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LIVE from the Camino First time San Salvador, here we go

ksoltysiak

New Member
Time of past OR future Camino
26/05/24 to 15/06/24: San Salvador + Primitivo
I stayed in Leon last night, in the benedictinas albergue. Relatively few pilgrims, which was a bit surprising but I didn’t mind. I had hoped to get a full nights rest but eh, I think I caught a cold and on top of that my brain just kept waking me up every couple of hours. So long for starting fresh and well rested!



Got on the road around 7h. The road to Carbajal was not the greatest. Following the river would have been better I think, but since I had planned a long day I figured I’d play it safe and keep to the marked path. There was one bar open there, which was nice on a Sunday. The town did look pretty quiet otherwise. The water faucet at the end of the town didn’t seem to work



The next stretch to Cabanillas was pretty great, forest tracks on hills that were neither too challenging, neither too flat, just great for a first day. Except a few bikers, only one other pilgrim on the road as far as I can tell. Here, the water fountain seemed to be working, but I couldn’t see any bar.



I then pretty much went on autopilot until La Robla, which I reached around 13:15. There are shops and coffees and bars, and the Sunday vibe was nice. After an orange juice, I got moving again. Right out of town there’s nice scenery, like an aqueduct and a old bridge. It makes the asphalt road almost worth it.



The road to Pola de Gordon was ok. Not the best, not the worst, but I’m sure glad to be done for the day. As expected, the weather was just right for my taste. Not too hot, not too sunny, just enough shade here and there.



All in all, I’m fairly happy with this path and this day. Here’s to hoping my cold won’t get worse and that I’ll get a good night’s sleep, since tomorrow is supposed to be very enjoyable.
 
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All in all, I’m fairly happy with this path and this day

Ah, to be young again. Your description was how my first Salvador went. The last time I went for the four day option, at age 72, I straggled into Pola de Gordón too late to get lunch and feeling wiped out.

The great thing about the Salvador is that there are so many ways to break it up into tiny segments that even us old folks can contemplate it as an option! I hope to go back again, stopping at just about every stopping point. 🤣

You are going to have nearly all the mountain beauty crammed into one day tomorrow, @ksoltysiak, hope it is a glorious day for you.
 
Tomorrow, you will not actually get to a mountain, just two places taking the easiest way between some. But, at alto nr. 2 (not the one with the cross, but next), you can follow a small trail to the right, just where the marked trail goes down again. It goes straight up and give you a good view, recommend it! Hope your cold is not a serious one and you can really enjoy these days.
 
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Thanks for the advice friend, I’ll try and follow it if I’m not too sore :)
 
Phew, that was a day. Got to Pajares a couple of hours ago, and the day was beautiful as advertised. Great views, great weather (a tad too fresh in the mornings but that’s on me for not bringing a warmer jacket), and challenging just as I like it.

The only downside: nothing was opened until Pajares itself. In poladura, the restaurant is closed on Mondays, and at Puerto de Pajares, the place should have been opened but it wasn’t. Reading the google reviews, it’s not an isolated occurrence.

Anyway, good thing I was stocked up on water and that I can go on an empty stomach for a long time. The sort-of private albergue-bar in pajares will have to do until Campomanes. It’s only snacks, but I’m ok with that for today. It’s an ok price to pay for lousy foresight :)

I’m pretty happy with my decision of doing this Camino in 4 steps. My body will yell at me later, but the shorter recommended steps would have left me restless, I think. Then again we’ll see with all the downhill of tomorrow… that will be something too.
 
Oh and I was so annoyed at not having a place to take a second coffee that I completely forgot about KariannNor’s advice. It’s probably easier to keep in mind with a full stomach and a shorter day :)
 
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WOW, great job today!
No one who hasn't experienced it knows how mentally though it can be to expect a break, a coffee or food, and then - not get it. May seem like a small thing, but a typical big mental drill in the military. And you really need lots of calories in efforts like this.
For me I think, as for your day tomorrow, the most difficult part was the last downhill to Campomanes. Hope it's a little drier there than it was then, I slipped and fell a lot in the mud down there. But getting to Campomanes was supernice, at least 2 cafes with various food were open there, a bigger, nice place. And then into Pola is "walk in the park".
Keep up the good work! Wish you dry, nice weather.
 
The single other pilgrim in the albergue tried the restaurant on the road just before Pajares (El Ruchu, I think) and they didn’t serve food apparently. I don’t know if it’s recurring or just bad timing.

In any case, to anyone doing the San Salvador, plan accordingly and stock up in La Robla or Pola de Gordón !
 
Day 3, first part done. This one was textbook me not thinking straight… right after leaving pajares, I started having a headache, which made the first few kilometers not as enjoyable as they could have been. The forest was nice though, and once again the weather just perfect for me.

When I got the choice between following the road or going in the mountains, I went for the road. I figured it would be a better choice for my headache, and indeed it went away quietly after 20, 30mn. I suspect the mountain path is better, but even on the road the scenery is amazing.

Anyway, I got lost in my thoughts and I didn’t pay attention to where the Camino was going, and kept on following the road. It’s only when the curb stopped that I understood my mistake, but by then I felt too committed (or too lazy) to backtrack, so I kept going.

I don’t recommend it; while there is some room for walking, it’s not a lot and it’s not supposed to. there is a few opportunities to take side roads every now and then, but overall it was not a pleasant hour. Less ascents and descents, less slippery or muddy paths, but I’m not sure it’s worth the trade compared to the regular Camino

Anyway, I’ve had my breakfast, and my coffee, time to move on!
 
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Great to hear the weather is good.
Oh, so easy not to see arrows and marks, and I think many on Salvador sometimes were hard to spot.
Remember not drinking enough water is a recipe for headache (regards mom, ha ha).
 
Great to hear the weather is good.
Oh, so easy not to see arrows and marks, and I think many on Salvador sometimes were hard to spot.
Remember not drinking enough water is a recipe for headache (regards mom, ha ha).
For this it’s mostly on me, I was really not paying attention :)

And I’ve been hydrating quite properly for once! That and the very limited amount of beer made it a surprise, but eh, it happens
 
Day 3, part 2 (I sound like a lazy Hollywood franchise dammit)

Got to Pola de Lena around 13h. I honestly don’t remember how the road was… because I pushed to Mieres! I felt way too energized and restless and the road was supposed to be relatively easy. I figured why not give it a shot. Kind of a penance for avoiding the ups and downs, in a twisted way. And it was… interesting.

I throughly disliked most of the first part, up to Ujo/Uxo, due to the forrest paths with overgrown nature. I never liked those, and with my tick death count being at 5 now, my opinion will not change anytime soon. On the plus side, I would have hated that path even more first thing in the morning, so…

The second part was neutral. Too much asphalt, too much car noises, but not much to complain about. There are still mountains in the background, the weather is still good, and I felt my legs finally starting to complain :)

Mieres looks ok, as far as town go. I may have to go back into town - no stamps yet today and my room is self service, no ones there -, but the little I’ve seen seemed nice.

This leaves me with a short day for tomorrow, which will leave room for resting and taking Oviedo in before starting the primitivo.
 
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OMG - what are you made of boy, pure iron?!?

I can understand that asphalt and the sound of cars can be is strange. I really reacted to it, annoying and tireding in the first few days of Primitivo (so there it is really noise!). Even if the trail went off-road, the highway was always nearby. Only on day 4 did it get better, a bit more countryside. But that's just the way it is, people and towns and cars have come to the region over time.

If those legs don't start complain soon, you're not human. Hope you can push this for days and days and follow your plans. Enjoy the solitude, Primitivo is full of people compered to Salvador, at least when I was there.
 
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Day 3, part 2 (I sound like a lazy Hollywood franchise dammit)

Got to Pola de Lena around 13h. I honestly don’t remember how the road was… because I pushed to Mieres! I felt way too energized and restless and the road was supposed to be relatively easy. I figured why not give it a shot. Kind of a penance for avoiding the ups and downs, in a twisted way. And it was… interesting.

I throughly disliked most of the first part, up to Ujo/Uxo, due to the forrest paths with overgrown nature. I never liked those, and with my tick death count being at 5 now, my opinion will not change anytime soon. On the plus side, I would have hated that path even more first thing in the morning, so…

The second part was neutral. Too much asphalt, too much car noises, but not much to complain about. There are still mountains in the background, the weather is still good, and I felt my legs finally starting to complain :)

Mieres looks ok, as far as town go. I may have to go back into town - no stamps yet today and my room is self service, no ones there -, but the little I’ve seen seemed nice.

This leaves me with a short day for tomorrow, which will leave room for resting and taking Oviedo in before starting the primitivo.
I did get a stamp at Hostal Pachin, maybe you can have one there even if that's not were you're staying?
 
I don’t mind those noises that much, especially since I have good music, podcasts and audiobooks, but when there’s a constant droning like there’s bound to be every now and then, it makes me miss the mountains even more :)

I’m hoping the primitivo will be populated but not overly crowded like the Frances seems to be. I’ve had my solo fun, I’m ready to be social again :) I likely won’t post daily updates for that reason.

And to be honest I’m a bit surprised too. It’s not my first Camino, I’m relatively well in tune with my body and what it can/can’t do but except the feet themselves and a little bit the hips, the soreness is way lower that I’d expected. We’ll see if that lasts through the night :)

As for the stamp, I’m giving up - too exhausted to go back in town, I’m right at the start of the ascent after Mieres I think. I hope it won’t prevent me from getting my Salvadorana, but if it does it’s ok. I’ll just have to do this again :p
 
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Day 4, it’s midday, I’m in Oviedo, and I’m happy :) today went well! I could see the full stage from Pola de Lena to Oviedo being challenging; I’m glad that I only had from Mieres to go through today.

There were again a few places where the nature was overgrown, making me wish I had brought a long sleeved jacket. To those who have done the primitivo before: is this something I have to factor in?

I didn’t expect this stage to look this beautiful, though. Mountains everywhere, green scenery on a grand blue sky, just grandiose. Definitely a nice way to finish this Camino!
 
Congratulations, well done!
If you mean the parts with all the tall plants on the sides of the narrow paths, I did never see them at all on the Primitivo. The trail is wider there all the way.
It was definately social, always someone to sit with at cafees etc. For me it was a nice combo of walking on my own and sometimes with others. Some places you might need to book ahead, been som threads about that the last weeks.
Did you get your Salvadorana?
 
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Yeah, I got it from the cathedral, I went there just before it closed at 13h. Didn’t have the time to visit it sadly, I also missed the afternoon opening with the albergue-shower logistics, but I don’t mind that much.

I just finished the first day on the primitivo, my cold is almost gone, my legs are feeling mostly fine, except my right heel - he’s the one who’s paying the price for my close-to-40km day. Not a dealbreaker, but just in case I’ll spend the rest of day lying down, resting and reading in Grado. The weather’s been grey and misty all day anyway :)

I’ll probably write a summary of the San Salvador part once home, detached from it and with a keyboard instead of a phone. In the meantime, thanks for the answers, the chats and moral support friends!

Happy trails,
 
I stayed in Leon last night, in the benedictinas albergue. Relatively few pilgrims, which was a bit surprising but I didn’t mind. I had hoped to get a full nights rest but eh, I think I caught a cold and on top of that my brain just kept waking me up every couple of hours. So long for starting fresh and well rested!



Got on the road around 7h. The road to Carbajal was not the greatest. Following the river would have been better I think, but since I had planned a long day I figured I’d play it safe and keep to the marked path. There was one bar open there, which was nice on a Sunday. The town did look pretty quiet otherwise. The water faucet at the end of the town didn’t seem to work



The next stretch to Cabanillas was pretty great, forest tracks on hills that were neither too challenging, neither too flat, just great for a first day. Except a few bikers, only one other pilgrim on the road as far as I can tell. Here, the water fountain seemed to be working, but I couldn’t see any bar.



I then pretty much went on autopilot until La Robla, which I reached around 13:15. There are shops and coffees and bars, and the Sunday vibe was nice. After an orange juice, I got moving again. Right out of town there’s nice scenery, like an aqueduct and a old bridge. It makes the asphalt road almost worth it.



The road to Pola de Gordon was ok. Not the best, not the worst, but I’m sure glad to be done for the day. As expected, the weather was just right for my taste. Not too hot, not too sunny, just enough shade here and there.



All in all, I’m fairly happy with this path and this day. Here’s to hoping my cold won’t get worse and that I’ll get a good night’s sleep, since tomorrow is supposed to be very enjoyable.
I loved the San Salvador. I just wish I had known about the way along the river instead of going through towns
 
I loved the San Salvador. I just wish I had known about the way along the river instead of going through towns
I met a Spanish couple who turned off onto the Salvador at the same time I did from the procession of pilgrims who were continuing along the Frances. They were using the Gronze Maps app to guide them on the route and alerted me to the river option which the three of us took.
 
The one from Galicia (the round) and the one from Castilla & Leon. Individually numbered and made by the same people that make the ones you see on your walk.
Just popping in to say that I've enjoyed reading your notes and they're giving me possible confidence to 'brave' the Salvador in August. I'm still musing on it, but given how busy everyone says the Frances is I'm being more and more convinced that since I've already done the stages to Leon I'd prefer to take the Salvador and then pick up the Camino Primitivo which should be *slightly* less busy.
 
Good idea not only is the Frances crowded but no where near as beautiful as the Norte snd Primitivo. August is the worst month of all as the Spaniards that their vacation then
 
I stayed in Leon last night, in the benedictinas albergue. Relatively few pilgrims, which was a bit surprising but I didn’t mind. I had hoped to get a full nights rest but eh, I think I caught a cold and on top of that my brain just kept waking me up every couple of hours. So long for starting fresh and well rested!



Got on the road around 7h. The road to Carbajal was not the greatest. Following the river would have been better I think, but since I had planned a long day I figured I’d play it safe and keep to the marked path. There was one bar open there, which was nice on a Sunday. The town did look pretty quiet otherwise. The water faucet at the end of the town didn’t seem to work



The next stretch to Cabanillas was pretty great, forest tracks on hills that were neither too challenging, neither too flat, just great for a first day. Except a few bikers, only one other pilgrim on the road as far as I can tell. Here, the water fountain seemed to be working, but I couldn’t see any bar.



I then pretty much went on autopilot until La Robla, which I reached around 13:15. There are shops and coffees and bars, and the Sunday vibe was nice. After an orange juice, I got moving again. Right out of town there’s nice scenery, like an aqueduct and a old bridge. It makes the asphalt road almost worth it.



The road to Pola de Gordon was ok. Not the best, not the worst, but I’m sure glad to be done for the day. As expected, the weather was just right for my taste. Not too hot, not too sunny, just enough shade here and there.



All in all, I’m fairly happy with this path and this day. Here’s to hoping my cold won’t get worse and that I’ll get a good night’s sleep, since tomorrow is supposed to be very enjoyable.
Thx for this update! Glad it's going great for you and appreciate hearing your words since I attempt it in September
 
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