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Hospitales vs Pola De Allende

Past OR future Camino
Future
I am working on planning the details of the route of Camino Primitivo and I caught another snag…

I keep seeing many of you mentioning the Hospitales trail and how incredible it is - I was super excited about it until I noticed that going there means bypassing the Pola de Allande… and - it’s such a beautiful town!!!

Perhaps I am looking at my maps all wrong and that’s not the case… I am super confused about this stretch of the road…

Any thoughts?
 
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dgallen

Member
Past OR future Camino
Camino Frances (6), Primitivo(3), Finisterre/Muxia (3), Aragones, Norte, Portuguese, Camino del Rey
On my three Primitivo Caminos I did the Hospitales route twice and via Pola de Allande once. I love the Hospitales and it is one of my favourite day long walks of any Camino. My second time on it I watched for almost 1/2 hour a wild horse giving birth about 20 feet off the trail, just past the hospital ruins.

My last Primitivo visit I decided to do the Pola de Allande variant as I heard good things about it. It was very nice, a fairly easy walk along the river (up to the town) and quiet (most pilgrims go the Hospitales) The town of PdA is fine (I wouldn't call it amazing IMHO and wouldn't make that the reason to go that route). The walk up the mountain from there was pretty arduous though and quite frankly the Hospitales was much easier. Weather permitting it is the Hospitales every time.

If you want to see Pola I would walk the Hospitales to Berducedo and then take the shuttle bus back to PdA and stay at the Albergue there. Then take the shuttle back to Berducedo the next day. Hospitale Horse.jpg
 
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F

Former member 31048

Guest
@U20C_Katherine i agrée with above. Disclaimer: I’ve only ever walked the Hospitales route (twice) and read about the other but based on what I’ve read and people,I’ve spoken to - if you have the opportunity to walk the Hospitales route, I would do. I’ve walked it on a clear day and a misty day. Both wonderful. And those wild horses at the top …. That’s something.

One general comment I’d make about researching and planning your Camino. Reading or hearing about others wonderful experiences fills us with so many possibilities - it can make it difficult to choose. As in other aspects of life, you can get a sense of FOMO (fear of missing out) - I’ve experienced it. A voice that says - if go this way, I won’t see that. If I stay in this town, in this albergue - where I’d like to stop - I’ll miss that one 8 kms on that someone said was the best they’ve stayed in etc. etc. But whatever choices you make, I can almost guarantee you’ll have wonderful experiences, stay in memorable places and meet interesting people.

Take the path that calls you the most. 🙏
 
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peregrino_tom

Member
Past OR future Camino
.
One general comment I’d make about researching and planning your Camino. Reading or hearing about others wonderful experiences fills us with so many possibilities - it can make it difficult to choose. As in other aspects of life, you can get a sense of FOMO (fear of missing out) - I’ve experienced it. A voice that says - if go this way, I won’t see that. If I stay in this town, in this albergue - where I’d like to stop - I’ll miss that one 8 kms on that someone said was the best they’ve stayed in etc. etc. But whatever choices you make, I can almost guarantee you’ll have wonderful experiences, stay in memorable places and meet interesting people.
This.
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
You’ve gotten good advice! But in case you are confused about the geography, the Gronze map is a good one.
04461E41-7268-46DE-B718-E5EAE92E7DD9.png


Hospitales is an easier route but it’s more remote, 15 km with no services. You walk along a ridge for many kms with views in all directions — not high mountains, but very nice.

Weather, companionship, and the stages you wind up taking are all going to be factors and they are unpredictable, so I think the best thing is to be aware of the two alternatives and then make the decision when you get there. There’s no wrong choice.

This thread discusses the differences between the two routes. It’s old, but still accurate, IMO.

 
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Camino Chrissy

Take one step forward...then keep on walking..
Past OR future Camino
Frances 2015;
Norte/Primitivo 2016;
Frances 2017;
Le Puy 2018;
Portuguese/FishermanTr. 2019
I agree with the above comments and the Hospitales route is outstanding. I had a beautiful sunny day. However, we a bunk mate who went up and over in treacherous fog/mist the very next day and could not see in front of him in spite of side markers that had been added. He was quite shaken, not to mention he missed much of the beauty. I would ask about weather predictions the morning of, before making a final decision on which of the two routes to take. I was informed ahead of time by the proprieter that it was going to be a good day to go up and over.
 
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Smallest_Sparrow

Life is rarely what you expect or believe it to be
Past OR future Camino
2012: most of some, all of a few, a bit of others
Definitely read the thread @peregrina2000 posted, especially tia valeria and TerryB posts. IMO Hospitales was the best day of the best Camino but I admit I’ve never done the other road. @Tia Valeria and her husband describe how they walked the alternate road to Pola de Allende then crossed over, and another time walked backwards from the point the two roads rejoin, getting a little of both roads. They gave me invaluable advice about the Primitivo

Buen Camino! And be sure to tell everyone how terrible it was so it doesn’t get too crowded 🤫
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
I would ask about weather predictions the morning of, before making a final decision on which of the two routes to take.
Totally agree, but I would take Hospitales under most any conditions other than total snow whiteout or impenetrable fog. At least if walking with someone. The markers are spaced very close together, and can be navigated by a ”tag team” using voice. That’s not ideal, but having to do the descent to Pola de Allande in heavy rain is AWFUL. Parts of the camino turn into rushing downhill water. I would much rather walk on Hospitales in the rain. Unless it’s a thunderstorm of course. And then once you get to Pola, you’ve descended 400 m, which you then just have to add to the ascent you have to make anyway.

Both places wind up in Puerto de Palo, so you have to get up there no matter how you do it. And both places have the rocky descent from the pass down to Montefurado, so you have to go back down no matter which route you took up.
 

Camino Chrissy

Take one step forward...then keep on walking..
Past OR future Camino
Frances 2015;
Norte/Primitivo 2016;
Frances 2017;
Le Puy 2018;
Portuguese/FishermanTr. 2019
Laurie, you make some very good points, and I agree with your observations. That said, you are a seasoned walker with a large variety of 20 or more Caminos to your credit. Katherine is a newbie and may not be quite as fearless in inclement weather on a mountain with poor visibility as someone with your experience.

Edit- On the other hand, maybe she has done a lot of hiking elsewhere and is only a Camino newbie.
 
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Thomas Yingst

Tom ... “the kid”
Past OR future Camino
Portugal. May 2019
I agree with the above comments and the Hospitales route is outstanding. I had a beautiful sunny day. However, we a bunk mate who went up and over in treacherous fog/mist the very next day and could not see in front of him in spite of side markers that had been added. He was quite shaken, not to mention he missed much of the beauty. I would ask about weather predictions the morning of, before making a final decision on which of the two routes to take. I was informed ahead of time by the proprieter that it was going to be a good day to go up and over.
Agree … I was up there during rain and fog and got lost … could not see the views … luckily I ran into another guy that was lost too .. he had a gps app that got us back on the trail up by the Roman ponds … quite an adventure !!
 

jsalt

Jill
Past OR future Camino
Portugués, Francés, LePuy, Rota Vicentina, Norte, Madrid, C2C, Salvador, Primitivo, Aragonés, Inglés
I walked the Hospitales route alone. I was the last to leave the Borres albergue, and I’m a slow walker anyway, but the weather forecast was good, so I set off . .

and it was the best day of my Primitivo without a doubt.

I wouldn’t have gone that way if the weather was bad though, so I don’t think you can decide until you get there.
 

focalmatter

Member
I just walked Hospitales the other day and it was phenomenal. I started late in the day (early afternoon) since I was camping and didn't have to worry about getting off the mountain by sundown.

The walk was spectacular. There was no one around for miles since all the other pilgrims had started in the morning. I had the entire place to myself. Easily one of the best parts of my entire walk.
 

alipilgrim

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
Listed in my signature
I walked in 2019. When I arrived at the split between the two routes I decided that although I really wanted to do the Hospitales route, there just wasn’t enough time left in the day, so I walked down to Pola. I kept regretting my decision the whole afternoon (even though I loved the 3-course lunch and comfortable room at the hotel there). Then I had the brilliant idea to book a taxi in the morning to take me back to the split, where I could continue on the Hospitales route! The route ended up being socked in dense fog for much of it, and while I absolutely loved the eerie atmosphere it did take some concentration to spot each waymark. But once you find one you walk up to it, pause, find the next, and walk on - like a scavenger hunt!

And the taxi driver knew exactly where to drop me off, giving me instructions in basic English on how to get back to the Camino. This was very reassuring as I did not have enough basic Spanish to ask!
 
Past OR future Camino
2021
On my three Primitivo Caminos I did the Hospitales route twice and via Pola de Allande once. I love the Hospitales and it is one of my favourite day long walks of any Camino. My second time on it I watched for almost 1/2 hour a wild horse giving birth about 20 feet off the trail, just past the hospital ruins.

My last Primitivo visit I decided to do the Pola de Allande variant as I heard good things about it. It was very nice, a fairly easy walk along the river (up to the town) and quiet (most pilgrims go the Hospitales) The town of PdA is fine (I wouldn't call it amazing IMHO and wouldn't make that the reason to go that route). The walk up the mountain from there was pretty arduous though and quite frankly the Hospitales was much easier. Weather permitting it is the Hospitales every time.

If you want to see Pola I would walk the Hospitales to Berducedo and then take the shuttle bus back to PdA and stay at the Albergue there. Then take the shuttle back to Berducedo the next day. View attachment 111085
Just WOW.
 
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