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Hospitales or Pola de Allande?

#1
There's a bunch of forum members planning a Camino Primitivo, and I've recently gotten some questions privately on this particular issue, so I thought I'd just start a thread and let others share their opinions.

So, as most Primitivo planners know, when you get to the little hamlet of Borres, or actually a few km further on, there is a choice to make -- either go up the mountain on the Hospitales route or go from Borres to the town of Pola de Allande, and from there up to the mountain pass. The two routes come together at the high point, the Puerto de Palo, and from there down the mountain and on to Berducedo, there is just one route.

I think the differences between the two routes are several.

1. Distance -- to do the Hospitales route you have to be able to walk at least 26 km, with some elevation gain, that's the shortest distance between albergues (Borres to Berducedo). On the route through Pola, you can find ways to make the stages as short as 16 km or sometimes even less.

2. Elevation gain -- both routes wind up at the highest point, the Puerto de Palo, but actually the Hospitales route is easier in terms of total elevation gain and steepness of the incline. That's because the Hospitales ascent is spread out over more kms, and also because to get to Pola de Allende from Borres, you descend almost 200 meters. So the total elevation gain for the day you walk Hospitales to the Puerto de Palo is about 430 meters, and the total elevation gain for Pola de Allande to Puerto de Palo is about 620 meters.

3. Beauty -- Both routes, IMO, are beautiful. The route to Hospitales takes you up along a long ridge at the top, so you have some mighty fine views all around for a longer time. The route up from Pola is beautiful green tunnels, babbling brooks, fields and flowers, and then suddenly you emerge from that onto the bald mountain a little way below the Puerto (pass). Since both routes wind up at the pass, everyone gets to see something of the 360 degree views of the area.

4. Staging -- In my experience, this an important determinant of which route you will take, unless you are happy to take an unusually short or long stage to make it work. What I mean by that is that if you stay at Tineo, it may be too soon to stop in Borres (18 km), and only people like Beatrice would tackle Tineo to Berducedo via Hospitales (upwards of 45)! If you have your stages planned so you will sleep in Campiello or Borres, Hospitales may be a more logical stage because Borres (or even Campiello) to Pola is in the 11-14 km range.

5. Remoteness -- When you walk along the ridge on the Hospitales route you are far from roads and civilization for a bunch of kilometers (maybe 8?). On the walk up from Pola, you are never too far from the road, though it is rarely in your sight.

6. Weather -- Hospitales is not much fun on a fogged-in or rainy day, but walking to Pola or from Pola in those conditions wouldn't be a walk in the park either. Years ago, when I first walked the Primitivo, the markings up on the Hospitales route were inadequate and there was a lot of buzz about it being hard, dangerous, etc. That is no longer the case at all. I wouldn't walk it alone in heavy fog, but the markers are so close to each other that with two of you, you wouldn't get lost. Snow is a different story of course.

So, it's not a hugely consequential decision, I know, but since people have been asking, I thought I'd start a thread to collect all the relevant opinions!

Buen camino, Laurie
 

Kiwi-family

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Past: (2012, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2018)-Frances, Baztan, San Salvador, Primitivo, Fisterra,VdlP, Madrid
#3
Well said, Laurie.
We took the Hospitales and LOVED it. When we bumped into various people who had done the Pola de Allande, they were all a bit nonchalant about their option ("a bit of a climb, some little churches, but nothing spectacular"). Maybe they walked with their eyes closed. We were in awe. But then, we had a perfect day (apart from the wind, which just added to the adrenaline - I seriously thought my little ones might be blown over the edge and we held on to each other as we crossed the pass!)
Do you get horses and cows on the Pola variant?
 
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#4
So very helpful and timely Laurie
Thanks for sharing your knowledge and experience .
Annie
 

Tia Valeria

Veteran Member
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#5
We stayed in Pola de Allande and walked Pola and over Puerto de Palo. Due to bad mud we took the road to where the Camino crosses it as the track was pretty well flooded out, then walked over the pass itself on the Camino. This actually avoided a steep climb up to the road as we had climbed more gradually. IMO we saw more by doing this as we were not right down in the valley. There were deer, wild horses etc which we saw from the road and the pass itself, and those amazing views........... One of the real high points of our Camino in all ways
 
#6
Well said, Laurie.
We took the Hospitales and LOVED it. When we bumped into various people who had done the Pola de Allande, they were all a bit nonchalant about their option ("a bit of a climb, some little churches, but nothing spectacular"). Maybe they walked with their eyes closed. We were in awe. But then, we had a perfect day (apart from the wind, which just added to the adrenaline - I seriously thought my little ones might be blown over the edge and we held on to each other as we crossed the pass!)
Do you get horses and cows on the Pola variant?
Difference number 7. Animals. Horses and cows only on the Hospitales route (at least if you're talking about finding them sitting on your path). And BTW, these are no ordinary horses, I once got a lesson on how those horses are wild Asturian horses, shorter and stockier and stronger than your average horse and were apparently superior in many crucial battles in the Reconquista.

And kiwi-family, I agree, in terms of the beauty, there's no doubt that the Hospitales route is much more jaw-dropping and spectacular. The way up from Pola on a clear day is very pretty, too -- but in a way that you've already seen many times on the Primitive, so it may also be the uniqueness of the Hospitales route that adds to its attraction.

Oh yes, and I forgot that only on the Hospitales route can you see the ruins of pilgrims' hospitals, hence the name of the route. :)
 

angulero

Active Member
#7
And BTW, these are no ordinary horses, I once got a lesson on how those horses are wild Asturian horses, shorter and stockier and stronger than your average horse and were apparently superior in many crucial battles in the Reconquista.
Se llaman asturcones, pero creo que los que encuentras en el primitivo no son asturcones.

Asturcones called, but I think you find in the primitive are not asturcones.

http://es.wikipedia.org/wiki/Asturcón_(caballo)

http://www.asturcones.com/
 
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#8
Great summary Peregrina.

Here my comments :

In point 2: Elevation gain. I think that the steep descent from Alto de la Lavadoira to Pola de Allande deserves a comment for knee problems : 250 mts in 3 Kms.
I would add (point 1, 4?) that the Pola option includes a cheap hotel in Pola de Allande : La Nueva Allandesa and its filling menu (too much for me), that it's intereting for people who don't feel like staying in albergue.
In 6. Weather. I wouldn't choose Hospitales also in case of strong wind. I met 3 pilgrims in Montefurado who had suffered a lot because the wind, whereas I hadn´t had any problem on my Pola route.

In Hospitales, you can see the ruins and don't forget the Roman gold mine (A Freita)and its associated lakes.

Finally, talking about cows, of course it is posible to see them in the Pola option , but not free like in Hospitales. Me and a Japanese got stuck more than 5 minutes behind a herd conducted by a girl. in a village before Pola.
 

TerryB

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#9
Se llaman asturcones, pero creo que los que encuentras en el primitivo no son asturcones.

Asturcones called, but I think you find in the primitive are not asturcones.

http://es.wikipedia.org/wiki/Asturcón_(caballo)

http://www.asturcones.com/
The horses we saw just below the pass on the Pola route were very similar to Dartmoor ponies, small, stocky, rough and hairy! Whichever way you choose to go, pray for a clear day! The view from the top is wonderful! I missed it first time over because of fog and heavy rain.
Blessings
Tio Tel
horses.JPG Puerto de Palo.JPG view.JPG
 

Kiwi-family

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Past: (2012, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2018)-Frances, Baztan, San Salvador, Primitivo, Fisterra,VdlP, Madrid
#11
Here are some pics to give you an idea of the uphills on the Hospitales route - some are gentle climbs and what I remember as two of the steeper bits are pictured as well. Perhaps because we had perfect weather, we found the uphills to be exhilarating rather than difficult. And a good portion is walking along the ridges. The wind crossing the cols was something else, and the downhill caused us grief (daughter went over forwards and how she managed to stop rolling on to the bottom is nothing short of a miracle - I honestly believe that, so please do be careful there - the last pic shows the spot) we walked (227).JPG we walked (228).JPG we walked (230).JPG we walked (231).JPG z miracles happen.JPG )
 

TerryB

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#12
Great summary Peregrina.

Here my comments :

In point 2: Elevation gain. I think that the steep descent from Alto de la Lavadoira to Pola de Allande deserves a comment for knee problems : 250 mts in 3 Kms.
.
It was on the descent into Pola in 2012 that I blacked a toenail! Valerie stopped to tighten her laces, but Mr. Clever, knowing that it was only a kilometer or so into Pola didn't bother!!! it did not cause any problems for the rest of my Camino but it just shows, that even after four years experience one needs to be careful.
It is the descents that cause more problems than the climbs. Those stoney tracks after the summit of Puerto de Palo cut across the hairpin bends of the road. In 2009 I did not even see any marker at the summit (attached pic shows why!) so walked down the road. It was a Saturday and the only vehicle I saw was the "Mountain Rescue" boys!! It seemed a very long way to Lago though.
Blessings
Tio Tel
In the clouds.JPG Up in the clouds and the pouring rain.
 
Camino(s) past & future
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#13
[QUOTE="TerryB, post:
It is the descents that cause more problems than the climbs. Those stoney tracks after the summit of Puerto de Palo cut across the hairpin bends of the road. "

I think the last pic of Kiwi family corresponds to that stretch.
According to my information, In the Hospitales route, in Collado de la Marta there are again two alternatives:
One that goes directly to Montefurado and other that goes to Montefurado through Puerto del Palo.
I'm going to check all these things (Roman gold mine , alternatives....) in September. I'm planning one week in Allande.
 

angulero

Active Member
#14
Pola de Allande pondrá fin a un punto peligroso del Camino de Santiago

El Principado destinará 19.000 euros para las obras de un camino alternativo

El Ayuntamiento de Pola de Allande pondrá fin próximamente a uno de los puntos más peligrosos del Camino de Santiago a su paso por el concejo.

Un tramo de un kilómetro que discurre entre Lago y Berducedo y en el que los peregrinos tienen que caminar por la carretera con el consiguiente peligro por el tráfico de vehículos.

El Consistorio iniciará a corto plazo los trabajos de construcción de un camino alternativo para acabar con este problema. Una obra valorada en 19.000 euros que serán aportados por el Principado.

El Consistorio tiene previsto también mejorar la señalización y construir otra senda alternativa a la carretera general, muy cerca de la capital del concejo, concretamente a la altura del pueblo de El Mazo.


Vídeo:

http://www.rtpa.es/asturias:Pola-de...oso-del-Camino-de-Santiago-_111407492909.html
 

Tia Valeria

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#15
Thanks Angulero

Translation using 'Bing'
"Pola de Allande will put an end to a dangerous point of the Camino de Santiago

The Principality will provide 19,000 euros for the construction of analternative pathway

The city of Pola de Allande will end soon one of the most dangerous points of the Camino de Santiago in its path by the Council.

A stretch of one kilometer that runs between Lago and Berducedo and in which the pilgrims have to walk down the road with the consequent danger by vehicular traffic.

The session will start short-term construction of analternative path to finish with this problem. A standard work in 19,000euros that will be provided by the Principality.

The City Council plans to also improve signage and build another path alternative to the main road, very close to the capital of the Council, particularly at the height of the village of El Mazo."
 

Kiwi-family

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#16
Oh Terry
That dismal picture looks just like our crossing from Pamplona to Saint Jean - rain all the way and no wonderful vistas that everyone raves about! Sorry you missed an amazing view!
 

Tia Valeria

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#17
Ah, but he saw the view when we went together. Made it even more special, especially when you know that the rain photo (#13) was taken when there was a gap in the cloud :eek: while in our joint photos (#9) we could see to the far distance. Looking back 2 hours later the top of the pass was in the clouds. We were just so blessed that day.
 
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#18
I appreciate the pics and the humor. You know those windmills near the famous pilgrim sculptures at the top of Alto de Perdon -- we were in a blizzard and couldn't see a thing! Hoping for clear weather next summer but will take whatever we get! Its all part of the adventure, right?!
 

Tia Valeria

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#19
I appreciate the pics and the humor. You know those windmills near the famous pilgrim sculptures at the top of Alto de Perdon -- we were in a blizzard and couldn't see a thing! Hoping for clear weather next summer but will take whatever we get! Its all part of the adventure, right?!
I can only imagine it, not having walked the Francés. So hopefully no snow in summer ;) and no low cloud either. Does the cloud gather after mid-day on the Primitivo? a phenonemon we have noticed in other mountain areas. Have folk noticed this at all over Hospitales/Puerto de Palo? We walked over before mid-day, but as I posted before, looking back later it was cloudy.
 
M

mikevasey

Guest
#20
It was misty/cloudy when I walked the hospitales route, but every now and then it would give gaps to reveal tantalising vistas, when the two routes joined again it cleared up and gave a glorious day for the last few km IMG_20140714_125914465.jpg this photo is just after where they join, the day ended up being clear and very sunny..
 
Camino(s) past & future
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SJPP - Logroño June 2014
Ingles July2016
#21
I can only imagine it, not having walked the Francés. So hopefully no snow in summer ;) and no low cloud either. Does the cloud gather after mid-day on the Primitivo? a phenonemon we have noticed in other mountain areas. Have folk noticed this at all over Hospitales/Puerto de Palo? We walked over before mid-day, but as I posted before, looking back later it was cloudy.
Weather in Asturias/Galicia is so variable that clouds can grow after mid-day for different reasons. But in summer, this growth it's often associated to stormy weather (more or less active). Fortunately, pilgrims who start walking early in the morning don't usually suffer the problem of storms (lightening pouring rain).
 

Kiwi-family

Veteran Member
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#22
Here's our Alto de Perdon day - but before you think we had the perfect camino, I'll point out we started with a few days of rain and finished with rain! You can try to decided which of the remaining photos was taken crossing the Pyrenees. we walked (83).JPG we walked (16).JPG we walked (250).JPG
 
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Tunnel Le Puy Via De Plata Ingles Primitivo Norte Frances Portuguese Fisterra Muxia hospitalero
#23
I walked the Hospitales in April this year. Having not walked the other route, I can't compare. I can say, however, that the Hospitales offered up one of the most spectacular days I have spent on any camino. If (make that "when") I walk the Primitivo again, I wouldn't hesitate taking the same route --no question. Sure it is remote but, for me, that only served to accentuate the already wondrous beauty. Totally gobsmacked, I was--getting pumped thinking about it!
 

Rajy62

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
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#24
There's a bunch of forum members planning a Camino Primitivo, and I've recently gotten some questions privately on this particular issue, so I thought I'd just start a thread and let others share their opinions.

So, as most Primitivo planners know, when you get to the little hamlet of Borres, or actually a few km further on, there is a choice to make -- either go up the mountain on the Hospitales route or go from Borres to the town of Pola de Allande, and from there up to the mountain pass. The two routes come together at the high point, the Puerto de Palo, and from there down the mountain and on to Berducedo, there is just one route.

So, it's not a hugely consequential decision, I know, but since people have been asking, I thought I'd start a thread to collect all the relevant opinions!

Buen camino, Laurie
I stopped at Bores and took the Hospitales route in June. It was foggy when we started in the morning and cleared when we reached the higher elevation and it was one of the most spectacular walks in the Primitivo. From Bores, it was about 20k without any refuelling options. As Laurie said, the climb is steady and gradual. Although part of the decent was on loose scree trail, it was short and one can use the 'trail edges' to negotiate that section. I would choose Hospitales again. Acc to my guide, the other route is in fact technically more challenging but offers breaking options.
 
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#25
  • "1. Distance -- to do the Hospitales route you have to be able to walk at least 26 km, with some elevation gain, that's the shortest distance between albergues (Borres to Berducedo). On the route through Pola, you can find ways to make the stages as short as 16 km or sometimes even less."
Hi Laurie!
Booked my flight for 1st May 2016 - HOORAY!
I would love to walk the Hospitales route, but am concerned about 26 kms with gain. Slightly too far for me. I tend to average about 20k. Come on - I'm ancient and overweight!:(
I am fortunate in being quite happy staying in small hotels from time to time. You say 26kms is the shortest distance "between albergues" - but is there a hotel/hostal alternative?
Blessings from Suffolk UK [where the forecast for the week-end is 5 degc C and sleet :eek: !]
 

Smallest_Sparrow

Life is rarely what you expect or believe it to be
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#26
when i walked in 2012 there wasn't, and I'd have trouble imagining any springing up any closer on the Hospitales route...which I greatly enjoyed (walked from Campiello). I don't know if anyone else had cell phone coverage, but I did not for a fair portion of the Hospitales, which momentarily made me think there might have been good reason for the guide book to recommend walking partners. Oh well.
 

Attachments

Tia Valeria

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#27
The lack of any accomodation is the problem with the Hospitales route which is why we split the stage by going via Pola de Allande. Planning to visit the area and walk the far end from Puerto de Palo in reverse. :)
 
A

Anemone del Camino

Guest
#28
  • "1. Distance -- to do the Hospitales route you have to be able to walk at least 26 km, with some elevation gain, that's the shortest distance between albergues (Borres to Berducedo). On the route through Pola, you can find ways to make the stages as short as 16 km or sometimes even less."
Hi Laurie!
Booked my flight for 1st May 2016 - HOORAY!
I would love to walk the Hospitales route, but am concerned about 26 kms with gain. Slightly too far for me. I tend to average about 20k. Come on - I'm ancient and overweight!:(
I am fortunate in being quite happy staying in small hotels from time to time. You say 26kms is the shortest distance "between albergues" - but is there a hotel/hostal alternative?
Blessings from Suffolk UK [where the forecast for the week-end is 5 degc C and sleet :eek: !]
Steven, you don't need to do the full 26km. The road crosses the Camino in 2 spots. Take a look at Smallest Sparrows Dcision Decision picture.

You could arrange for a taxi to come pick you up at one of those crossings. I say arrange because cell coveragemay be iffy, but you could also try that. There were even sticker on traffic sign posts advertisimg taxi services. It's what I did, because it would have been too much foe me to the point of being dangerous had I pushed ahead. Those who did walked in bery tired and gave me a thumbs up for knowing when to stop. Hope this helps.
 

TerryB

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#30
  • "1. Distance -- to do the Hospitales route you have to be able to walk at least 26 km, with some elevation gain, that's the shortest distance between albergues (Borres to Berducedo). On the route through Pola, you can find ways to make the stages as short as 16 km or sometimes even less."
Hi Laurie!
Booked my flight for 1st May 2016 - HOORAY!
I would love to walk the Hospitales route, but am concerned about 26 kms with gain. Slightly too far for me. I tend to average about 20k. Come on - I'm ancient and overweight!:(
I am fortunate in being quite happy staying in small hotels from time to time. You say 26kms is the shortest distance "between albergues" - but is there a hotel/hostal alternative?
Blessings from Suffolk UK [where the forecast for the week-end is 5 degc C and sleet :eek: !]
Hi Stephen,
The only thing that I could suggest is for you to stay at Sra. Herminia's at Campielo. Then arrange with her for a car to pick you up at Puerto de Palo at . . . . (time)
and take you back to her place for the night. Then a car back to Puerto de Palo next morning which leaves a reasonable walk to Berducedo. There are no inhabited buildings between Borres and the (occasional) bar at Lago a few kilometers short of Berducedo. - There was a solitary man living at Montefurado but no possibility of any accommodation.
If anyone feels like opening an albergue on the Primitivo, Montefurado would be the place.

Blessings
Tio Tel
 
#31
  • "1. Distance -- to do the Hospitales route you have to be able to walk at least 26 km, with some elevation gain, that's the shortest distance between albergues (Borres to Berducedo). On the route through Pola, you can find ways to make the stages as short as 16 km or sometimes even less."
Hi Laurie!
Booked my flight for 1st May 2016 - HOORAY!
I would love to walk the Hospitales route, but am concerned about 26 kms with gain. Slightly too far for me. I tend to average about 20k. Come on - I'm ancient and overweight!:(
I am fortunate in being quite happy staying in small hotels from time to time. You say 26kms is the shortest distance "between albergues" - but is there a hotel/hostal alternative?
Blessings from Suffolk UK [where the forecast for the week-end is 5 degc C and sleet :eek: !]
Hi, Stephen,
Funny, I was just reading your Ruta del Ebro blog in which you posed the question whether that would be your "last Camino." I guess common sense soon banished that thought. :)

I think you've gotten good advice about splitting up the stage. I like Terry's idea about spending two nights at Herminia-Land in Campiello. She owns at least four businesses in this little hamlet, including an albergue, casa rural, bar/restaurant/grocery store. She frequently gets excoriated on some Spanish language forums for her business practices (there is another bar in town, struggling along in Herminia's empire), but I've always found that she gives decent value for price. I wouldn't be surprised if she had her own little taxi operation as well, and I do know that she used to drive over to Borres to pick up pilgrims for meals. That's not required now that there's a bar that gives meals there, but may suggest that she'd be willing to pick you up. I've heard mixed things about the municipal albergue in Borres, but I think Herminia's a sure bet.

I've pretty much decided that I'll go back to the Salvador/Primitivo this summer after the Ebro, but I will be months behind you. Buen camino, Laurie
 

Rajy62

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
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#32
I would love to walk the Hospitales route, but am concerned about 26 kms with gain. Slightly too far for me. I tend to average about 20k. Come on - I'm ancient and overweight!:(
I am fortunate in being quite happy staying in small hotels from time to time. You say 26kms is the shortest distance "between albergues" - but is there a hotel/hostal alternative?
Blessings from Suffolk UK [where the forecast for the week-end is 5 degc C and sleet :eek: !]
I am also overweight and walk like a turtle. I took the high level Hospitales route. It was not as tough as people describe. No bars/cafes for break for sure, but easy and steady ascent. Some loose scree on decent.
I stayed in Borreas, the nearest alberque. Had an early start. There is a bar in Largo, about 4km before Berducedo. I took a taxi from there. So thats about 20km.

If alberques are getting full give the Bar at Borreas (administers the alberque) a call; tfn 663785266.
 
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#33
Thanks, for all comments. I have printed them off and will put them in my "Pilgrimage VI" folder :).
I may even walk BOTH routes if I feel up to it, just to compare them.
In the past I've found one of two other mountain pass climbs challenging - but I just take my time and enjoy them.
This last May was tough walking DOWN to Sastago. There was a climb on the Portuguese ... ? after Tui? And the Ingles certainly wasn't flat!
Buen camino ... and enjoy the mountains!
 
A

Anemone del Camino

Guest
#34
There is another tough ascent on the Primitivo as you arrive into Cadavo Beleira, and it's at tne end of th day, of ypu slept in Fonsagrada, making it more challenging. There is a lovely bar at the bottom of a long, slow descent from ruins, Casa Meson. The owner is from Argentina amd makes esxcellent bocadillos. No beds though, but again an opportunity to taxi to Cadavo, and of you wish taxi nack the next day th walk the hill refrshed. Cadavo has a muni and a small hotel.
 

Tia Valeria

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C. do Mar-C. Inglés '15
#35
The little bus from Fonsagrada to Lugo goes through Paradavella about 14.15. Just right for a bocadillo in the bar Casa Meson :) and then walk the last km or so down into the village. There is another bar at the bus stop. The bus back next day should work OK too.
Bus times can be checked in the Tourist information in Fonsagrada.
 

Smallest_Sparrow

Life is rarely what you expect or believe it to be
Camino(s) past & future
2012: most of some, all of a few, a bit of others
#36
There is another tough ascent on the Primitivo as you arrive into Cadavo Beleira, and it's at tne end of th day, of ypu slept in Fonsagrada, making it more challenging. There is a lovely bar at the bottom of a long, slow descent from ruins, Casa Meson. The owner is from Argentina amd makes esxcellent bocadillos. No beds though, but again an opportunity to taxi to Cadavo, and of you wish taxi nack the next day th walk the hill refrshed. Cadavo has a muni and a small hotel.
Thanks Anemone --I was trying to recall that town's name just yesterday telling someone about my second longest leg on my trip...walking from fonsagrada I'd reached Cavado and while the albergue looked very nice it still felt too early to stop. A German pilgrim (and don't they always have the best info?) said Castroverde had an albergue...which I think they do now, but still under construction when I arrived :(. Little hotel/pension full :( :(. Too stubborn to call a taxi, or walk back, on I walked. I was SOOOOO glad to see the lights of Lugo (finally)...and extra glad it was already a planned rest stop for me, and my hotel could check me in a day early. Best hotel staff in Spain, BTW.
 

Thornley

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances [08 ]Portuguese [09 ]Le Puy[10] Norte[ 11] Madrid [12] Figeac - Pamplona [13] Mont Saint Michel - Bordeaux / St Palais - Pamplona [14] Moissac -Burgos [15] , Norte to Oviedo and then Primitivo [16]
Le Puy to Moissac and Dax to Santo Domingo
#37
Thanks Anemone --I was trying to recall that town's name just yesterday telling someone about my second longest leg on my trip...walking from fonsagrada I'd reached Cavado and while the albergue looked very nice it still felt too early to stop. A German pilgrim (and don't they always have the best info?) said Castroverde had an albergue...which I think they do now, but still under construction when I arrived :(. Little hotel/pension full :( :(. Too stubborn to call a taxi, or walk back, on I walked. I was SOOOOO glad to see the lights of Lugo (finally)...and extra glad it was already a planned rest stop for me, and my hotel could check me in a day early. Best hotel staff in Spain, BTW.
What hotel in Lugo S_S ??
 

Tia Valeria

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Pt Norte/Pmtvo 2010
C. Inglés 2011
C. Primitivo '12
Norte-C. de la Reina '13
C. do Mar-C. Inglés '15
#38
We stayed at the Hotel Metropol, Rua Miguel de Cervantes, in Lugo. Pilgrim friendly and may still have a special pilgrim rate.
 

notion900

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
>
#39
Nearly everyone walks Hospitales now. So Pola has the advantages of perfect peace and quiet. People before Borres will show you profile maps that make the ascent on the Pola route look like the north face of K2. They are doing it so you will buy loads of provisions for the Hospitales route. Pola is not very hard, and is very peaceful and beautiful. You still get plenty of views at the top.
 

Thornley

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances [08 ]Portuguese [09 ]Le Puy[10] Norte[ 11] Madrid [12] Figeac - Pamplona [13] Mont Saint Michel - Bordeaux / St Palais - Pamplona [14] Moissac -Burgos [15] , Norte to Oviedo and then Primitivo [16]
Le Puy to Moissac and Dax to Santo Domingo
#40
Nearly everyone walks Hospitales now. So Pola has the advantages of perfect peace and quiet. People before Borres will show you profile maps that make the ascent on the Pola route look like the north face of K2. They are doing it so you will buy loads of provisions for the Hospitales route. Pola is not very hard, and is very peaceful and beautiful. You still get plenty of views at the top.
Great hotel with great food in town ............... a very friendly town .
The walk out from Pola can be difficult .
Would do both if you had the time.
 
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Tia Valeria

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Pt Norte/Pmtvo 2010
C. Inglés 2011
C. Primitivo '12
Norte-C. de la Reina '13
C. do Mar-C. Inglés '15
#41
We did the Pola route and loved it (2012) staying at the Nueva Allandesa. Due to extreme wet, and conditions in the valley, we walked the road from Pola to the point where the Camino comes up from the left and crosses the road. This avoided the steep climb out of the valley which was a help too. Then we walked the track over Puerto de Palo. Lovely walk with a reasonable climb. This year we partially backtracked the Hospitales route from Puerto de Palo (then back) and decided the Pola route was better. Just a personal opinion.
 
#42
Nearly everyone walks Hospitales now. So Pola has the advantages of perfect peace and quiet. People before Borres will show you profile maps that make the ascent on the Pola route look like the north face of K2. They are doing it so you will buy loads of provisions for the Hospitales route. Pola is not very hard, and is very peaceful and beautiful. You still get plenty of views at the top.
It's funny how things change. The first time I walked the Primitivo, the word on the street was that Hospitales was very dangerous, difficult, and scary. (In part, that's because the marking was bad, but that has now been fixed so you won't get lost even in bad fog so long as you are not alone). I walked through Pola, but mainly it was because we had spent a night in Tineo and that would have made a very short next day to Campiello. The second time, we had to really cajole a couple of members of our group to go via Hospitales with us because they had heard all the dangerous warnings from the hospitaleros in previous stages. We did it and it was, as others have pointed out, an easier ascent than the one from Pola. Just this June, like notion900 points out, almost everyone was going via Hospitales. David in Bodenaya is almost passionate about how Hospitales is the original and authentic way, and his albergue is well positioned for Campiello or Borres the next day. The one thing that throws people off is the weather, no fun getting up there during a thunderstorm.

I agree with others that the ascent from Pola is in many ways prettier than the walk to Hospitales along the almost bald ridge once you get to the top, but the feeling of exhilaration is palpable if you are up there on a clear day and can see the whole world laid out below and around you. And it's nice to see the hospital ruins and the wild horses as well.

This year I had planned to walk from Campiello up through Hospitales and then down to Pola. Next day back up and on to Berducedo. But like some of my other great plans, they all got thrown out when I wound up as part of a group that I just didn't want to separate from. Next time, maybe.
 

notion900

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
>
#43
Also Pola the town could also really use the business right now, it's quite run down. It's possible to stay there and then get a taxi back to the starting point for Hospitales. Borres is getting the lion's share of people's money which isn't really fair.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances Sep/Oct 2015
Camino Primitivo Sep / Oct 2016
Portugese Fatima Santiago Sep/Oct 2017
#44
Wow Laurie
Thank you so much for all this information
I am setting out on the Primitivo end of Sep. Your detail and clear comment is very easy reading but also reassuring.
Thank you
James
 

Smallest_Sparrow

Life is rarely what you expect or believe it to be
Camino(s) past & future
2012: most of some, all of a few, a bit of others
#45
What hotel in Lugo S_S ??
OK so I'm bad and don't follow threads. I stayed at the Hotel Mendez Nunez, found on booking.com searching for hotels/nonsmoking. The rooms were nice, can't speak for the meals, but the staff was amazing. I arrived a day early and in the middle of the night...no problem, cheerfully checked me in, made sure I had what I needed, and a Buen Camino as I trudged off to my room, having walked from fonsagrada that day. Next am, I asked at the desk about getting a new phone, my "Spanish phone" had suffered a mishap enroute...and i wanted one that took my SIM carrier bc I'd just loaded a lot of minutes on the SIM. Nice woman at reception called around for me, found a place, sent her assistant to that store to be sure it would work but it didn't. When the assistant came back, they both called around, found a store in a mall, called a cab, gave him explicit directions, drew me a map, wrote down what I needed, and also called the store back to tell them to expect me. Gave me bus return instructions (my request, managing public transport makes me feel invincible), and a card to call them if it didn't work, so they could send a taxi after me (or if I had any trouble at 'The Phone House.') They made excellent suggestions about things to see, places to eat, and wished me a warm Buen Camino as I checked out and headed out the door a couple of days later. Hotel is located near a lot of the things to see/do, but to me, if the staff is good then your stay will be excellent.
Edit: only drawback was couldn't get WiFi in my room, had to go out into hall, but this was the same in every hotel I tried except the AC/Marriott chain (SdC and Oviedo), and LoLo in Muxia, where when I told them I couldn't get a signal anywhere (room or hall) they sent up a signal repeater for my room..THAT is customer service. Didn't think to ask in Lugo since I just sat outside my room to connect....
 
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Camino(s) past & future
Primitive (2017)
#46
There's a bunch of forum members planning a Camino Primitivo, and I've recently gotten some questions privately on this particular issue, so I thought I'd just start a thread and let others share their opinions.

So, as most Primitivo planners know, when you get to the little hamlet of Borres, or actually a few km further on, there is a choice to make -- either go up the mountain on the Hospitales route or go from Borres to the town of Pola de Allande, and from there up to the mountain pass. The two routes come together at the high point, the Puerto de Palo, and from there down the mountain and on to Berducedo, there is just one route.

I think the differences between the two routes are several.

1. Distance -- to do the Hospitales route you have to be able to walk at least 26 km, with some elevation gain, that's the shortest distance between albergues (Borres to Berducedo). On the route through Pola, you can find ways to make the stages as short as 16 km or sometimes even less.

2. Elevation gain -- both routes wind up at the highest point, the Puerto de Palo, but actually the Hospitales route is easier in terms of total elevation gain and steepness of the incline. That's because the Hospitales ascent is spread out over more kms, and also because to get to Pola de Allende from Borres, you descend almost 200 meters. So the total elevation gain for the day you walk Hospitales to the Puerto de Palo is about 430 meters, and the total elevation gain for Pola de Allande to Puerto de Palo is about 620 meters.

3. Beauty -- Both routes, IMO, are beautiful. The route to Hospitales takes you up along a long ridge at the top, so you have some mighty fine views all around for a longer time. The route up from Pola is beautiful green tunnels, babbling brooks, fields and flowers, and then suddenly you emerge from that onto the bald mountain a little way below the Puerto (pass). Since both routes wind up at the pass, everyone gets to see something of the 360 degree views of the area.

4. Staging -- In my experience, this an important determinant of which route you will take, unless you are happy to take an unusually short or long stage to make it work. What I mean by that is that if you stay at Tineo, it may be too soon to stop in Borres (18 km), and only people like Beatrice would tackle Tineo to Berducedo via Hospitales (upwards of 45)! If you have your stages planned so you will sleep in Campiello or Borres, Hospitales may be a more logical stage because Borres (or even Campiello) to Pola is in the 11-14 km range.

5. Remoteness -- When you walk along the ridge on the Hospitales route you are far from roads and civilization for a bunch of kilometers (maybe 8?). On the walk up from Pola, you are never too far from the road, though it is rarely in your sight.

6. Weather -- Hospitales is not much fun on a fogged-in or rainy day, but walking to Pola or from Pola in those conditions wouldn't be a walk in the park either. Years ago, when I first walked the Primitivo, the markings up on the Hospitales route were inadequate and there was a lot of buzz about it being hard, dangerous, etc. That is no longer the case at all. I wouldn't walk it alone in heavy fog, but the markers are so close to each other that with two of you, you wouldn't get lost. Snow is a different story of course.

So, it's not a hugely consequential decision, I know, but since people have been asking, I thought I'd start a thread to collect all the relevant opinions!

Buen camino, Laurie
There's a bunch of forum members planning a Camino Primitivo, and I've recently gotten some questions privately on this particular issue, so I thought I'd just start a thread and let others share their opinions.

So, as most Primitivo planners know, when you get to the little hamlet of Borres, or actually a few km further on, there is a choice to make -- either go up the mountain on the Hospitales route or go from Borres to the town of Pola de Allande, and from there up to the mountain pass. The two routes come together at the high point, the Puerto de Palo, and from there down the mountain and on to Berducedo, there is just one route.

I think the differences between the two routes are several.

1. Distance -- to do the Hospitales route you have to be able to walk at least 26 km, with some elevation gain, that's the shortest distance between albergues (Borres to Berducedo). On the route through Pola, you can find ways to make the stages as short as 16 km or sometimes even less.

2. Elevation gain -- both routes wind up at the highest point, the Puerto de Palo, but actually the Hospitales route is easier in terms of total elevation gain and steepness of the incline. That's because the Hospitales ascent is spread out over more kms, and also because to get to Pola de Allende from Borres, you descend almost 200 meters. So the total elevation gain for the day you walk Hospitales to the Puerto de Palo is about 430 meters, and the total elevation gain for Pola de Allande to Puerto de Palo is about 620 meters.

3. Beauty -- Both routes, IMO, are beautiful. The route to Hospitales takes you up along a long ridge at the top, so you have some mighty fine views all around for a longer time. The route up from Pola is beautiful green tunnels, babbling brooks, fields and flowers, and then suddenly you emerge from that onto the bald mountain a little way below the Puerto (pass). Since both routes wind up at the pass, everyone gets to see something of the 360 degree views of the area.

4. Staging -- In my experience, this an important determinant of which route you will take, unless you are happy to take an unusually short or long stage to make it work. What I mean by that is that if you stay at Tineo, it may be too soon to stop in Borres (18 km), and only people like Beatrice would tackle Tineo to Berducedo via Hospitales (upwards of 45)! If you have your stages planned so you will sleep in Campiello or Borres, Hospitales may be a more logical stage because Borres (or even Campiello) to Pola is in the 11-14 km range.

5. Remoteness -- When you walk along the ridge on the Hospitales route you are far from roads and civilization for a bunch of kilometers (maybe 8?). On the walk up from Pola, you are never too far from the road, though it is rarely in your sight.

6. Weather -- Hospitales is not much fun on a fogged-in or rainy day, but walking to Pola or from Pola in those conditions wouldn't be a walk in the park either. Years ago, when I first walked the Primitivo, the markings up on the Hospitales route were inadequate and there was a lot of buzz about it being hard, dangerous, etc. That is no longer the case at all. I wouldn't walk it alone in heavy fog, but the markers are so close to each other that with two of you, you wouldn't get lost. Snow is a different story of course.

So, it's not a hugely consequential decision, I know, but since people have been asking, I thought I'd start a thread to collect all the relevant opinions!

Buen camino, Laurie
There's a bunch of forum members planning a Camino Primitivo, and I've recently gotten some questions privately on this particular issue, so I thought I'd just start a thread and let others share their opinions.

So, as most Primitivo planners know, when you get to the little hamlet of Borres, or actually a few km further on, there is a choice to make -- either go up the mountain on the Hospitales route or go from Borres to the town of Pola de Allande, and from there up to the mountain pass. The two routes come together at the high point, the Puerto de Palo, and from there down the mountain and on to Berducedo, there is just one route.

I think the differences between the two routes are several.

1. Distance -- to do the Hospitales route you have to be able to walk at least 26 km, with some elevation gain, that's the shortest distance between albergues (Borres to Berducedo). On the route through Pola, you can find ways to make the stages as short as 16 km or sometimes even less.

2. Elevation gain -- both routes wind up at the highest point, the Puerto de Palo, but actually the Hospitales route is easier in terms of total elevation gain and steepness of the incline. That's because the Hospitales ascent is spread out over more kms, and also because to get to Pola de Allende from Borres, you descend almost 200 meters. So the total elevation gain for the day you walk Hospitales to the Puerto de Palo is about 430 meters, and the total elevation gain for Pola de Allande to Puerto de Palo is about 620 meters.

3. Beauty -- Both routes, IMO, are beautiful. The route to Hospitales takes you up along a long ridge at the top, so you have some mighty fine views all around for a longer time. The route up from Pola is beautiful green tunnels, babbling brooks, fields and flowers, and then suddenly you emerge from that onto the bald mountain a little way below the Puerto (pass). Since both routes wind up at the pass, everyone gets to see something of the 360 degree views of the area.

4. Staging -- In my experience, this an important determinant of which route you will take, unless you are happy to take an unusually short or long stage to make it work. What I mean by that is that if you stay at Tineo, it may be too soon to stop in Borres (18 km), and only people like Beatrice would tackle Tineo to Berducedo via Hospitales (upwards of 45)! If you have your stages planned so you will sleep in Campiello or Borres, Hospitales may be a more logical stage because Borres (or even Campiello) to Pola is in the 11-14 km range.

5. Remoteness -- When you walk along the ridge on the Hospitales route you are far from roads and civilization for a bunch of kilometers (maybe 8?). On the walk up from Pola, you are never too far from the road, though it is rarely in your sight.

6. Weather -- Hospitales is not much fun on a fogged-in or rainy day, but walking to Pola or from Pola in those conditions wouldn't be a walk in the park either. Years ago, when I first walked the Primitivo, the markings up on the Hospitales route were inadequate and there was a lot of buzz about it being hard, dangerous, etc. That is no longer the case at all. I wouldn't walk it alone in heavy fog, but the markers are so close to each other that with two of you, you wouldn't get lost. Snow is a different story of course.

So, it's not a hugely consequential decision, I know, but since people have been asking, I thought I'd start a thread to collect all the relevant opinions!

Buen camino, Laurie
Hi all! New here, got the call, leaving in January 2017' . I am a lifetime hiker/ backpacker with much winter climbing experience. I asklooking for any details on what to expect and prepare for. Ie: How much/ frequency of snow, is camping allowed, water and food availability,are hostels/ albergues open year round, reservations necessary?, etc. Doing the hospitales route. Shooting for a 2 week outing. 20-30k per day. What do you think? CAMINOJOE
 
A

Anemone del Camino

Guest
#47
Hi all! New here, got the call, leaving in January 2017' . I am a lifetime hiker/ backpacker with much winter climbing experience. I asklooking for any details on what to expect and prepare for. Ie: How much/ frequency of snow, is camping allowed, water and food availability,are hostels/ albergues open year round, reservations necessary?, etc. Doing the hospitales route. Shooting for a 2 week outing. 20-30k per day. What do you think? CAMINOJOE
Joe,

I hate to break ot to you, but the Primitivo in January, and especially the Hospitales route... not so much. The hospitales route may be impracticable with snow knee or hip deep. And noone to rescue you.

Some albergues are open, others will be closed. Look at the Ersoki website for information on individual albergues. Heating may be optional, especially at night. Reservations will not be necessary as you will most likely be the only one on the trail. Oh, and camping is illegal in Spain.
 

TerryB

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Norte/Primitivo (April/May) 2009: Norte/Primitivo (parts) (April/May) 2010: Inglés (May) 2011: Primitivo (April/May) 2012: Norte / Camino de La Reina (April/May) 2013: Camino del Mar / Inglés (May/June) 2015
#48
Hi all! New here, got the call, leaving in January 2017' . I am a lifetime hiker/ backpacker with much winter climbing experience. I asklooking for any details on what to expect and prepare for. Ie: How much/ frequency of snow, is camping allowed, water and food availability,are hostels/ albergues open year round, reservations necessary?, etc. Doing the hospitales route. Shooting for a 2 week outing. 20-30k per day. What do you think? CAMINOJOE
There have been a number of threads like this one :-https://www.caminodesantiago.me/community/threads/the-camino-primitivo-16-march-2016-27-march-2016.38856/#post-386117 with no report back from the OP.
Maybe they did not go, or found it too difficult! The only thing is that you should always listen to, and take the advice of local people. They live with the weather conditions, year in and year out.
Hotels are usually open but not all albergues so check out before you need a bed - a list of phone numbers so that you can call ahead every day would be best. There is reasonable cover for mobiles now, but still uncertain in the mountains, so take extra care.
It has been done but you do need to be very experienced and prepared for blizzard / white out conditions.
Take care!
Blessings
Tio Tel
 

Thornley

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances [08 ]Portuguese [09 ]Le Puy[10] Norte[ 11] Madrid [12] Figeac - Pamplona [13] Mont Saint Michel - Bordeaux / St Palais - Pamplona [14] Moissac -Burgos [15] , Norte to Oviedo and then Primitivo [16]
Le Puy to Moissac and Dax to Santo Domingo
#49
Hi all! New here, got the call, leaving in January 2017' . I am a lifetime hiker/ backpacker with much winter climbing experience. I asklooking for any details on what to expect and prepare for. Ie: How much/ frequency of snow, is camping allowed, water and food availability,are hostels/ albergues open year round, reservations necessary?, etc. Doing the hospitales route. Shooting for a 2 week outing. 20-30k per day. What do you think? CAMINOJOE
Hi Joe,
It would be the last of all the camino i would try in winter .
Lonely, cold and if careless very dangerous.
If you go stay safe and keep us informed.
Best wishes,
D
 

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
#50
I have been following this discussion as I am walking in June. There has been nothing added to it since the end of 2016. Has anyone who walked it in 2017 anything further to add to the 2 routes or has it been covered comprehensively?
 

LakeMcD

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances 2015
Portuguese 2016
GR10/Norte/Primitivo 2017
Chemin LePuy: 2018
#51
We walked the upper route last summer and one young man in our group had to detour to the lower route even though he had planned to walk with us that day, unbeknownst to us he was short on funds and needed to make a trip to the ATM on the lower route. Guess the lesson is not only to plan your provisions and stages but also ATM stops for those stages.
 

Thornley

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances [08 ]Portuguese [09 ]Le Puy[10] Norte[ 11] Madrid [12] Figeac - Pamplona [13] Mont Saint Michel - Bordeaux / St Palais - Pamplona [14] Moissac -Burgos [15] , Norte to Oviedo and then Primitivo [16]
Le Puy to Moissac and Dax to Santo Domingo
#52
I have been following this discussion as I am walking in June. There has been nothing added to it since the end of 2016. Has anyone who walked it in 2017 anything further to add to the 2 routes or has it been covered comprehensively?
I think he was setting us up Jenny , you don't do the Primitivo in January .
Or he squibbed it
Or he is still out there .
Misty enough in June mate.
We loved the lower path because we wanted to stay in a certain village but it is hard because of the climb out.
 
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Knoepfchen

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Primitivo in August 2017
#53
I walked the Hospitales route last August. Highlight of my Camino. An early start is highly recommended - seeing the sun rise when halfway up was spectacular. Some folks went even earlier thanks to some hardcore snorers at the albergue, and the pictures they showed of seeing the sunrise from all the way up were jawdropping. We were very lucky in terms of the weather.
Take enough water - I ran out relying on an ATM that turned out to be out of order (and it looked like it had been OOO for a while), and while the weather was great for views, it was also insanely hot for the Primitivo, and I really got in trouble at the end. It's more of a real mountain hike than the rest of the Primitivo is, so some planning is required (not like I did).
There was a lot of albergue competition in Berducedo (the stage after). Several people had to walk on, and after that day, they weren't happy about it. At least one of the albergues there accepts reservations.
 

Attachments

#54
Just back - I had hoped to do the Hospitales route but starting from Tineo shortly after 7am could see nothing but fog so, in fact, I walked all the way to Pola on the road - I would rather not take the risk of being that high with poor visibility - and, believe it or not, there is still mud higher up that I avoided

From Pola, I walked up the quiet road in 1hr 40mins and then 30 mins of steeper climbing off-road to the summit - now that it's warmer, you'll need to bring sufficient water - certainly don't feel that you must do the Hospitales route come what may - just respect the altitude in any decision you make
 
Camino(s) past & future
Francés (Spring '17)
Primitivo (Spring '18)
TBD (2019)
#55
We have this decision to make tomorrow night or the next morning. I’d like to go for Hospitales but the weather might force us the other way.
 
Camino(s) past & future
No camino(s) yet. Camino Primitivo in May 2018.
Everest Base Camp April 2015
#56
It did not rain on the hospitales today. But aside from viewing the ruins, there was limited visibility. Also, the path down to Berducedo was in my opinion, extremely tough.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2015); Camino Norte/Primitivo (2016); Camino Frances (2017); Le Puy (June 2018)
#57
I had a great day on the Hospitales route in mid May 2016, however another pilgrim passed over it just one day later and it was so foggy he could barely see the posts in the ground that are supposed to guide you along the path to keep you from getting lost and possibly falling off a ridge. Make sure you ask about local weather reports before heading out in the morning.
 
Camino(s) past & future
2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016
#58
There's a bunch of forum members planning a Camino Primitivo, and I've recently gotten some questions privately on this particular issue, so I thought I'd just start a thread and let others share their opinions.

So, as most Primitivo planners know, when you get to the little hamlet of Borres, or actually a few km further on, there is a choice to make -- either go up the mountain on the Hospitales route or go from Borres to the town of Pola de Allande, and from there up to the mountain pass. The two routes come together at the high point, the Puerto de Palo, and from there down the mountain and on to Berducedo, there is just one route.

I think the differences between the two routes are several.

1. Distance -- to do the Hospitales route you have to be able to walk at least 26 km, with some elevation gain, that's the shortest distance between albergues (Borres to Berducedo). On the route through Pola, you can find ways to make the stages as short as 16 km or sometimes even less.

2. Elevation gain -- both routes wind up at the highest point, the Puerto de Palo, but actually the Hospitales route is easier in terms of total elevation gain and steepness of the incline. That's because the Hospitales ascent is spread out over more kms, and also because to get to Pola de Allende from Borres, you descend almost 200 meters. So the total elevation gain for the day you walk Hospitales to the Puerto de Palo is about 430 meters, and the total elevation gain for Pola de Allande to Puerto de Palo is about 620 meters.

3. Beauty -- Both routes, IMO, are beautiful. The route to Hospitales takes you up along a long ridge at the top, so you have some mighty fine views all around for a longer time. The route up from Pola is beautiful green tunnels, babbling brooks, fields and flowers, and then suddenly you emerge from that onto the bald mountain a little way below the Puerto (pass). Since both routes wind up at the pass, everyone gets to see something of the 360 degree views of the area.

4. Staging -- In my experience, this an important determinant of which route you will take, unless you are happy to take an unusually short or long stage to make it work. What I mean by that is that if you stay at Tineo, it may be too soon to stop in Borres (18 km), and only people like Beatrice would tackle Tineo to Berducedo via Hospitales (upwards of 45)! If you have your stages planned so you will sleep in Campiello or Borres, Hospitales may be a more logical stage because Borres (or even Campiello) to Pola is in the 11-14 km range.

5. Remoteness -- When you walk along the ridge on the Hospitales route you are far from roads and civilization for a bunch of kilometers (maybe 8?). On the walk up from Pola, you are never too far from the road, though it is rarely in your sight.

6. Weather -- Hospitales is not much fun on a fogged-in or rainy day, but walking to Pola or from Pola in those conditions wouldn't be a walk in the park either. Years ago, when I first walked the Primitivo, the markings up on the Hospitales this is very useful Laurie, thanks so much.route were inadequate and there was a lot of buzz about it being hard, dangerous, etc. That is no longer the case at all. I wouldn't walk it alone in heavy fog, but the markers are so close to each other that with two of you, you wouldn't get lost. Snow is a different story of course.

So, it's not a hugely consequential decision, I know, but since people have been asking, I thought I'd start a thread to collect all the relevant opinions!

Buen camino, Laurie
 

YoCo

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Future: Aug 2018 Frances
#60
There's a bunch of forum members planning a Camino Primitivo, and I've recently gotten some questions privately on this particular issue, so I thought I'd just start a thread and let others share their opinions.

So, as most Primitivo planners know, when you get to the little hamlet of Borres, or actually a few km further on, there is a choice to make -- either go up the mountain on the Hospitales route or go from Borres to the town of Pola de Allande, and from there up to the mountain pass. The two routes come together at the high point, the Puerto de Palo, and from there down the mountain and on to Berducedo, there is just one route.

I think the differences between the two routes are several.

1. Distance -- to do the Hospitales route you have to be able to walk at least 26 km, with some elevation gain, that's the shortest distance between albergues (Borres to Berducedo). On the route through Pola, you can find ways to make the stages as short as 16 km or sometimes even less.

2. Elevation gain -- both routes wind up at the highest point, the Puerto de Palo, but actually the Hospitales route is easier in terms of total elevation gain and steepness of the incline. That's because the Hospitales ascent is spread out over more kms, and also because to get to Pola de Allende from Borres, you descend almost 200 meters. So the total elevation gain for the day you walk Hospitales to the Puerto de Palo is about 430 meters, and the total elevation gain for Pola de Allande to Puerto de Palo is about 620 meters.

3. Beauty -- Both routes, IMO, are beautiful. The route to Hospitales takes you up along a long ridge at the top, so you have some mighty fine views all around for a longer time. The route up from Pola is beautiful green tunnels, babbling brooks, fields and flowers, and then suddenly you emerge from that onto the bald mountain a little way below the Puerto (pass). Since both routes wind up at the pass, everyone gets to see something of the 360 degree views of the area.

4. Staging -- In my experience, this an important determinant of which route you will take, unless you are happy to take an unusually short or long stage to make it work. What I mean by that is that if you stay at Tineo, it may be too soon to stop in Borres (18 km), and only people like Beatrice would tackle Tineo to Berducedo via Hospitales (upwards of 45)! If you have your stages planned so you will sleep in Campiello or Borres, Hospitales may be a more logical stage because Borres (or even Campiello) to Pola is in the 11-14 km range.

5. Remoteness -- When you walk along the ridge on the Hospitales route you are far from roads and civilization for a bunch of kilometers (maybe 8?). On the walk up from Pola, you are never too far from the road, though it is rarely in your sight.

6. Weather -- Hospitales is not much fun on a fogged-in or rainy day, but walking to Pola or from Pola in those conditions wouldn't be a walk in the park either. Years ago, when I first walked the Primitivo, the markings up on the Hospitales route were inadequate and there was a lot of buzz about it being hard, dangerous, etc. That is no longer the case at all. I wouldn't walk it alone in heavy fog, but the markers are so close to each other that with two of you, you wouldn't get lost. Snow is a different story of course.

So, it's not a hugely consequential decision, I know, but since people have been asking, I thought I'd start a thread to collect all the relevant opinions!

Buen camino, Laurie
There's a bunch of forum members planning a Camino Primitivo, and I've recently gotten some questions privately on this particular issue, so I thought I'd just start a thread and let others share their opinions.

So, as most Primitivo planners know, when you get to the little hamlet of Borres, or actually a few km further on, there is a choice to make -- either go up the mountain on the Hospitales route or go from Borres to the town of Pola de Allande, and from there up to the mountain pass. The two routes come together at the high point, the Puerto de Palo, and from there down the mountain and on to Berducedo, there is just one route.

I think the differences between the two routes are several.

1. Distance -- to do the Hospitales route you have to be able to walk at least 26 km, with some elevation gain, that's the shortest distance between albergues (Borres to Berducedo). On the route through Pola, you can find ways to make the stages as short as 16 km or sometimes even less.

2. Elevation gain -- both routes wind up at the highest point, the Puerto de Palo, but actually the Hospitales route is easier in terms of total elevation gain and steepness of the incline. That's because the Hospitales ascent is spread out over more kms, and also because to get to Pola de Allende from Borres, you descend almost 200 meters. So the total elevation gain for the day you walk Hospitales to the Puerto de Palo is about 430 meters, and the total elevation gain for Pola de Allande to Puerto de Palo is about 620 meters.

3. Beauty -- Both routes, IMO, are beautiful. The route to Hospitales takes you up along a long ridge at the top, so you have some mighty fine views all around for a longer time. The route up from Pola is beautiful green tunnels, babbling brooks, fields and flowers, and then suddenly you emerge from that onto the bald mountain a little way below the Puerto (pass). Since both routes wind up at the pass, everyone gets to see something of the 360 degree views of the area.

So, it's not a hugely consequential decision, I know, but since people have been asking, I thought I'd start a thread to collect all the relevant opinions!

Buen camino, Laurie
I walked the Pola route and I felt I got the best of both beautiful landscapes. I got the amazing green brook that took my breath away and could have spent an hour there sitting on the bench just meditating. So overwhelmingly beautiful! Then I got to see the amazing view once at the top. Plus, I went through Porciles and encountered this Las Vegas looking store of all kinds of Camino trinkets (some would hate it I'm sure but I thought it was fun and very entertaining 😁). I felt fortunate to get the best of both worlds.

20180928_102018.jpg 20180928_102018.jpg 20180928_102018.jpg 20180927_143706.jpg
 

Ian Afloat

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF July 25th 2017 from SJPDP
#61
Thanks for this. Hoping to walk the Primitivo in August after volunteering at the muni in Grado. Do we think that 11 or 12 days from Grado to Santiago is a reasonable amount of time to complete the route and still appreciate the surroundings?
 

Thornley

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances [08 ]Portuguese [09 ]Le Puy[10] Norte[ 11] Madrid [12] Figeac - Pamplona [13] Mont Saint Michel - Bordeaux / St Palais - Pamplona [14] Moissac -Burgos [15] , Norte to Oviedo and then Primitivo [16]
Le Puy to Moissac and Dax to Santo Domingo
#62
Thanks for this. Hoping to walk the Primitivo in August after volunteering at the muni in Grado. Do we think that 11 or 12 days from Grado to Santiago is a reasonable amount of time to complete the route and still appreciate the surroundings?
Just
 
Camino(s) past & future
2016
1st Primitivo 2018
#63
You know,,, I like to look and look. The ?crocus? , little purple flower in the chestnut woods, it’s just so tiny and yet so resilient, the heaps of different fungi/mushrooms growing from under trees and sides of hedgerows. The varieties of moss, I even saw a gum tree - Aussie native. I wouldn’t see them if I was worried about ‘clocking 20k’s’
Photos are great reminders but when your really looking. Wow. The beauty is everywhere. So rushing and trying to ‘get to Santiago’ isn’t a priority - well, sorry not for me. I know it’s 12days for some or 20ks/ day. But I don’t want to stop looking to remember for later, at work or vacuuming or doing a walk at home So 12:days or 21 days arrive when you get there. Let your mind wander through this marvellous experience and unchain your moorings to time. Buen Camino x
 

Ian Afloat

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF July 25th 2017 from SJPDP
#64
You know,,, I like to look and look. The ?crocus? , little purple flower in the chestnut woods, it’s just so tiny and yet so resilient, the heaps of different fungi/mushrooms growing from under trees and sides of hedgerows. The varieties of moss, I even saw a gum tree - Aussie native. I wouldn’t see them if I was worried about ‘clocking 20k’s’
Photos are great reminders but when your really looking. Wow. The beauty is everywhere. So rushing and trying to ‘get to Santiago’ isn’t a priority - well, sorry not for me. I know it’s 12days for some or 20ks/ day. But I don’t want to stop looking to remember for later, at work or vacuuming or doing a walk at home So 12:days or 21 days arrive when you get there. Let your mind wander through this marvellous experience and unchain your moorings to time. Buen Camino x
Unfortunately my employers would have an issue with that!
 
Camino(s) past & future
Francés (Spring '17)
Primitivo (Spring '18)
TBD (2019)
#65
Thanks for this. Hoping to walk the Primitivo in August after volunteering at the muni in Grado. Do we think that 11 or 12 days from Grado to Santiago is a reasonable amount of time to complete the route and still appreciate the surroundings?
Yes, it is reasonable. We did 11 walking days from San Juan de Villapañada (about 4.5km past Grado) to Santiago, walking about 25km per day, with an additional rest day in Lugo. You appreciate the surroundings while you walk! ;)

The Gronze stages call for 12 days Grado-Santiago, but their first three stages out of Grado aren't really optimal, in my opinion. They call for Grado-Salas-Tineo-Borres, including one day of less than 16km, whereas we did a similar distance in one fewer day as San Juan de Villapañada-Bodenaya-Campiello.

¡Buen camino!
 
Camino(s) past & future
started in 2012, hooked ever since.
#66
Here are some pics to give you an idea of the uphills on the Hospitales route - some are gentle climbs and what I remember as two of the steeper bits are pictured as well. Perhaps because we had perfect weather, we found the uphills to be exhilarating rather than difficult. And a good portion is walking along the ridges. The wind crossing the cols was something else, and the downhill caused us grief (daughter went over forwards and how she managed to stop rolling on to the bottom is nothing short of a miracle - I honestly believe that, so please do be careful there - the last pic shows the spot) View attachment 12199 View attachment 12200 View attachment 12201 View attachment 12202 View attachment 12203 )
@Kiwi-family thanks for the wonderful photos which bring back memories of my own Hospitales walk last year. It is something I will not forget. The big thing was the weather, it was perfect, not sure I personally would have attempted it in fog or heavy rain (or snow conditions). In Berducedo, the locals tell you if they would recommend walking it depending on the weather. It is longish but so varied and exhilarating. I had lunch under a tree hear the top and it was just a rare experience. There is a big of a steep climb before the top, and you need to pick your way a bit but, even for me, I found it very doable. I love the fact that at times there were people behind and in front of me and at others I seemed to be the only person on the mountain. And then at the end before the town of Grandas de Salime, there is a short walk through a wonderful little forest which seems enchanted (or maybe it was just me!!).

View attachment 12199 View attachment 12200 View attachment 12201 View attachment 12202 View attachment 12203 )[/QUOTE]
 
Camino(s) past & future
started in 2012, hooked ever since.
#67
sorry got my towns wrong, started from Campiello to start the Hospitales and walked to Berducedo (not Grandas de Salime - that's a day's walk for Beatrice). I am hopeless at routes and am always amazed at how I arrive where I need to be - Ho hum!!
 

Ian Afloat

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF July 25th 2017 from SJPDP
#68
Yes, it is reasonable. We did 11 walking days from San Juan de Villapañada (about 4.5km past Grado) to Santiago, walking about 25km per day, with an additional rest day in Lugo. You appreciate the surroundings while you walk! ;)

The Gronze stages call for 12 days Grado-Santiago, but their first three stages out of Grado aren't really optimal, in my opinion. They call for Grado-Salas-Tineo-Borres, including one day of less than 16km, whereas we did a similar distance in one fewer day as San Juan de Villapañada-Bodenaya-Campiello.

¡Buen camino!
Thanks. My natural distance is about 25 - 30km per day so looks like it is manageable
 

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