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Is Spanish fluency essential on the Primativo?

Past OR future Camino
Frances (2013) Frances (2014) St. Oswald's Way (2015) Le Puy (2016) Portugues (2018)
Hola, pilgrims. My 23-year-old daughter and I are debating (endlessly, I'm afraid) whether to walk the Primativo or a chunk of the French Way this September. We speak a little "transactional Spanish" but can't converse in Spanish. It looks to me like MOST Primativo pilgrims speak Spanish, based on comments I see posted. Is Spanish fluency needed, in your opinion? I fear the waymarking will prove inadequate and we might be challenged to understand directions from locals, etc. Although Spanish is certainly desirable on all routes, I did not feel it was essential on the French Way. I would appreciate your thoughts on the Primativo. Best, Rebecca
 
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Tia Valeria

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
Pt Norte/Pmtvo 2010
C. Inglés 2011
C. Primitivo '12
Norte-C. de la Reina '13
C. do Mar-C. Inglés '15
Transactional Spanish should serve you well enough. The signing is good, just learn left (izquierda) right (derecha) straight on (directo). Feo (fayo) means very bad. If someone tells you the camino is 'feo' take the diversion!!
Buen Camino
 
Past OR future Camino
Frances (2013) Frances (2014) St. Oswald's Way (2015) Le Puy (2016) Portugues (2018)
Thanks, Tia Valeria! Looks like you have walked MANY routes and I appreciate the reassurance. Regards, Rebecca
 

tipperary

Member
Thanks, Tia Valeria! Looks like you have walked MANY routes and I appreciate the reassurance. Regards, Rebecca
Hi Rebecca,
Just back from Primativo. Fear not,its well signed. I was surprised with the number of English speakers on this route. Native Spanish speakers were in a minority. I dont speak Spanish and this did not present any problems in securing keys to Albergues when I arrived early.
This is a very scenic route with more ascent and descent than on the Frances . Villages are less frequent ,fewer shops, cafes. In comparison with the camino Frances its a less traveled route with about 30 pilgrims per stage in early June. Even though many pilgrims had started at the French border I found starting in Oviedo no barrier to integrating.
Buen camino
Justin
 
Past OR future Camino
Frances (2013) Frances (2014) St. Oswald's Way (2015) Le Puy (2016) Portugues (2018)
Hi Rebecca,
Just back from Primativo. Fear not,its well signed. I was surprised with the number of English speakers on this route. Native Spanish speakers were in a minority. I dont speak Spanish and this did not present any problems in securing keys to Albergues when I arrived early.
This is a very scenic route with more ascent and descent than on the Frances . Villages are less frequent ,fewer shops, cafes. In comparison with the camino Frances its a less traveled route with about 30 pilgrims per stage in early June. Even though many pilgrims had started at the French border I found starting in Oviedo no barrier to integrating.
Buen camino
Justin
Wonderful to hear, Justin. You have alleviated fears on two fronts -- waymarking and language difficulties. Were you easily able to find accommodations each night? It looks like many more people are walking the Primativo this year. If you've walked the Frances route, too, how would you compare the two experiences? Thanks, again. Regards, Rebecca
 
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Harington

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
Vézelay/Francés 2011, Primitivo 2012, VdlP 2013, Via Domitia 2014, Inglés 2015, Francigena 2016
Wonderful to hear, Justin. You have alleviated fears on two fronts -- waymarking and language difficulties. Were you easily able to find accommodations each night? It looks like many more people are walking the Primativo this year. If you've walked the Frances route, too, how would you compare the two experiences? Thanks, again. Regards, Rebecca
Primitivo: really depends on your walking fitness. Some hills just go on and on, but that said I was 65 when I did it, and coped fine. There is plenty of accommodation, and your first 'hospitalero' should be able to give you a printed list of albergues, and the distances between them. Everyone appreciates even a few stumbling words of Spanish, and obviously the more the better, but that said you'll be fine with the basics. It is the most stunningly beautiful route. Start, if you can, at Villaviciosa rather than oviedo, as you'll get fantastic views eastwards to the Picos. Buen Camino!
 

tipperary

Member
Wonderful to hear, Justin. You have alleviated fears on two fronts -- waymarking and language difficulties. Were you easily able to find accommodations each night? It looks like many more people are walking the Primativo this year. If you've walked the Frances route, too, how would you compare the two experiences? Thanks, again. Regards, Rebecca
Hi Rebecca,
No problems finding places to stay early June, In fact I always found a lower bunk. I stayed in private accommodations on a few occasions. Kms on many days are often pre-determined by available places to stay. Due to this being a hilly route kms walked each day are less than on the Frances. There are less services than the Frances so I carried some extra food in case so I found it useful to be more organised. I was lucky with the weather, but i was carrying more clothes than I would on the Frances. I reckon at least a one season sleeping bag is needed in june.
I would rate the experience as being superior to the Frances, this was enhanced by the much smaller number of pilgrims. This is a demanding mountain camino that I hope to walk again at 70 .
I used the confraternity of St James Guidebook. Many pilgrims were using the Cicerone guide which had lots of extra info, profiles etc. I should add a guidebook is essential on this route.
Buen Camino .Enjoy
Justin
 

Thomas1962

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
2010/2011/2012/2013: Madrid -Salvador -Primitivo 2014: EPW 2015: Amsterdam - SdC
I speak no spanish and did it, no problem at all. Don't worry, you'll be fine. You will pick up some words quickly. It is difficult to get lost, but if you do and meet someone you just put your finger towards any direction and ask: camino? No is no and si is yes... :)
And don't forget the cafe con leche!
 
Past OR future Camino
Frances (2013) Frances (2014) St. Oswald's Way (2015) Le Puy (2016) Portugues (2018)
I speak no spanish and did it, no problem at all. Don't worry, you'll be fine. You will pick up some words quickly. It is difficult to get lost, but if you do and meet someone you just put your finger towards any direction and ask: camino? No is no and si is yes... :)
And don't forget the cafe con leche!
Thanks so much, John, Justin and Thomas. Really appreciate your input. We'll follow your advice on guidebooks. And, since it looks like temperature variations are greater than on the Frances, looks like more layers would be advisable in September, right? Regards, Rebecca
 

Mountainman

El Croco loco
Past OR future Camino
Past: Camino Frances
(StJ-Santiago) 2007, 2009
(StJ-Fisterra) 2011, 2012
Future:
Camino del Salvador 8/2014
Camino Primitivo 8/2014?
Camino del Norte 9/2014,
and hopefully many more yet unplanned
Thanks so much, John, Justin and Thomas. Really appreciate your input. We'll follow your advice on guidebooks. And, since it looks like temperature variations are greater than on the Frances, looks like more layers would be advisable in September, right? Regards, Rebecca

From what I've heard, September could be the nicest month weather wise! Having said that, layering options are always good! I'll be doing the Norte & probably Primitivo in September this year, and am still contemplating either my 3/4 pants or long ones... Dont like zipoffs... Other than that, I think I am set!

PS Emphasis on COULD be, not making promises! and bringing raingear ;-)
 
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peregrina2013

New Member
Past OR future Camino
SJPP a Santiago- 07 2013, Primitivo, 09 2014. San Francisco 06 2016
I may see you out there, Rebecca. I start walking from Oviedo on August 30th. I had the same questions for clothing, albergues and weather but I try not to worry- seems like the Camino always provides if you trust! That said, I bring a few layers to ensure being warm- just do washing every day. Buen Camino!
 

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