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Giving Up on the Primitivo

Terry Callery

Chi Walker
Camino(s) past & future
"Portuguese Camino - In Search of the Infinite Moment" Amazon/Kindle books authored
"Slow Camino"
I am writing this from Lugo, as I have just taken the bus from Fonsagrada where I stopped walking the
Primitivo after 8 days on the Camino. In that entire time, I saw just one other pilgrim.
The thing that makes this such a stunningly beautiful walk, which is the jaw-dropping mythic landscapes, is also the thing that makes it "mas duro" very difficult. There are long 5 kilometer climbs
Out of Salas (500 meter elevation), out of Grandas de Salime (600 meters) and out of Pola de Allende.
This is a rugged country of steep valleys with the Cantebrian mountains always to the south.
My bus left Fonsagrada at dawn with tangerine skys framing the "purple majesty" of the rolling mountain
horizon. The views from the LU-530 highway were breathtaking and expansive.
But hiking an elevation of 600 meters is the same as climbing the stairs of a 150 story building.
Water is a real challenge, I did not see a single fountain marked Potable Water....even though I am sure most were. I got to bar/cafe out of Pola 3 km and "Cerrado" closed. No water refill. Same thing when I got to Acebo, bar/cafe closed. Waking the extreme elevations, and I am 66 years old, is one thing.
No water, well it was too much.
Both my French Camino (Slow Camino-My Adventure on the Camino de Santiago) and my Portuguese Camino (Portuguese Camino- In Search of the Infinite Moment) resulted in books I published on Amazon. The Portuguese Camino was a cake-walk compared to the Primitivo's extreme topography.
There will be no book this time. No memorable conversations with other pilgrims. No Compostals.
I will now take the train from Lugo and try the easier Ingles.
Terence Callery
 
Camino(s) past & future
The French Way (2016), Portuguese Camino (2018), del Norte (2019)
Oh, I am sorry that u had to stop, but applaud your ability to self care. As a 70 yr old female I am ambivalent about tacking this walk. At this moment I have planned to walk from Madrid to leon. bus it to Oviedo and then walk some more in mid sept to mid oct. As has been noted so many times this is not an endurance contest. Thanks so much for your courage and humility
 

Kitsambler

Jakobsweg Junkie
Camino(s) past & future
Le Puy 2010-11, Prague 2012, Nuremberg 2013, Einsiedeln 2015, Geneva 2017-18
I got to bar/cafe out of Pola 3 km and "Cerrado" closed. No water refill. Same thing when I got to Acebo, bar/cafe closed.
I am sorry you had such a discouraging and difficult experience. Do you suppose these closures are seasonal? January being rather off-season, I would suppose.
 

tillyjones

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances June 2015
VDLP May 2017
del Norte Sept 2018
It is, indeed, both a stunningly beautiful and gruelling route. I've never had water issues as I can carry enough for a day, however I would not enjoy the vulnerability of being in such remote, difficult terrain without the comfort of knowing there are others coming along.
 

Terry Callery

Chi Walker
Camino(s) past & future
"Portuguese Camino - In Search of the Infinite Moment" Amazon/Kindle books authored
"Slow Camino"
Yes I am certain that closures and the total lack of other pilgrims are seasonal.
I did get water at some of the fountains, only when there was a local who assured
Me that it was "aqua boa".
Two stories to tell.
Out of Grado the Camino follows a river for some time. Flooding had made it appear as if the route I was walking dead ended into the river.
Had I walked just another 20 meters, I would have seen that the Camino route
Curved back along the river bank.
I was just about to back track to see where I might have lost the trail, when only the second pilgrim I encountered in 8 days, appeared walking in the reverse direction. A French woman - like an angel sent to guide me! I mean at the very minute, I needed direction. It was miraculous kind of synchronicity.

The other story was after the grueling day out of Grandas with no water and places closed and so discouraged, I had a big meal at a terrific Pulpo Family Restaurant in Fonsagrada. Waiting for my table upstairs, a bagpiper band comes into the place. Three pipers and two drums and a penny flute.
Remember Galica has strong Celtic roots. Upstairs eating the best fresh octopus ever, swimming in extra virgin olive oil and dusted with Spanish paprika, they start singing downstairs in the bar.
Big platters of unctuous slices of pork meat and plates of sausages and a big swordfish steak are being served to the large family's enjoying their Satuday meal together. To be so alone on the Camino and then to be in this warm Galician family celebration of life, well it was like the whole day just turned on a dime.
Extreme ups and downs, a Camino metaphors.
Terry Callery
 

zrexer

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
2014, 15,16 & 19 Camino Frances
2017 Camino Portuguese
2018 Camino Primitivo
I can second that you need to plan your water carefully on this route. We ran out of water a couple of times when we walked this past September. The toughest day was when we walked the high route from Campiello to Berducedo via the Hospitales route. Fortunately a local lady was sitting by the trail about 8 kilometers from Berducedo and filled our water bottles for us.
When people ask about the walk, and what it was like, I say imagine being in the gym on a Stairmaster machine and using it for 7 to 8 hours solid on level 8!
In any case both my wife and I completed the route to Santiago in 12 days at 58 and 59.
 

josephmcclain

Active Member
And then reality hits! Am saying this because I am planning to be on the Primitivo in early May. I know I am pushing things to want to walk the Primitivo. But something urges me on. I did pretty well actually on the Francés a year and a half ago. All of it. With my backpack. Guess I am rambling and wondering whether I have lost my mind. I am 76, a good walker. HMMMMMM. Thanks for posting.
 

Camino Chris

One step forward...
Camino(s) past & future
Frances 2015;
Norte/Primitivo 2016;
Frances 2017;
Le Puy 2018;
Portuguese/FishermanTr. 2019
And then reality hits! Am saying this because I am planning to be on the Primitivo in early May. I know I am pushing things to want to walk the Primitivo. But something urges me on. I did pretty well actually on the Francés a year and a half ago. All of it. With my backpack. Guess I am rambling and wondering whether I have lost my mind. I am 76, a good walker. HMMMMMM. Thanks for posting.
I walked the Primitivo in May in 2016 at the age of 63 and had combined it with the first half of the Norte. Yes, it was a rather tough route, but I made it and have wonderful memories. I think going in winter would be a huge negative for most folks for all the many reasons Terry has mentioned and I sympathize with his disappointment.
 

willydp

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Programmed C Inglés for "7-12 June 2019"
Although the lack of water, you had a difficult but beautiful walk, even if it was short.
I can say that you did very well on your age!
I admire your persistence to even walk that long...so congratulations, respect 👍😉
And as they say...the Camino provides, for you it was the 'angel pilgrim' 😊
A lot to think about and up to the new Camino Inglés.
Keep us updated on your progress there.
So you have other pilgrims to talk to on this forum. They can be a Camino family too.
Good luck 🍀

P.S. Going to walk the Inglés in June.
 

Jim

Member
Camino(s) past & future
2006- Camino Portuguese
2008- Camino Frances
2009- Sanabres extension of the VDLP
2010- Camino Frances
2011- Camino Potuguese
2014- Camino Frances
2017- Camino Finisterre
I am sorry you had such a discouraging and difficult experience. Do you suppose these closures are seasonal? January being rather off-season, I would suppose.
I was thinking the same thing-- possibly a seasonal problem.
Terry, you are now in easier terrain. Rest up in Lugo-- beautiful town, recommend walking the medieval wall perimeter. Then walk on to compete it. If have extra days can go to El Ferrol on bus or train and do that one too!
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances(2006) portugues(2013)San Salvador (2017)
I am writing this from Lugo, as I have just taken the bus from Fonsagrada where I stopped walking the
Primitivo after 8 days on the Camino. In that entire time, I saw just one other pilgrim.
The thing that makes this such a stunningly beautiful walk, which is the jaw-dropping mythic landscapes, is also the thing that makes it "mas duro" very difficult. There are long 5 kilometer climbs
Out of Salas (500 meter elevation), out of Grandas de Salime (600 meters) and out of Pola de Allende.
This is a rugged country of steep valleys with the Cantebrian mountains always to the south.
My bus left Fonsagrada at dawn with tangerine skys framing the "purple majesty" of the rolling mountain
horizon. The views from the LU-530 highway were breathtaking and expansive.
But hiking an elevation of 600 meters is the same as climbing the stairs of a 150 story building.
Water is a real challenge, I did not see a single fountain marked Potable Water....even though I am sure most were. I got to bar/cafe out of Pola 3 km and "Cerrado" closed. No water refill. Same thing when I got to Acebo, bar/cafe closed. Waking the extreme elevations, and I am 66 years old, is one thing.
No water, well it was too much.
Both my French Camino (Slow Camino-My Adventure on the Camino de Santiago) and my Portuguese Camino (Portuguese Camino- In Search of the Infinite Moment) resulted in books I published on Amazon. The Portuguese Camino was a cake-walk compared to the Primitivo's extreme topography.
There will be no book this time. No memorable conversations with other pilgrims. No Compostals.
I will now take the train from Lugo and try the easier Ingles.
Terence Callery
Can't like. Sorry for your disappointment. I will look out for your Inglés experience, as I hope to do that in August...
 

alaskadiver

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
May 2017-Camino Primitivo
April 2019-Camino de Invierno
The lack of water is not seasonal. We walked in May and we each always had 3 liters of water. On two occasions we had to get water from locals because there were no fountains and hardly any cafes. Not to mention that in May it was a scorching 70 degrees on many days. I've mentioned this many times just to be countered by people who say it's not a problem. Sure, if you walk fast you get to the water faster. But that's not the case for most people.
The walk gets substantially easier after Lugo, btw. We walked over the Hospitales and I think that was not a bad climb, but the climb out of Pola gains a lot of elevation fast. I agree that the climb out of Salas is brutal. I'm glad we slept in Salas and started that leg at 0630 in the rain while it was still dark.
There are a lot more pilgrims later in the season. I'm not surprised that you didn't see anyone this month. At least you got to see the prettiest part of the Primitivo. Hope you enjoy the Ingles.
 

saara kinnunen

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Via de la Plata (Sevilla-Salamanca 2015) Via de la Plata (Salamanca- Santiago de Compostela 2016)
I can second that you need to plan your water carefully on this route. We ran out of water a couple of times when we walked this past September. The toughest day was when we walked the high route from Campiello to Berducedo via the Hospitales route. Fortunately a local lady was sitting by the trail about 8 kilometers from Berducedo and filled our water bottles for us.
When people ask about the walk, and what it was like, I say imagine being in the gym on a Stairmaster machine and using it for 7 to 8 hours solid on level 8!
In any case both my wife and I completed the route to Santiago in 12 days at 58 and 59.
I can second that you need to plan your water carefully on this route. We ran out of water a couple of times when we walked this past September. The toughest day was when we walked the high route from Campiello to Berducedo via the Hospitales route. Fortunately a local lady was sitting by the trail about 8 kilometers from Berducedo and filled our water bottles for us.
When people ask about the walk, and what it was like, I say imagine being in the gym on a Stairmaster machine and using it for 7 to 8 hours solid on level 8!
In any case both my wife and I completed the route to Santiago in 12 days at 58 and 59.
My worst day on Camino Primitivo last September was the day from Campiello via Hospitales. The weather was hot (+33 C). After 3 hours walk we took our lunch. I sat on my backbag. And when we stand up I found that all my water had run away. My husband had one liter water left. You can imagine how thirsty were that afternoon. We did not find any place to get water before Berducedo. The bar was closed, not any houses near the camino. Ah, how happy we were when we entered the bar and the alberge.
 

jimmyc

Member
Camino(s) past & future
2015
Dont be put off by one persons experiences. I walked the Primitivo last year and I am 78. However I did choose the Pola Allande route as I did not want the 35km walk without accommodation. I took my time and kept within my limitations.
It was a great experience and I highly recommended it.
 

david marquez

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino del Norte ( Irun to Luarca), Camino Primitivo-Fisterra: April-May 2018
Via de la Plata 2019
I walked the Primitivo last April/May. It was stunning and cold abd wet and windy and I have difficulty imagining walking the primitivo in February without full thru-hiking gear.
The top of the big climb was my coldest and most challenging experience in 1100km of walking! The wind was merciless and relentless, and at 3-5C is was frigid!
My suggestion is to try again only wait until after April 1st. There were quite a few albergues, bars, and restaurants en route that had only opened on 1 April.
The climbs and descents are long, and if your footwear isnt properly sorted out you will suffer because of it on the descents. However the views and the natural beauty of the primitivo are not to be missed!
I am 67, and my longest day, 51km was on the primitivo-but after the big climbs and descents
 

Terry Callery

Chi Walker
Camino(s) past & future
"Portuguese Camino - In Search of the Infinite Moment" Amazon/Kindle books authored
"Slow Camino"
As I am from Maine, the cold never bothered me. I have polypropane long johns and alpaca hat and gloves and Frogg Toggs rain/snow water-proof gear.
The one thing I wished I had taken was some water purification tablets.
That would have enabled me to take water with impunity at any of the unmarked
Fountains and from some of the mountains streams. A few packets of cool aide or tang would help to make the purified water more tasty and add some sugar for energy. I actually have a small bottle of Water Purification pills at home which i did
Not take with me, wished I had.
 

Elle Bieling

Elle Bieling, PilgrimageTraveler
Camino(s) past & future
Inglés, '14 '17 Finisterre, '14 '17 '18 Primitivo, '15 '18 Portuguese, '17, '18 San Salvador, '18
@Terry Callery, sorry to hear of your plight. And congrats for realizing your limits. You truly did do the hardest part! I hope you will rest up and enjoy Lugo. I found it to be a fascinating city. And having also done the Ingles, don't be fooled by it! I thought the way from Lugo to SDC was by far easier than the Ingles! After a rest, perhaps you will regain your spirits. Buen Camino and good luck with whatever you choose! If you wish to have a read about my experiences on the Ingles to compare, click here.
 

MaineSally

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Cam Frances SJPDP to Santiago ('17): Finisterre ('17); Muxia ('17)
Camino Portuguese - April ('19)
I am writing this from Lugo, as I have just taken the bus from Fonsagrada where I stopped walking the
Primitivo after 8 days on the Camino. In that entire time, I saw just one other pilgrim.
The thing that makes this such a stunningly beautiful walk, which is the jaw-dropping mythic landscapes, is also the thing that makes it "mas duro" very difficult. There are long 5 kilometer climbs
Out of Salas (500 meter elevation), out of Grandas de Salime (600 meters) and out of Pola de Allende.
This is a rugged country of steep valleys with the Cantebrian mountains always to the south.
My bus left Fonsagrada at dawn with tangerine skys framing the "purple majesty" of the rolling mountain
horizon. The views from the LU-530 highway were breathtaking and expansive.
But hiking an elevation of 600 meters is the same as climbing the stairs of a 150 story building.
Water is a real challenge, I did not see a single fountain marked Potable Water....even though I am sure most were. I got to bar/cafe out of Pola 3 km and "Cerrado" closed. No water refill. Same thing when I got to Acebo, bar/cafe closed. Waking the extreme elevations, and I am 66 years old, is one thing.
No water, well it was too much.
Both my French Camino (Slow Camino-My Adventure on the Camino de Santiago) and my Portuguese Camino (Portuguese Camino- In Search of the Infinite Moment) resulted in books I published on Amazon. The Portuguese Camino was a cake-walk compared to the Primitivo's extreme topography.
There will be no book this time. No memorable conversations with other pilgrims. No Compostals.
I will now take the train from Lugo and try the easier Ingles.
Terence Callery
Hey Terry! I believe you headed out in early February...I think you said the 6th. You had been in my thoughts so your posting was timely. There might still be a book in the making. There's no shame in conveying the truths that created a detour to another unfolding opportunity...like the Ingles. I will be anxious to hear how that goes. Buen Camino, and I hope we can connect this summer.
 

alaskadiver

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
May 2017-Camino Primitivo
April 2019-Camino de Invierno
Dont be put off by one persons experiences. I walked the Primitivo last year and I am 78. However I did choose the Pola Allande route as I did not want the 35km walk without accommodation. I took my time and kept within my limitations.
It was a great experience and I highly recommended it.
The Hospitales route is not 35km. What 35km are you referring to?
 

Roger de Flor

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Hice el camino francés hace 20 años (1999). Ahora quiero cruzar el del norte. (2019)
And then reality hits! Am saying this because I am planning to be on the Primitivo in early May. I know I am pushing things to want to walk the Primitivo. But something urges me on. I did pretty well actually on the Francés a year and a half ago. All of it. With my backpack. Guess I am rambling and wondering whether I have lost my mind. I am 76, a good walker. HMMMMMM. Thanks for posting.
I´m 75 and am drawn to the Primitivo by something I cannot put into adequate words. Did the francés´ in ´99. As a marathoner and a fit specimen, I believe I can do it. Your example motivates me. I´ll also be on the road in May. Quien sabe? Es posible que nos encontramos en Asturias.
 

josephmcclain

Active Member
I´m 75 and am drawn to the Primitivo by something I cannot put into adequate words. Did the francés´ in ´99. As a marathoner and a fit specimen, I believe I can do it. Your example motivates me. I´ll also be on the road in May. Quien sabe? Es posible que nos encontramos en Asturias.
Cu
 

josephmcclain

Active Member
I walked the Primitivo in May in 2016 at the age of 63 and had combined it with the first half of the Norte. Yes, it was a rather tough route, but I made it and have wonderful memories. I think going in winter would be a huge negative for most folks for all the many reasons Terry has mentioned and I sympathize with his disappointment.
Yes, agree. Winter definitely very challenging. May will be enough challenge!
 

Pelegrin

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Primitivo June 2013
SJPP - Logroño June 2014
Ingles July2016
On the Primitivo the fountain just before Puerto del Palo in the Pola de Allande variant is not marked potable but I have drunk several times with no problem.
 

Terry Callery

Chi Walker
Camino(s) past & future
"Portuguese Camino - In Search of the Infinite Moment" Amazon/Kindle books authored
"Slow Camino"
I saw no signs at all on fountains on the Primitivo. On the French and Portuguese routes most fountains are marked either Agua Potable or Agua No Potable.
I am sure that the fountain in a town next to the Church is where peolple
Get their water, but on the Primitivo this seems to be a local knowledge kind of thing. There simply seem to be no plaquards.
Plus my guidebook for the Primitivo was not as good as the Brierley for the French and Portuguese Routes which maps potable fountains.
A few times there was somebody to ask "Agua Boa?"
And so I could get a refill at an unmarked fountain.
That is why I suggest taking water purification tablets -
Plus there were a number of rivers and streams where with tablets you could
Increase your water refill opportunities.
By the way I am now at the swanky Paradore Hotel in Ferrol and start Ingles tomorrow.
 
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Pelegrin

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Primitivo June 2013
SJPP - Logroño June 2014
Ingles July2016
Yes Agua Boa / Auga Boa is said in Galicia and in Asturias from Puerto del Palo to Galicia. The rest of Asturians understand:)
 

Roger de Flor

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Hice el camino francés hace 20 años (1999). Ahora quiero cruzar el del norte. (2019)
Gracias por el mensaje! Qué bien. Cuando salgas? De Oviedo?
Me pongo en camino en San Sebastian. Intento estar en Oviedo más o menos por el 9 de mayo. Con 200 millas a Santiago de allí, cuestan 10 días para llegar.
 

Craig Towers

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino de Santiago
I am writing this from Lugo, as I have just taken the bus from Fonsagrada where I stopped walking the
Primitivo after 8 days on the Camino. In that entire time, I saw just one other pilgrim.
The thing that makes this such a stunningly beautiful walk, which is the jaw-dropping mythic landscapes, is also the thing that makes it "mas duro" very difficult. There are long 5 kilometer climbs
Out of Salas (500 meter elevation), out of Grandas de Salime (600 meters) and out of Pola de Allende.
This is a rugged country of steep valleys with the Cantebrian mountains always to the south.
My bus left Fonsagrada at dawn with tangerine skys framing the "purple majesty" of the rolling mountain
horizon. The views from the LU-530 highway were breathtaking and expansive.
But hiking an elevation of 600 meters is the same as climbing the stairs of a 150 story building.
Water is a real challenge, I did not see a single fountain marked Potable Water....even though I am sure most were. I got to bar/cafe out of Pola 3 km and "Cerrado" closed. No water refill. Same thing when I got to Acebo, bar/cafe closed. Waking the extreme elevations, and I am 66 years old, is one thing.
No water, well it was too much.
Both my French Camino (Slow Camino-My Adventure on the Camino de Santiago) and my Portuguese Camino (Portuguese Camino- In Search of the Infinite Moment) resulted in books I published on Amazon. The Portuguese Camino was a cake-walk compared to the Primitivo's extreme topography.
There will be no book this time. No memorable conversations with other pilgrims. No Compostals.
I will now take the train from Lugo and try the easier Ingles.
Terence Callery
Terrance, pity but I understand. My wife and I walked it two years ago in Autumn. Loved it. Not a lot of Pilgrims but enough. This walk never gets busy. Perhaps give it another shot later in the year. It’s surprises in its beauty.
 

Oravasaari

Helsinki, Finland
Camino(s) past & future
2015 SJpdP to Fistera, 2016 Leon to Fistera, 2017 CF-Salvadore-Primitivo, 2018 CF run/walk
The Primitivo was the only place I've ever run out of water too! I was waliking in March so is was not too warm, but even so the big climbs do get the thirst up a lot.

I always carry a few chlorine dioxide tablets in case I need to be doubly sure of a water source. They came in handy climbing to Hospitales on the Primitivo as I'd forgotten to refill before the climb. I was able to collect some highly questionable water dribblong off a rockface and treat it in the bottle. They are not something you can use regularly though as you need to treat the water so there is residual chlorine left (i.e. all the baddies have been oxidised) so it tastes like drinking swimmingpool water, but ok in an emergency.
 

edandjoan

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
St. Gallen to Muxia
2012-2018
(Ed) I have read numerous threads and talked with a number of people who seem to struggle with obtaining water during the day on their walks. I make the following suggestion not to start a debate (because people will debate this choice just like the hiking boots/trail running shoes) but simply to offer up a possible solution. Consider carrying a water bladder. We carry them and it's one less thing we have to concern ourselves with during our walks. Water can indeed be heavy, especially if one carries a full bladder. But depending on the length of a given day's walk, we have found a full container is not frequently necessary. We factor in heat and distance and fill accordingly. And having the hose at the ready is very convenient and tends to help us stay hydrated. Rare is the time we have to refill during the day. I realize that on a path such as the CF there are Cafe Bars every 5k or so therefore refilling bottles isn't a problem, but not every trail is like that (as you experienced). The water bladder is just easy. FWIW.
 
A water bladder is not the only solution - I've walked the Norte in September when temps were above 30C - I carried 2x0.6L SIGG bottles in pockets on the outside of my pack and typically 1 but occasionally 2 1.5L plastic bottles - this is due to there being few available sources of water and passing by when the supermarket was closed for lunch and there were no other shops open (and bars can be pretty expensive)
 

jennysa

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino F 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 C Aragones 2012, 2017 2018 Via Francigena 2016 & 17 Primitivo 2018
I walked the Primitivo in June last year and I loved it so much, I am walking it again in May this year. And I am 74! Yes, it is mountainous but it is manageable - even the Hospitales Route was fantastic, apart from the terrible mud.
 

zzotte

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
2012 Camino Frances, 2014 Lourdes to SDC, 2016 Camino del Norte
I’m sorry you had to stop, perhaps this is the wrong time of the year to crossover the Primitivo this is after all winter, besides phisical endurance the most important is mental endurance it takes it’s toll. Try again during late spring early summer, do some planning ahead and even find a friend to go with, it’s all good :)

Zzotte
 

josephine upton

Keep on walking
Camino(s) past & future
camino de frances, finesterre 2002
norte ,primitivo 2015
Portuguese 2018/9
2019 Norte!?
As I am from Maine, the cold never bothered me. I have polypropane long johns and alpaca hat and gloves and Frogg Toggs rain/snow water-proof gear.
The one thing I wished I had taken was some water purification tablets.
That would have enabled me to take water with impunity at any of the unmarked
Fountains and from some of the mountains streams. A few packets of cool aide or tang would help to make the purified water more tasty and add some sugar for energy. I actually have a small bottle of Water Purification pills at home which i did
Not take with me, wished I had.
I carried the smallest of camping stove - not enough to cook on but you could boil a cup of water.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (July 2016), Primitivo (July 2018), Portuguese (March 2019)
And then reality hits! Am saying this because I am planning to be on the Primitivo in early May. I know I am pushing things to want to walk the Primitivo. But something urges me on. I did pretty well actually on the Francés a year and a half ago. All of it. With my backpack. Guess I am rambling and wondering whether I have lost my mind. I am 76, a good walker. HMMMMMM. Thanks for posting.
You’ve not lost your mind. It’s a beautiful route and I’m sure well within your compass. Take your time, enjoy the company and the glorious scenery and you’ll find yourself In Santiago sooner than you imagine. Don’t underestimate the climbs, up and down but don’t over worry. They’re all perfectly manageable at a careful, steady pace.

Burn Camino
 
Camino(s) past & future
Del Norte from Irun to Santander, Primitivo from Oviedo to Frances to Santiago September 2016
I am writing this from Lugo, as I have just taken the bus from Fonsagrada where I stopped walking the
Primitivo after 8 days on the Camino. In that entire time, I saw just one other pilgrim.
The thing that makes this such a stunningly beautiful walk, which is the jaw-dropping mythic landscapes, is also the thing that makes it "mas duro" very difficult. There are long 5 kilometer climbs
Out of Salas (500 meter elevation), out of Grandas de Salime (600 meters) and out of Pola de Allende.
This is a rugged country of steep valleys with the Cantebrian mountains always to the south.
My bus left Fonsagrada at dawn with tangerine skys framing the "purple majesty" of the rolling mountain
horizon. The views from the LU-530 highway were breathtaking and expansive.
But hiking an elevation of 600 meters is the same as climbing the stairs of a 150 story building.
Water is a real challenge, I did not see a single fountain marked Potable Water....even though I am sure most were. I got to bar/cafe out of Pola 3 km and "Cerrado" closed. No water refill. Same thing when I got to Acebo, bar/cafe closed. Waking the extreme elevations, and I am 66 years old, is one thing.
No water, well it was too much.
Both my French Camino (Slow Camino-My Adventure on the Camino de Santiago) and my Portuguese Camino (Portuguese Camino- In Search of the Infinite Moment) resulted in books I published on Amazon. The Portuguese Camino was a cake-walk compared to the Primitivo's extreme topography.
There will be no book this time. No memorable conversations with other pilgrims. No Compostals.
I will now take the train from Lugo and try the easier Ingles.
Terence Callery
Sorry to hear it. My daughter and I did the Norte to Primitivo to Santiago in 2016 when I was 72. But I am use to doing 1000 to 1500 m per day here in the Mountains of Maine and New Hampshire. At my age training is everything. Also carry a simple Sawyer Star water filter.
 

Terry Callery

Chi Walker
Camino(s) past & future
"Portuguese Camino - In Search of the Infinite Moment" Amazon/Kindle books authored
"Slow Camino"
I like the idea of a Sawyer Star water filter.
Update on my progress is that I am now in Mason do Vento staying at
The Hotel Canaima where I just ate the best Baccalau.
The Camino Ingles has been a lot easier for me and I am in good spirits.
I had a young 22 year old charismatic Italian pilgrim who spoke excellent English to walk with today who I had lunch with. Having researched two Camino books, I gave him a history lesson.
These Caminos keep throwing curves at me, my Brierley guide book did not
Have the update of the route change (two years ago) to avoid the steep 5 kilometers before Hospital de Bruma. Brierley suggest calling Hotel Canaima from Vilacoba from Cafe Julia to avoid the steep climb and a brutal 28 kilometer day.
The route however no longer goes by Cafe Julia, so instead of going off the current Camino route (or walking 28 km) I was forced to grab a taxi to Mason do Vento.
Now just 44 km from Santiago, but likely will take my time and take 3 days.
Thomas Merton " Take more time, cover less ground.
Terence Callery
 

Dominick

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Via De La Plata 2018, Finisterre 2018,
And then reality hits! Am saying this because I am planning to be on the Primitivo in early May. I know I am pushing things to want to walk the Primitivo. But something urges me on. I did pretty well actually on the Francés a year and a half ago. All of it. With my backpack. Guess I am rambling and wondering whether I have lost my mind. I am 76, a good walker. HMMMMMM. Thanks for posting.
Good Luck - Joseph. Ultreia
 

Robert Nystrom

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2016, SJPP-Santiago),Portuguese Central (2017, Lisboa-Santiago),Camino Primitivo (2018)
I am writing this from Lugo, as I have just taken the bus from Fonsagrada where I stopped walking the
Primitivo after 8 days on the Camino. In that entire time, I saw just one other pilgrim.
The thing that makes this such a stunningly beautiful walk, which is the jaw-dropping mythic landscapes, is also the thing that makes it "mas duro" very difficult. There are long 5 kilometer climbs
Out of Salas (500 meter elevation), out of Grandas de Salime (600 meters) and out of Pola de Allende.
This is a rugged country of steep valleys with the Cantebrian mountains always to the south.
My bus left Fonsagrada at dawn with tangerine skys framing the "purple majesty" of the rolling mountain
horizon. The views from the LU-530 highway were breathtaking and expansive.
But hiking an elevation of 600 meters is the same as climbing the stairs of a 150 story building.
Water is a real challenge, I did not see a single fountain marked Potable Water....even though I am sure most were. I got to bar/cafe out of Pola 3 km and "Cerrado" closed. No water refill. Same thing when I got to Acebo, bar/cafe closed. Waking the extreme elevations, and I am 66 years old, is one thing.
No water, well it was too much.
Both my French Camino (Slow Camino-My Adventure on the Camino de Santiago) and my Portuguese Camino (Portuguese Camino- In Search of the Infinite Moment) resulted in books I published on Amazon. The Portuguese Camino was a cake-walk compared to the Primitivo's extreme topography.
There will be no book this time. No memorable conversations with other pilgrims. No Compostals.
I will now take the train from Lugo and try the easier Ingles.
Terence Callery
I don’t see it as ‘giving up’ but applying what our Caminos have taught us about going with the flow, adapting, changing expectations. I too have done three Caminos. French, well that was magical! Portugués from Lisbon was a lesson in patience & adjusting - after a foot injury at Tomar it had me leaving route for over a week of healing on the coast in Nazare, then skipping to Porto for more rehab and ultimately having to accept Tui to Santiago was all my foot could endure. Last year I was going to do the Primitivo but my timing was off with weeks prior of Galatian rains (ankle deep mud being reported) so I opted for a Santiago- Muxia - Finesterre - Santiago loop. Afterwards I bused and visited the two starts of the Ingles (Ferrol & A Coruna). I’m so much more comfortable now accepting ‘what is’ and coming to reframe my Camino adventures to what ‘actually’ unfolds. Glad that you took care of yourself, ‘listened’ to your body and inner being...and wish you a Buen Camino - wherever that may take you!
 
Camino(s) past & future
Cycling the camino de Santiago "2013"
Yes I am certain that closures and the total lack of other pilgrims are seasonal.
I did get water at some of the fountains, only when there was a local who assured
Me that it was "aqua boa".
Two stories to tell.
Out of Grado the Camino follows a river for some time. Flooding had made it appear as if the route I was walking dead ended into the river.
Had I walked just another 20 meters, I would have seen that the Camino route
Curved back along the river bank.
I was just about to back track to see where I might have lost the trail, when only the second pilgrim I encountered in 8 days, appeared walking in the reverse direction. A French woman - like an angel sent to guide me! I mean at the very minute, I needed direction. It was miraculous kind of synchronicity.

The other story was after the grueling day out of Grandas with no water and places closed and so discouraged, I had a big meal at a terrific Pulpo Family Restaurant in Fonsagrada. Waiting for my table upstairs, a bagpiper band comes into the place. Three pipers and two drums and a penny flute.
Remember Galica has strong Celtic roots. Upstairs eating the best fresh octopus ever, swimming in extra virgin olive oil and dusted with Spanish paprika, they start singing downstairs in the bar.
Big platters of unctuous slices of pork meat and plates of sausages and a big swordfish steak are being served to the large family's enjoying their Satuday meal together. To be so alone on the Camino and then to be in this warm Galician family celebration of life, well it was like the whole day just turned on a dime.
Extreme ups and downs, a Camino metaphors.
Terry Callery
It's wonderful how our prayers (even when we are unaware we are even saying them) are answered when on the Camino. We had this happen all the time when we rode the Camino Frances route in 2013.

I have made a note of the lack of water available on this route as we are hoping to do the Norte coupled with the Primitivo sometime this year. Although we will be on our bikes we still need to be aware that water soon goes.
 

josephmcclain

Active Member
You’ve not lost your mind. It’s a beautiful route and I’m sure well within your compass. Take your time, enjoy the company and the glorious scenery and you’ll find yourself In Santiago sooner than you imagine. Don’t underestimate the climbs, up and down but don’t over worry. They’re all perfectly manageable at a careful, steady pace.

Burn Camino
Thanks for the encouragement!
 

josephmcclain

Active Member
You’ve not lost your mind. It’s a beautiful route and I’m sure well within your compass. Take your time, enjoy the company and the glorious scenery and you’ll find yourself In Santiago sooner than you imagine. Don’t underestimate the climbs, up and down but don’t over worry. They’re all perfectly manageable at a careful, steady pace.

Burn Camino
Thanks. Much appreciated. Will give it my best!
 

cbacino

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino del Norte - Primitivo (2018)
Via Francigena (2017)
Appalachian Trail (2016)
And then reality hits! Am saying this because I am planning to be on the Primitivo in early May. I know I am pushing things to want to walk the Primitivo. But something urges me on. I did pretty well actually on the Francés a year and a half ago. All of it. With my backpack. Guess I am rambling and wondering whether I have lost my mind. I am 76, a good walker. HMMMMMM. Thanks for posting.
Go for it. I hiked it late June/early July 2018 and enjoyed it. No problems with water. Enjoyed it more than the Norte (I cut off at Oviedo) to get away from the coastal tourist towns) because of fewer people. I did the Via Francigena, Canterbury to Rome in 2017 and didn’t see another hiker the first 600 miles. PS. I’m 67. Enjoy.
 

Camino Chris

One step forward...
Camino(s) past & future
Frances 2015;
Norte/Primitivo 2016;
Frances 2017;
Le Puy 2018;
Portuguese/FishermanTr. 2019
Go for it. I hiked it late June/early July 2018 and enjoyed it. No problems with water. Enjoyed it more than the Norte (I cut off at Oviedo) to get away from the coastal tourist towns) because of fewer people. I did the Via Francigena, Canterbury to Rome in 2017 and didn’t see another hiker the first 600 miles. PS. I’m 67. Enjoy.
What month did you do the Via? I am considering it or the Way of St. Francis next year and must choose. I would not start from St. Bernard's Pass though.
 

cbacino

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino del Norte - Primitivo (2018)
Via Francigena (2017)
Appalachian Trail (2016)
What month did you do the Via? I am considering it or the Way of St. Francis next year and must choose. I would not start from St. Bernard's Pass though.
I left Canterbury Aug 8 to avoid hiking in Italy in the summer (it does get hot). People said to be over Saint Bernard Pass by mid-September or so because of snow. I crossed abt September 6 and 3 days later it snowed for a week. It’s best to be finished with Italy before November because winter rains start about that time unless you don’t mind walking in downpour for days. Got to Rome on October 3.
 

Cary

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
del Norte/Primitivo May 2019
And then reality hits! Am saying this because I am planning to be on the Primitivo in early May. I know I am pushing things to want to walk the Primitivo. But something urges me on. I did pretty well actually on the Francés a year and a half ago. All of it. With my backpack. Guess I am rambling and wondering whether I have lost my mind. I am 76, a good walker. HMMMMMM. Thanks for posting.
I too will be on the Primitivo mear the end of May I am estimating. Hope to see you out there!
 

josephmcclain

Active Member
Go for it. I hiked it late June/early July 2018 and enjoyed it. No problems with water. Enjoyed it more than the Norte (I cut off at Oviedo) to get away from the coastal tourist towns) because of fewer people. I did the Via Francigena, Canterbury to Rome in 2017 and didn’t see another hiker the first 600 miles. PS. I’m 67. Enjoy.
WOW...the Via Francigena fascinates me. Was it a good experience for you?
 

Manicka

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Lisboa-Santiago-Muxia-Finisterre in 2018.
And then reality hits! Am saying this because I am planning to be on the Primitivo in early May. I know I am pushing things to want to walk the Primitivo. But something urges me on. I did pretty well actually on the Francés a year and a half ago. All of it. With my backpack. Guess I am rambling and wondering whether I have lost my mind. I am 76, a good walker. HMMMMMM. Thanks for posting.
Thanks, Joseph. I plan to go Primitivo last week of May/June after walking The Norte from Santander. I am only 66, but your "pushing things" is encouraging me not to give up.
 

Dinah Shaw

Volcano Climber
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Norte and Frances Sept 6 - Oct 11, 2016
I am writing this from Lugo, as I have just taken the bus from Fonsagrada where I stopped walking the
Primitivo after 8 days on the Camino. In that entire time, I saw just one other pilgrim.
The thing that makes this such a stunningly beautiful walk, which is the jaw-dropping mythic landscapes, is also the thing that makes it "mas duro" very difficult. There are long 5 kilometer climbs
Out of Salas (500 meter elevation), out of Grandas de Salime (600 meters) and out of Pola de Allende.
This is a rugged country of steep valleys with the Cantebrian mountains always to the south.
My bus left Fonsagrada at dawn with tangerine skys framing the "purple majesty" of the rolling mountain
horizon. The views from the LU-530 highway were breathtaking and expansive.
But hiking an elevation of 600 meters is the same as climbing the stairs of a 150 story building.
Water is a real challenge, I did not see a single fountain marked Potable Water....even though I am sure most were. I got to bar/cafe out of Pola 3 km and "Cerrado" closed. No water refill. Same thing when I got to Acebo, bar/cafe closed. Waking the extreme elevations, and I am 66 years old, is one thing.
No water, well it was too much.
Both my French Camino (Slow Camino-My Adventure on the Camino de Santiago) and my Portuguese Camino (Portuguese Camino- In Search of the Infinite Moment) resulted in books I published on Amazon. The Portuguese Camino was a cake-walk compared to the Primitivo's extreme topography.
There will be no book this time. No memorable conversations with other pilgrims. No Compostals.
I will now take the train from Lugo and try the easier Ingles.
Terence Callery
So sorry to hear that. That is muy triste. I am really looking forward to the Primitivo this fall but I live at 5000 ft and climb volcanoes and high mountains regularly I loved the Norte and thought it was easy at 72
 

Beeman

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Primitivo,2017,Argonne and salvador,sept.2019
I am writing this from Lugo, as I have just taken the bus from Fonsagrada where I stopped walking the
Primitivo after 8 days on the Camino. In that entire time, I saw just one other pilgrim.
The thing that makes this such a stunningly beautiful walk, which is the jaw-dropping mythic landscapes, is also the thing that makes it "mas duro" very difficult. There are long 5 kilometer climbs
Out of Salas (500 meter elevation), out of Grandas de Salime (600 meters) and out of Pola de Allende.
This is a rugged country of steep valleys with the Cantebrian mountains always to the south.
My bus left Fonsagrada at dawn with tangerine skys framing the "purple majesty" of the rolling mountain
horizon. The views from the LU-530 highway were breathtaking and expansive.
But hiking an elevation of 600 meters is the same as climbing the stairs of a 150 story building.
Water is a real challenge, I did not see a single fountain marked Potable Water....even though I am sure most were. I got to bar/cafe out of Pola 3 km and "Cerrado" closed. No water refill. Same thing when I got to Acebo, bar/cafe closed. Waking the extreme elevations, and I am 66 years old, is one thing.
No water, well it was too much.
Both my French Camino (Slow Camino-My Adventure on the Camino de Santiago) and my Portuguese Camino (Portuguese Camino- In Search of the Infinite Moment) resulted in books I published on Amazon. The Portuguese Camino was a cake-walk compared to the Primitivo's extreme topography.
There will be no book this time. No memorable conversations with other pilgrims. No Compostals.
I will now take the train from Lugo and try the easier Ingles.
Terence Callery
I am sorry that you had such a bad time. Perhaps it was the time of year. I walked it at age 73 in 17 and had. a great time. I know there were a few hills,but nothing too difficult. Maybe another time of year would make it easier. i cannot remember ever being short of water. Are you sure that we walked the same camino?
 

cbacino

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino del Norte - Primitivo (2018)
Via Francigena (2017)
Appalachian Trail (2016)
WOW...the Via Francigena fascinates me. Was it a good experience for you?
Yes, I thoroughly enjoyed it. I had hiked the Appalachian Trail the previous year and wanted to do another long hike. The Via in France and Switzerland doesn’t have the pilgrim Albergue infrastructure of the Camino so I tented some nights. Italy has adequate pilgrim accommodations. It was a solitary hike for me except for the last few hundred miles, but I enjoyed it that way; all my socializing was with locals, who were so nice. A great walk. Plan around the weather.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Autumn (2015) and Spring (2019)
We walked over the Hospitales and I think that was not a bad climb, but the climb out of Pola gains a lot of elevation fast. I agree that the climb out of Salas is brutal. I'm glad we slept in Salas and started that leg at 0630 in the rain while it was still dark.
This is interesting to me since my husband and I plan to walk the Primitivo starting on May 14th and taking 18 days. That's an average of 18 km/day but there are days which are necessarily longer than the average. The Hospitales route sounds like the easier way to go compared with the Pola route unless the weather is bad, although at least there is that town of Pola where we could stop and not have to plug along without infrastrure or water. How easy would it be to take a bus along some of those very difficult portions? Are they few and far between? On this particular Camino we will forgive ourselves for not being the "purists" that we were on the Camino Frances in 2015 when we never took a bus or had bags transported and took seven weeks. We were three years younger then. Now we are 80 and 73 and (possibly) crazy???!!!
 
Last edited:
Camino(s) past & future
I do not know which one yet (May 2019).
I am writing this from Lugo, as I have just taken the bus from Fonsagrada where I stopped walking the
Primitivo after 8 days on the Camino. In that entire time, I saw just one other pilgrim.
The thing that makes this such a stunningly beautiful walk, which is the jaw-dropping mythic landscapes, is also the thing that makes it "mas duro" very difficult. There are long 5 kilometer climbs
Out of Salas (500 meter elevation), out of Grandas de Salime (600 meters) and out of Pola de Allende.
This is a rugged country of steep valleys with the Cantebrian mountains always to the south.
My bus left Fonsagrada at dawn with tangerine skys framing the "purple majesty" of the rolling mountain
horizon. The views from the LU-530 highway were breathtaking and expansive.
But hiking an elevation of 600 meters is the same as climbing the stairs of a 150 story building.
Water is a real challenge, I did not see a single fountain marked Potable Water....even though I am sure most were. I got to bar/cafe out of Pola 3 km and "Cerrado" closed. No water refill. Same thing when I got to Acebo, bar/cafe closed. Waking the extreme elevations, and I am 66 years old, is one thing.
No water, well it was too much.
Both my French Camino (Slow Camino-My Adventure on the Camino de Santiago) and my Portuguese Camino (Portuguese Camino- In Search of the Infinite Moment) resulted in books I published on Amazon. The Portuguese Camino was a cake-walk compared to the Primitivo's extreme topography.
There will be no book this time. No memorable conversations with other pilgrims. No Compostals.
I will now take the train from Lugo and try the easier Ingles.
Terence Callery
Interesting report. I will look for your books. Janine
 

Beeman

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Primitivo,2017,Argonne and salvador,sept.2019
Oh, I am sorry that u had to stop, but applaud your ability to self care. As a 70 yr old female I am ambivalent about tacking this walk. At this moment I have planned to walk from Madrid to leon. bus it to Oviedo and then walk some more in mid sept to mid oct. As has been noted so many times this is not an endurance contest. Thanks so much for your courage and humility
I walked this in 17 and was 73. It has some ups and downs,but nothing that is not doable for a reasonably fit person. It is very beautifful,and I was never short of water. But do take a light sleeping bag-you will need it. Please give it a try!
 
Camino(s) past & future
I do not know which one yet (May 2019).
I walked this in 17 and was 73. It has some ups and downs,but nothing that is not doable for a reasonably fit person. It is very beautifful,and I was never short of water. But do take a light sleeping bag-you will need it. Please give it a try!
Do you mention the sleeping bag because you had to sleep outside sometimes?
 

alaskadiver

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
May 2017-Camino Primitivo
April 2019-Camino de Invierno
This is interesting to me since my husband and I plan to walk the Primitivo starting on May 14th and taking 18 days. That's an average of 18 km/day but there are days which are necessarily longer than the average. The Hospitales route sounds like the easier way to go compared with the Pola route unless the weather is bad, although at least there is that town of Pola where we could stop and not have to plug along without infrastrure or water. How easy would it be to take a bus along some of those very difficult portions? Are they few and far between? On this particular Camino we will forgive ourselves for not being the "purists" that we were on the Camino Frances in 2015 when we never took a bus or had bags transported and took seven weeks. We were three years younger then. Now we are 80 and 73 and (possibly) crazy???!!!
Along the Hospitales there is no bus. But after going over it, when you get to the highway crossing, there is a sign for a taxi. You can call them and they will take you the rest of the way to the next town (Berducedo) where the albergues are. I think it's another 9-10km of walking from there as I recall. There's bus service from Fonsagrada to Lugo. I didn't really notice any other bus service, but I wasn't looking.
 

Beeman

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Primitivo,2017,Argonne and salvador,sept.2019
Do you mention the sleeping bag because you had to sleep outside sometimes?
Jaininedawn. I mentioned a sleeping bag because I did not take on in early September 2017. It was 40C. In Madrid,so I thought a silk liner would suffice. I t never got over 65F,and I was cold many nights. I would have to get out of my liner,and in the dark,find some clothes,and get back in,all the time trying to be quiet. I never saw any blankets offered,except in BIOMORTO,where you could rent a nice comforter for 3 euros. Meanwhile,my German companions seemed to be snugged down in their sleeping bags. Asturias and Galicia are green and lush and have
Do you mention the sleeping bag because you had to sleep outside sometimes?
Jaininedawn, I walked this Camino in September of 17.It was 40+C. In Madrid,so I thought it would be hot on the Primitivo. It never got over 65 F. and I took a silk liner only. In the night,I would get cold and have to fumble around in the night,all the time watching others snug in their sleeping bags. Asturias and Galicia have Seattle spring weather all summer long. I never saw a blanket except a rental in Biomorto,and would strongly suggest taking a sleeping bag. Of course. This decision is yours to make. Also I recommend taking the Camino Verde out of Lugo. More importantly BUEN CAMINO
 
I am writing this from Lugo, as I have just taken the bus from Fonsagrada where I stopped walking the
Primitivo after 8 days on the Camino. In that entire time, I saw just one other pilgrim.
The thing that makes this such a stunningly beautiful walk, which is the jaw-dropping mythic landscapes, is also the thing that makes it "mas duro" very difficult. There are long 5 kilometer climbs
Out of Salas (500 meter elevation), out of Grandas de Salime (600 meters) and out of Pola de Allende.
This is a rugged country of steep valleys with the Cantebrian mountains always to the south.
My bus left Fonsagrada at dawn with tangerine skys framing the "purple majesty" of the rolling mountain
horizon. The views from the LU-530 highway were breathtaking and expansive.
But hiking an elevation of 600 meters is the same as climbing the stairs of a 150 story building.
Water is a real challenge, I did not see a single fountain marked Potable Water....even though I am sure most were. I got to bar/cafe out of Pola 3 km and "Cerrado" closed. No water refill. Same thing when I got to Acebo, bar/cafe closed. Waking the extreme elevations, and I am 66 years old, is one thing.
No water, well it was too much.
Both my French Camino (Slow Camino-My Adventure on the Camino de Santiago) and my Portuguese Camino (Portuguese Camino- In Search of the Infinite Moment) resulted in books I published on Amazon. The Portuguese Camino was a cake-walk compared to the Primitivo's extreme topography.
There will be no book this time. No memorable conversations with other pilgrims. No Compostals.
I will now take the train from Lugo and try the easier Ingles.
Terence Callery
Oh Terry, I'm so very, very sorry to hear about your troubles but applaud you not giving up on the Camino totally. Do enjoy your Ingles route.
 

Roy Howard

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
I walked Camino Frances in 2015 and plan to walk Camino Primitivo in 2017
So
I am writing this from Lugo, as I have just taken the bus from Fonsagrada where I stopped walking the
Primitivo after 8 days on the Camino. In that entire time, I saw just one other pilgrim.
The thing that makes this such a stunningly beautiful walk, which is the jaw-dropping mythic landscapes, is also the thing that makes it "mas duro" very difficult. There are long 5 kilometer climbs
Out of Salas (500 meter elevation), out of Grandas de Salime (600 meters) and out of Pola de Allende.
This is a rugged country of steep valleys with the Cantebrian mountains always to the south.
My bus left Fonsagrada at dawn with tangerine skys framing the "purple majesty" of the rolling mountain
horizon. The views from the LU-530 highway were breathtaking and expansive.
But hiking an elevation of 600 meters is the same as climbing the stairs of a 150 story building.
Water is a real challenge, I did not see a single fountain marked Potable Water....even though I am sure most were. I got to bar/cafe out of Pola 3 km and "Cerrado" closed. No water refill. Same thing when I got to Acebo, bar/cafe closed. Waking the extreme elevations, and I am 66 years old, is one thing.
No water, well it was too much.
Both my French Camino (Slow Camino-My Adventure on the Camino de Santiago) and my Portuguese Camino (Portuguese Camino- In Search of the Infinite Moment) resulted in books I published on Amazon. The Portuguese Camino was a cake-walk compared to the Primitivo's extreme topography.
There will be no book this time. No memorable conversations with other pilgrims. No Compostals.
I will now take the train from Lugo and try the easier Ingles.
Terence Callery
So sorry you had that experience. I had a different walk in 2017 during June.
 

Beeman

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Primitivo,2017,Argonne and salvador,sept.2019
Terry, it would seem from your wordy diatribe that the Primitivo is not for you. Maybe we can all leave it at that. There are a multitude of other Caminos to walk,that a person could spend a lifetime doing them. I hope that you find joy on the Ingles. BUEN CAMINO. concerning others wanting to walk the primitivo; I found that it had some ups and downs,but was very beautiful and manageable. It is not the Frances,which is one reason that I walked it. I met 20 to 30 people a day,which was perfect for Me. What you can walk,or what you like are completely up to you. Weight all of the comments about the Primitivo and decide for yourself,and in the end,that is what we always do. If you have the time,do the Salvador first and you will find the Primitivo a piece of cake.
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
Ok, is everyone suffering from cabin fever? Why the snarkiness? I'm tempted to delete several posts here but will leave them up for the time being. Can we all agree that people have different levels of fitness, that the level of fitness is one of the things that determines whether you think a camino or a stage is easy or hard (but of course weather and mental state are hugely important too)? I personally think it is helpful to others to hear the range of opinions on the difficulty question, but the only way it can really help you make a decision is to know more about your own abilities and how you compare to the person who is saying it was hard or easy.

Anyway, time to be more civil and considerate of others' feelings. Buen camino, Laurie
 

Beeman

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Primitivo,2017,Argonne and salvador,sept.2019
Ok, is everyone suffering from cabin fever? Why the snarkiness? I'm tempted to delete several posts here but will leave them up for the time being. Can we all agree that people have different levels of fitness, that the level of fitness is one of the things that determines whether you think a camino or a stage is easy or hard (but of course weather and mental state are hugely important too)? I personally think it is helpful to others to hear the range of opinions on the difficulty question, but the only way it can really help you make a decision is to know more about your own abilities and how you compare to the person who is saying it was hard or easy.

Anyway, time to be more civil and considerate of others' feelings. Buen camino, Laurie
Lauri. Your post is noted. I was refering to potential walkers of the primitivo when I was saying that they have to decide what they can do and what they want from their camino. I only wish for them to view all of the posts equally. I hope that we agree that we are part of a grand experience! Lauri,thanks again for your impute,and I am suffering from cabin fever! Bruce
 

backpack45

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Vezelay (2017, in progress); Primitivo & Norte; Geneva/LePuy; Arles; Portuguese; Francés + more
My husband (then 80, me 75) walked the Camino Primitivo in May 2016, and after that finished the Norte, which we had begun in 2015. We had read that this route would be harder than the Frances (and many of the other routes), but we had completed several others so thought it would go well--and it did. I agree there are some long, rather steep climbs, but IMO, it's still just one step after another. Like a turtle, I go slow, but steady, and we don't worry about "stages" suggested in guidebooks, we set our own pace and destinations. Friends who live in the Oviedo area did the Primitivo route in the winter and encountered snow (which they were prepared for because they knew things would be closed, etc.) So, I would not consider this a winter route for most people. We didn't think it wise to take the Hospitalero route because of the lack of accommodations along the way, but note that the Pola de Allende route does ascend to the high point to meet with the Hospitalero at the end of the split. The Primitivo is much less busy that the Frances, but we saw a few people each day. Almost all were from countries other than the U.S> and almost all were carrying sleeping bags (as we always do) in part because many had started from their own countries months before. (I am the author of Healing Miles: Gifts from the Camino Norte and Primitivo.)
 

Paco Camino

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances Portugese Norte Ingles Catalan One-Two Via Augusta La Plata Sanabres Levante Invierno Madrid
I am writing this from Lugo, as I have just taken the bus from Fonsagrada where I stopped walking the
Primitivo after 8 days on the Camino. In that entire time, I saw just one other pilgrim.
The thing that makes this such a stunningly beautiful walk, which is the jaw-dropping mythic landscapes, is also the thing that makes it "mas duro" very difficult. There are long 5 kilometer climbs
Out of Salas (500 meter elevation), out of Grandas de Salime (600 meters) and out of Pola de Allende.
This is a rugged country of steep valleys with the Cantebrian mountains always to the south.
My bus left Fonsagrada at dawn with tangerine skys framing the "purple majesty" of the rolling mountain
horizon. The views from the LU-530 highway were breathtaking and expansive.
But hiking an elevation of 600 meters is the same as climbing the stairs of a 150 story building.
Water is a real challenge, I did not see a single fountain marked Potable Water....even though I am sure most were. I got to bar/cafe out of Pola 3 km and "Cerrado" closed. No water refill. Same thing when I got to Acebo, bar/cafe closed. Waking the extreme elevations, and I am 66 years old, is one thing.
No water, well it was too much.
Both my French Camino (Slow Camino-My Adventure on the Camino de Santiago) and my Portuguese Camino (Portuguese Camino- In Search of the Infinite Moment) resulted in books I published on Amazon. The Portuguese Camino was a cake-walk compared to the Primitivo's extreme topography.
There will be no book this time. No memorable conversations with other pilgrims. No Compostals.
I will now take the train from Lugo and try the easier Ingles.
Terence Callery
Hi Terry,
When did you walk it? What time of year?
Frank
 

danielle aird

La vie est belle
Camino(s) past & future
May (2018); September (2018); May (2019)
I am writing this from Lugo, as I have just taken the bus from Fonsagrada where I stopped walking the
Primitivo after 8 days on the Camino. In that entire time, I saw just one other pilgrim.
The thing that makes this such a stunningly beautiful walk, which is the jaw-dropping mythic landscapes, is also the thing that makes it "mas duro" very difficult. There are long 5 kilometer climbs
Out of Salas (500 meter elevation), out of Grandas de Salime (600 meters) and out of Pola de Allende.
This is a rugged country of steep valleys with the Cantebrian mountains always to the south.
My bus left Fonsagrada at dawn with tangerine skys framing the "purple majesty" of the rolling mountain
horizon. The views from the LU-530 highway were breathtaking and expansive.
But hiking an elevation of 600 meters is the same as climbing the stairs of a 150 story building.
Water is a real challenge, I did not see a single fountain marked Potable Water....even though I am sure most were. I got to bar/cafe out of Pola 3 km and "Cerrado" closed. No water refill. Same thing when I got to Acebo, bar/cafe closed. Waking the extreme elevations, and I am 66 years old, is one thing.
No water, well it was too much.
Both my French Camino (Slow Camino-My Adventure on the Camino de Santiago) and my Portuguese Camino (Portuguese Camino- In Search of the Infinite Moment) resulted in books I published on Amazon. The Portuguese Camino was a cake-walk compared to the Primitivo's extreme topography.
There will be no book this time. No memorable conversations with other pilgrims. No Compostals.
I will now take the train from Lugo and try the easier Ingles.
Terence Callery
It takes courage to abandon a project dear to our heart. I admire that. When I was on the Camino in May, I always drank from the fountains because one villager told me that although it said not purified (I don't remember the actual wording), he was taking it and said it was fine. However, several young pilgrims became terribly ill between Burgos and Leon. I am going back this May and this time, I might take one of the personal travel purifying water bottles. Also, I imagine if the cafes were closed, maybe the villages were deserted; they so often are. But if not, I would knock at a door. People are so kind. I talked to quite a few villagers. One old fellow lived right by the trail into the village and he said. "You know, I don't mind the pilgrims. I like to watch them go by." It occurred to me then that it must be so annoying to some of the residents when some pilgrims hike out of the albergue, sometimes talking loudly and with their poles hitting the pavement at every step, early in the morning, disturbing the villagers' sleep. Funny, that had not occurred to me before (and I have been guilty of talking loud on the camino in the villages early in the morning) but since I live in a university town, right beside campus, I know how awful it can be when revellers pass by at 3 am... I am more careful now. Anyway, we also met a lovely couple who filled a bag with figs for us. And I gave a tiny Canadian flag pin to the old fellow who liked watching the pilgrims and gave us a tour of his ancient home. He said he would never take it off :)
 

Roy Howard

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
I walked Camino Frances in 2015 and plan to walk Camino Primitivo in 2017
Oh, I am sorry that u had to stop, but applaud your ability to self care. As a 70 yr old female I am ambivalent about tacking this walk. At this moment I have planned to walk from Madrid to leon. bus it to Oviedo and then walk some more in mid sept to mid oct. As has been noted so many times this is not an endurance contest. Thanks so much for your courage and humility
This is exactly what I did - from Ovideo - in June 2017. It was marvelous in every good way. Met many people and have some lasting Camino friends.
 

El Cascayal

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Primitivo (2019)
I can second that you need to plan your water carefully on this route. We ran out of water a couple of times when we walked this past September. The toughest day was when we walked the high route from Campiello to Berducedo via the Hospitales route. Fortunately a local lady was sitting by the trail about 8 kilometers from Berducedo and filled our water bottles for us.
When people ask about the walk, and what it was like, I say imagine being in the gym on a Stairmaster machine and using it for 7 to 8 hours solid on level 8!
In any case both my wife and I completed the route to Santiago in 12 days at 58 and 59.
Hi to All who have previously walked the Primitivo. I realize there are infinite individual experiences and recommendations from each person who has walked this route, yet this Stairmaster allegory is making me second and third guess myself.
I am planning on walking the Primitivo in mid May, alone and will be 65 at the time. I am reasonably fit and walk 10 miles daily in flat terrain (Miami) where the highest point is a bridge that I go up and down on to train.
I'm aiming for about 15 miles per day. Is this reasonable? I will be stepping up my training. I am asking for constructive advice. Buen Camino to all.
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
Hi to All who have previously walked the Primitivo. I realize there are infinite individual experiences and recommendations from each person who has walked this route, yet this Stairmaster allegory is making me second and third guess myself.
I am planning on walking the Primitivo in mid May, alone and will be 65 at the time. I am reasonably fit and walk 10 miles daily in flat terrain (Miami) where the highest point is a bridge that I go up and down on to train.
I'm aiming for about 15 miles per day. Is this reasonable? I will be stepping up my training. I am asking for constructive advice. Buen Camino to all.
Hi, El Cascayal,

I have walked the Primitivo twice, most recently at aged 65. I do walk long caminos, and I am a good walker, but I am by no means a super athlete. Along the way, we became a loose knit group of about 15 people, and there were only three of us who had ever walked a camino before. Of those 15, all of whom I met in the first couple of days, everyone walked into Santiago. Two of them were smokers!!! No one would say, oh this was an easy walk, but I don't think anywone would say, oh this walk almost killed me. And it's not like people were straggling in at 8 pm, because I remember many very fun afternoons with the group. I'm not trying to challenge whoever gave the analogy of the stairmaster, but just saying it wasn't like that for me or the others I was with. I guess this is one of the downsides of having so much information, since when it comes to opinions, everyone has a different one.
 

FourSeasons

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF Sept/Oct 2013
CF April/May 2016
del Norte (July/August 2019)
When people ask about the walk, and what it was like, I say imagine being in the gym on a Stairmaster machine and using it for 7 to 8 hours solid on level 8!
This makes my decision to continue on del Norte a solid one. :)👣 And the fact that water is scarce.
 

El Cascayal

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Primitivo (2019)
Hi, El Cascayal,

I have walked the Primitivo twice, most recently at aged 65. I do walk long caminos, and I am a good walker, but I am by no means a super athlete. Along the way, we became a loose knit group of about 15 people, and there were only three of us who had ever walked a camino before. Of those 15, all of whom I met in the first couple of days, everyone walked into Santiago. Two of them were smokers!!! No one would say, oh this was an easy walk, but I don't think anywone would say, oh this walk almost killed me. And it's not like people were straggling in at 8 pm, because I remember many very fun afternoons with the group. I'm not trying to challenge whoever gave the analogy of the stairmaster, but just saying it wasn't like that for me or the others I was with. I guess this is one of the downsides of having so much information, since when it comes to opinions, everyone has a different one.
Gracias Peregrina 2000. Your words are most encouraging. I am worried specifically about the hills, and was discouraged to see the Stairmaster analogy. If training and putting one foot in front of the other will get me over the hills, I will continue to carry on, just like you suggest. Any specific advice tidbits are most appreciated. Thanks for your response.
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
Gracias Peregrina 2000. Your words are most encouraging. I am worried specifically about the hills, and was discouraged to see the Stairmaster analogy. If training and putting one foot in front of the other will get me over the hills, I will continue to carry on, just like you suggest. Any specific advice tidbits are most appreciated. Thanks for your response.
Well, maybe it would help to take a look at the elevation profiles. Gronze.com has one for each stage of the primitivo (and other caminos). Just click on "ver perfil de la etapa" under the schematic map. The first day from Oviedo to Grado shows that you have one sustained ascent that takes you up about 200 m. The rest goes up and down. The total elevation gain for that first day, which I get from the wikiloc GPS site, is 400 m. https://www.wikiloc.com/hiking-trails/1-12-caminho-primitivo-oviedo-grado-19793783 Now this is by no means the most difficult day, but I think that by looking at a combination of the profile and the total elevation gain, you can get an idea of the kind of walk that it will be.

The day that most people think is the hardest, Borres to Berducedo. If you take the Hospitales variant, it has a couple of ascents but none more than a total of 300 m. (actually it´s the descent that is the killer). Wikiloc shows that the total ascent there is over a thousand m, but there is no one 1000 m ascent, so you get plenty of time to recoup. And the ascent is not steep or pronounced, (in fact the end of the Pola de Allande alternative is much steeper) so that total elevation spreads out over a lot of km.

Anyway,like you I live in a very flat place, so I was not sure how I would take to the hills of any of the caminos. But 19 years later, I keep coming back for more.

I don´t know if this helps you or confuses you, but my main advice would be to start early, start slow, enjoy the day and you will get there!
 

shubertj

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances 2012, 2013, 2018 Portuguese 2014 Ingles, Finisterre/Muxia 2017
Primitivo 2019
Hi to All who have previously walked the Primitivo. I realize there are infinite individual experiences and recommendations from each person who has walked this route, yet this Stairmaster allegory is making me second and third guess myself.
I am planning on walking the Primitivo in mid May, alone and will be 65 at the time. I am reasonably fit and walk 10 miles daily in flat terrain (Miami) where the highest point is a bridge that I go up and down on to train.
I'm aiming for about 15 miles per day. Is this reasonable? I will be stepping up my training. I am asking for constructive advice. Buen Camino to all.
We are a 3 some of all mid 60's that have done more than 6 camino each and will be leaving Oviedo on about May 1. We have set our stages for walking max 25km in a day mostly around 20. If your already walking 10 miles a day you won't have a problem problem except if you overtrain. I would suggest working towards a goal of your final weeks of walking 2 days 4-5 miles 1 day hill train walking back to back days of 12-15 miles with full pack.
 

Roy Howard

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
I walked Camino Frances in 2015 and plan to walk Camino Primitivo in 2017
I walked the Primitivo when I was 63 and enjoyed it. I walked around in 15 days around 12-15 miles a days. The hills will kick your ass but if you are in shape you’ll be fine. It’s a beautiful walk. I plan to do it again beginning on the Norte.

Roy
 

Beeman

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Primitivo,2017,Argonne and salvador,sept.2019
Hi to All who have previously walked the Primitivo. I realize there are infinite individual experiences and recommendations from each person who has walked this route, yet this Stairmaster allegory is making me second and third guess myself.
I am planning on walking the Primitivo in mid May, alone and will be 65 at the time. I am reasonably fit and walk 10 miles daily in flat terrain (Miami) where the highest point is a bridge that I go up and down on to train.
I'm aiming for about 15 miles per day. Is this reasonable? I will be stepping up my training. I am asking for constructive advice. Buen Camino to all.
I walked the primitivo in 17 at age 73. I walked to Muxia in 15 days,and noticed the ups and downs,but found it very doable. The downhill to the dam and up the other side was easier than expected,and went another 5+km to castro and still arrived in the early afternoon. I would suggest you do some hill work and take a sleeping bag,but you should not have a problem! I suspect all the "killer" talk about the primitivo,comes from those who do not want it turning into another Frances!(of. which I confess to also being).
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (July 2016), Primitivo (July 2018), Portuguese (March 2019)
The stairmaster analogy is amusing but an exaggeration. As someone else has pointed out there are no multi-hour long continuous ascents. There are a few steep sections, Gronze will show you where, but nothing that lasts hours and hours. In any case, if an ascent proves tiring, stop and enjoy the scenery for a while. My wife and I (we’re 63) found that the descent after arriving at the top from Pola de Allende was actually tougher than the ascent so I really wouldn’t worry overmuch. Take your time, enjoy the experience and you’ll be in Santiago all too soon. It’s a beautiful pilgrimage, different to the Frances, more ‘hard-core’ but with its own rich sense of camaraderie.
 

El Cascayal

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Primitivo (2019)
Many Thanks to all of you: seashell, Beeman, Roy,shubertj, peregrina 2000. I am so grateful for your advice, it is so encouraging. Shubertj, when the 3 of you walk past El Cascayal, past Grado, the house on the left with the Horreo, is where my maternal grandfather was born & is still in the family, the cousins there tell me they have given water to Peregrinos since the middle ages. So psyched. Thanks to all. Buen Camino!
 

Roy Howard

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
I walked Camino Frances in 2015 and plan to walk Camino Primitivo in 2017
Many Thanks to all of you: seashell, Beeman, Roy,shubertj, peregrina 2000. I am so grateful for your advice, it is so encouraging. Shubertj, when the 3 of you walk past El Cascayal, past Grado, the house on the left with the Horreo, is where my maternal grandfather was born & is still in the family, the cousins there tell me they have given water to Peregrinos since the middle ages. So psyched. Thanks to all. Buen Camino!
Wow!
 

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