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Advice needed — Primitivo at age 70

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Faye Walker

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
CF 2014, CF 2018, CP 2019 from Coimbra
Honestly, Bob… I think you need to consider the weather for when you want to go in any given year. Could you imagine getting yourself to Madrid, not having a plan for a particular route, and making the final decision when you can see at least a 2-week forecast? You could take the train out of Madrid to pretty much any starting point you would want… or even just walk right out of Madrid.
Or you could get the train to Leon and walk the Oviedo to join the Primitivo… or take a train up to Villaviciosa from Madrid, etc etc…
What do you think?
 

André Walker

Never losing my way: always standing on it
Past OR future Camino
2018
Any suggestions or information re albergues (comfort and facilities) would be welcome.

Diving into albergues (given the current situation and the uncertanties involved) might be premature. Maybe it's better to wait a bit and then check one or two apps (there are good ones, e.g. Wise Pilgrim) or www.gronze.com.

Gronze seems to be as up-to-date as possible in these fast changing circumstances.

Happy planning and buen camino!
 
Past OR future Camino
Norte (2017-18)
Portugues (2015)
Frances (2014)
Advice needed. Having walked the Norte in early autumn 2019 I am considering the Primitivo for next year, by which time I will be 70. I am reasonably fit - a regular walker and runner - but was just wondering if it's feasible. Any suggestions or information re albergues (comfort and facilities) would be welcome.
It is possible for a 70 year old to walk the Primitivo. You might want to look at Sara Dhooma's Primitivo videos on the youtube, and bear the season in mind. Another thing that jumps out at me in your initial post is that you don't mention what kind of shape the land in your area has. If it's flat, you will want to find a way to build up your uphill strength and your knees, IMHO.

You also might want to check out Gronze.com.

We walked it in mid to late October this year. The weather was fine, though growing cooler. The seasonal thing that we had trouble adjusting to was the way the days kept getting shorter. Old Sol just doesn't get up early in October!

Am in process of doing recap posts on my blog, there were in-progress posts already, and I'm going back thru photos and thoughts in recap as has been done after each of our Caminos. texassunshine24.blogspot.com if you want to have a look.
 
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Past OR future Camino
Walked the Norte in September 2019.
Honestly, Bob… I think you need to consider the weather for when you want to go in any given year. Could you imagine getting yourself to Madrid, not having a plan for a particular route, and making the final decision when you can see at least a 2-week forecast? You could take the train out of Madrid to pretty much any starting point you would want… or even just walk right out of Madrid.
Or you could get the train to Leon and walk the Oviedo to join the Primitivo… or take a train up to Villaviciosa from Madrid, etc etc…
What do you think?
Thanks for this - and all the other - replies. I have family in Northern Spain (on the Norte at Boo de Pielagos) so was thinking of starting from there to Oviedo and joining the Primitivo. I take your point about weather but it's always going to be a bit of a gamble.
 

Faye Walker

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
CF 2014, CF 2018, CP 2019 from Coimbra
Thanks for this - and all the other - replies. I have family in Northern Spain (on the Norte at Boo de Pielagos) so was thinking of starting from there to Oviedo and joining the Primitivo. I take your point about weather but it's always going to be a bit of a gamble.
Yeah, it’s that gamble that I’m hoping maybe you can hedge a little if you allow the possibility of different routes (assuming you can’t change the timeframe).
I haven’t walked any of those routes yet so I can’t be of use on any of your other questions; sorry.
 

jpflavin1

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
Camino Madrid/San Salvador/Primitivo-2021
Advice needed. Having walked the Norte in early autumn 2019 I am considering the Primitivo for next year, by which time I will be 70. I am reasonably fit - a regular walker and runner - but was just wondering if it's feasible. Any suggestions or information re albergues (comfort and facilities) would be welcome.
If you can walk the Norte you can walk the Primitivo.

I just walked it this Fall @ 71.

Weather is unpredictable, so I do not think it should be part of your decision. You should just be prepared to deal with whatever you encounter. Unless you are thinking Winter.

I have walked this route in the Fall and Spring. Spring was wetter, Fall had more bugs.

Bodenaya is a must stay albergue.
 
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Jeff B

Member
Past OR future Camino
Frances, Primitivo, Fisterre and Ingles
Advice needed. Having walked the Norte in early autumn 2019 I am considering the Primitivo for next year, by which time I will be 70. I am reasonably fit - a regular walker and runner - but was just wondering if it's feasible. Any suggestions or information re albergues (comfort and facilities) would be welcome.
Well, for comparison, I'm 69 and just did the Primitivo, Fisterre and Ingles, in Sept./Oct., in that order. I too am a runner (for 42 years) and had little problem with any of them. I think that you'll be fine, especially since you're experienced at it.
 
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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.
Past OR future Camino
Planning on the pilgrimage 2015
Advice needed. Having walked the Norte in early autumn 2019 I am considering the Primitivo for next year, by which time I will be 70. I am reasonably fit - a regular walker and runner - but was just wondering if it's feasible. Any suggestions or information re albergues (comfort and facilities) would be welcome.
Hi Bob
I did the Norte in 2017 and found it to be amazing. How did you find it? I'm planning on a camino with my daughter and oldest son for April 2022. I might do the Frances this time landing 1st in Paris to spend a few days. I'll be 67 so well done to us "seasoned walkers" 🤣
 

Jan Runkel

New Member
Past OR future Camino
Camino Frances 2018
Still hoping for Fall 2020
Advice needed. Having walked the Norte in early autumn 2019 I am considering the Primitivo for next year, by which time I will be 70. I am reasonably fit - a regular walker and runner - but was just wondering if it's feasible. Any suggestions or information re albergues (comfort and facilities) would be welcome.
I'm 70, and just walked the Primitivo, after SJPP to Burgos, then the Invierno. Agree that you will need to watch the weather, especially for the Hospedales. Go at your own pace, and you'll be fine.
Pocino de Munoz, in Vilar de Casa 15k before Lugo is amazing!
 

Mera

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
CF, Norte twice, Primitivo, Porto, Madrid
You won't know for sure until you try it, right? If it turns out to be too much, or not enjoyable, you can always change the route. So, why attempt to prejudge what you can or cannot do before actually walk the walk?
 

Tom Hagger

New Member
Past OR future Camino
Francés, Norte, Primitivo, Português, Plata etc.
Advice needed. Having walked the Norte in early autumn 2019 I am considering the Primitivo for next year, by which time I will be 70. I am reasonably fit - a regular walker and runner - but was just wondering if it's feasible. Any suggestions or information re albergues (comfort and facilities) would be welcome.
I was your age, Bob, when I walked the Norte and Primitivo in September and early October two years ago. One of the ideal times of year, I would say, although I walked the Norte in spring a few years ago and that was equally delightful. In autumn, you will probably experience some dense mists in the higher parts, Pola de Allande, for example. If you use a good guide book (such as Wise Pilgrim) you will have sound advice about the alternative route to take, if necessary. Plan in advance and you will find that there is no real problem with albergues now, and that there is no need for any particularly long days. The Primitivo is generally well marked, but in the more remote parts it is easy to miss your way in poor weather. I would strongly advise you to carry a compass, although many pilgrims don't seem to bother. (Perhaps they keep their mobiles phones on instead!) That said, I had no problems and enjoyed myself enormously. Finally, two nights spent in Oviedo and Lugo are well worthwhile if you have the time - they are fascinating towns. Best wishes, Tom
 
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TangoBravo

New Member
Past OR future Camino
Frances 2013, Norte 2016, Muxia/Finisterra 2016, Portuguese 2017
Advice needed. Having walked the Norte in early autumn 2019 I am considering the Primitivo for next year, by which time I will be 70. I am reasonably fit - a regular walker and runner - but was just wondering if it's feasible. Any suggestions or information re albergues (comfort and facilities) would be welcome.
Hello Bob,
Let me throw in my advice. Right after Borres the route splits. My son and I stayed at a great albergue right near the split. Communal dinner. Breakfast. The next day we made it to Berducedo. Still no problems for me (55 yo) or my son (32 yo). However the NEXT stage is where we ran into problems. The first 5 hours are all downhill and fairly steep with loose rocks. I didn't have any pain or discomfort until I stepped on level ground right near the dam in Embalse de Salime. Pain started shooting out of both my knees. Also, my german friends were a day ahead of us and he took a tumble during the 5 hour descent which ended his camino. I ended up taking a bus to Lugo and got a massage on both knees at a clinic and was able to finish the camino with the help of the tape the clinic put on my knees. My son also felt knee discomfort after that 5 hour descent and ended up wearing an elastic knee brace for the rest of the camino.
If I had it to all over I would have taken more breaks during that descent and really bent my knees fully during those breaks. Also I would have taken some good knee braces for support.
Good luck!
 

Beeman

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
Primitivo,2017,Argonne and salvador,sept.2019
Advice needed. Having walked the Norte in early autumn 2019 I am considering the Primitivo for next year, by which time I will be 70. I am reasonably fit - a regular walker and runner - but was just wondering if it's feasible. Any suggestions or information re albergues (comfort and facilities) would be welcome.
I walked in 2017 at 73 and had no trouble. I found it much easier than people said it was. I cannot see you having any trouble if you are in any kind of reasonable shape. Go for it !!
 

Robi Diaz De Vivar

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
Frances (2016), Norte (2017), Portuges (2018), Mozarabe (2019), Primitivo (2019), Via de La Plata (2
Advice needed. Having walked the Norte in early autumn 2019 I am considering the Primitivo for next year, by which time I will be 70. I am reasonably fit - a regular walker and runner - but was just wondering if it's feasible. Any suggestions or information re albergues (comfort and facilities) would be welcome.
Hi there. I am a pretty fit 64 year old and I did the 6 hardest stages of the Primitivo in September 2019. I found it to be physically demanding but well within my compass. The scenery especially, in Asturias, was breath-taking and the overnight stops were all interesting. The locals were all very supportive. I would recommend going for it. Buen Camino.
 

backpack45

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
Vezelay (2017, in progress); Primitivo & Norte; Geneva/LePuy; Arles; Portuguese; Francés + more
Advice needed. Having walked the Norte in early autumn 2019 I am considering the Primitivo for next year, by which time I will be 70. I am reasonably fit - a regular walker and runner - but was just wondering if it's feasible. Any suggestions or information re albergues (comfort and facilities) would be welcome.
It certainly is. I was 75 at the time and my husband was 80. If you have done the Norte, I doubt you would find the Primitivo any more difficult.
 

Annlill Lilli

New Member
Past OR future Camino
2019
Advice needed. Having walked the Norte in early autumn 2019 I am considering the Primitivo for next year, by which time I will be 70. I am reasonably fit - a regular walker and runner - but was just wondering if it's feasible. Any suggestions or information re albergues (comfort and facilities) would

Walked the Primitivo twice in April, 2018 started from Bilbao and 2019 from Oviedo, and both times did the Hospitales in snow!!! All albergues ok. The albergue in Bodenaya is just wonderful. The guide WisePilgrim a good help. Of course it is different now according to the Covid situation. Btw I´m born 1952 :D too. Ultreia
 
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Camino Chrissy

Take one step forward...then keep on walking..
Past OR future Camino
Frances 2015;
Norte/Primitivo 2016;
Frances 2017;
Le Puy 2018;
Portuguese/FishermanTr. 2019
I walked the Primitivo early May 2016 and mostly had delightful weather.
 

jpq2001au

New Member
Here's some albergue info you might find useful
 

jpflavin1

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
Camino Madrid/San Salvador/Primitivo-2021
Hello Bob,
Let me throw in my advice. Right after Borres the route splits. My son and I stayed at a great albergue right near the split. Communal dinner. Breakfast. The next day we made it to Berducedo. Still no problems for me (55 yo) or my son (32 yo). However the NEXT stage is where we ran into problems. The first 5 hours are all downhill and fairly steep with loose rocks. I didn't have any pain or discomfort until I stepped on level ground right near the dam in Embalse de Salime. Pain started shooting out of both my knees. Also, my german friends were a day ahead of us and he took a tumble during the 5 hour descent which ended his camino. I ended up taking a bus to Lugo and got a massage on both knees at a clinic and was able to finish the camino with the help of the tape the clinic put on my knees. My son also felt knee discomfort after that 5 hour descent and ended up wearing an elastic knee brace for the rest of the camino.
If I had it to all over I would have taken more breaks during that descent and really bent my knees fully during those breaks. Also I would have taken some good knee braces for support.
Good luck!

Samblismo is the Albergue. There is also a really good restaurant after you cross the dam.

It is a long downhill slog with a lot of rocky switchbacks.
 

Camino Chrissy

Take one step forward...then keep on walking..
Past OR future Camino
Frances 2015;
Norte/Primitivo 2016;
Frances 2017;
Le Puy 2018;
Portuguese/FishermanTr. 2019
There is also a really good restaurant after you cross the dam.
We enjoyed stopping for an early afternoon break at that restaurant following the steep downhill switchbacks. The views feom the terrace were amazing and we decided to spend the night at the adjoined hotel. No regrets and it was a favorite memory on the Primitivo.
 

jimmyc

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
2015
Advice needed. Having walked the Norte in early autumn 2019 I am considering the Primitivo for next year, by which time I will be 70. I am reasonably fit - a regular walker and runner - but was just wondering if it's feasible. Any suggestions or information re albergues (comfort and facilities) would be welcome.
I walked the Primitivo in 2018 and I was 78. It is tougher than the CF but if you are fit and know your limitations you should be OK. I tried to limit my walk to 20klms a day. I did not attempt the Hospitales route and went via Pola de Allande. It turned out to be just as difficult but it made it a shorter day.
Sorry but I cannot give you any information about the current Albergue availability. In 2018 I had no problems and never booked ahead..
 
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cbacino

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
Camino del Norte - Primitivo (2018)
Via Francigena (2017)
Appalachian Trail (2016)
Advice needed. Having walked the Norte in early autumn 2019 I am considering the Primitivo for next year, by which time I will be 70. I am reasonably fit - a regular walker and runner - but was just wondering if it's feasible. Any suggestions or information re albergues (comfort and facilities) would be welcome.
I walked the first part of Norte, then turned onto the Primitivo at Oviedo. Glad I did. That was in 2017, age 66. I didn’t think it difficult. Sometimes I called ahead (by noon) if I thought there might be a crush (never was) and the albergue took reservations. Gronze is great. If you do Primitivo, consider taking the Hospidales route - highest, most scenic part. Norte and Primitivo were both enjoyable walks. I’d have no hesitation doing it again at age 70. Enjoy.
 
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Past OR future Camino
July 2019 Primitivo
Sept-Oct 2021 Frances
I did the Primitivo July 2019, my first Camino and the long descent after Hospidales was the biggest challenge. Also I did not allow enough time for rest days as I had a flight deadline to meet. My advice would be to give yourself plenty of time, rest well and enjoy the beautiful and breathtaking scenery. And the wild horses on the Hospidales, so amazing.
 

Canche

Volcano Climber
Past OR future Camino
2016
Advice needed. Having walked the Norte in early autumn 2019 I am considering the Primitivo for next year, by which time I will be 70. I am reasonably fit - a regular walker and runner - but was just wondering if it's feasible. Any suggestions or information re albergues (comfort and facilities) would be welcome.
Of course it is feasible. I'm 77 and just did it and the San Salvador
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
I did not attempt the Hospitales route and went via Pola de Allande. It turned out to be just as difficult
Actually, the route from Pola de Allande is MORE difficult than the route from Hospitales in terms of elevation. From the place where the camino splits for Hospitales and Pola de Allande, if you go to Pola, you have to descend 400 more meters. That means that the ascent from Pola to the pass is 400 m more ascent than the ascent over Hospitales. That is a non-trivial amount of added ascent.

Both routes combine at Puerto de Palo (the pass), and both have the bad rocky descent. The way through Pola is very nice, IMO, and the ascent to the pass is very different from the hospitales ascent, because it’s a lot of green tunnels, babbling brooks, small farms. But if you are concerned about the elevation gain, the route over Hospitales has 400 fewer meters and a much gentler ascent than the route from Pola.

The Primitivo has surged in popularity over the years. I first walked in 2011 and the pivate initiative has exploded since then. I had reservations when I walked in September of this year (at age 71, btw). I took the reservation route because of Covid and not wanting to sleep in albergues’ communal rooms, even though it really took away a lot of the camino spirit for me — both the reserving and the single rooms. There were lots of crunch times for those without reservations, but I don’t think anyone had to sleep outdoors. Berducedo is a bottleneck (I went on to La Mesa), but the supply of lodging is pretty plentiful otherwise. Gronze lists SEVEN options in Salas, for instance!

Buen camino to all the 70+ pilgrims (and our younger amigos) on the Primitivo.
 
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