotions were quite intense.
On the other hand one of Caroline's brothers-in-law thought we were bonkers and started in Ponferrada.
Very much a case of decide how you want to do it. We went on to walk from Lisbon and then Oviedo and hope this August to start the second half of the Norte.
I think whatever you decide it will be right because it is your decision.
Buen camino!
 
John Brierley 2022 Camino Guide
Get your today and start planning.
2022 Camino Guides
The 2022 Camino guides will be coming out little by little. Here is a collection of the ones that are out so far.

Most read last week in this forum

Hi fellow Pilgrims, I fly to Biarritz tomorrow and due to rail strikes my train has been cancelled from Bayonne to SJPP. Has anyone else been affected by this? If so, would you like to share a...
Hi 👋 I am wanting to book the albergue Ferrol a Donativo for this Sunday, how do I go about it please? I've already tried Google but it cones up with Spanish information, thanks in advance 😊 buen...
Hey, just done a six day section of the Via Francigena in Tuscany (Lucca to Siena) and now thinking of doing something similar in Spain this October. Not the whole thing! I'm particularly...

Forum Rules

Forum Rules

Camino Updates on YouTube

Camino Conversations

Most downloaded Resources

This site is run by Ivar at

in Santiago de Compostela.
This site participates in the Amazon Affiliate program, designed to provide a means for Ivar to earn fees by linking to Amazon
Official Camino Passport (Credential) | 2022 Camino Guides
Top