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LIVE from the Camino @kcaldaba on the Olvidado (with another geezer)

kcaldaba

It ain’t over yet!
Past OR future Camino
Frances, (2016); Norte, (2018); Primitivo, (2019);
First day on the Olvidado, with plans to walk to Ponferrada and connect with Invierno into Santiago. Very pleasantly surprised with how well marked it is. Took the Stage 12A option in the Olvidado app. Used Wise Pilgrims offline map as backup GPS. Not surprisingly, saw no other pilgrims. I found nothing open—the bar in La Ercina is closed and for sale—bring food. Most of the towns have water available, so no issue there. Uphill for the first two thirds, but gentle. Overall, a very pleasant walk—about 80 percent well maintained dirt and gravel roads, and the rest asphalt with minimal traffic. A very nice Camino day—flowers blooming everywhere, most wild orchids I’ve seen. Only loose dogs were friendly. Unfortunately that included the stray (but nice) black lab that followed (led) me to Bonar the last 90 minutes. Didn’t encourage him, but couldn’t shake him.
 

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kcaldaba

It ain’t over yet!
Past OR future Camino
Frances, (2016); Norte, (2018); Primitivo, (2019);
First, it was a beautiful day. Second, two geezers over 70 should not try this route except on beautiful days with temperatures in the 60’s or below. It’s a challenging route—one of the best views ever after the first summit. Not such a great view after the second summit, which wears out old guys.
Then there are many miles left—8 or so— to get to Veracervega. We found no services other than local water fountains between Bonar and Veracervega. Be sure to stock up on water before you begin the ascents. Take plenty of food as well. If it’s a rainy day, in my opinion, the effort is not worth the reward. Conversely, on a day like we experienced, (having each walked the Norte, Primitivo, Frances, etc.) it’s a top 3 view matched with a top 3 level of difficulty. You get what you pay for. BC65A4C1-1D3C-4AA1-81DA-6D46BE182F2D.jpeg 9A2AEC12-593F-4467-969F-4B5FA7F3E445.jpeg 73535B50-36AB-4BA0-895B-3519A7B1E4CC.jpeg E1F7225D-222B-4239-B02C-E90C8D1213CB.jpeg
 

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peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
Oh, yes, this is one of those 5 star days that you can’t find on many caminos. Pictures just can’t capture the majesty that hits you in the face as you reach the top and see the mountains spread out all in front of you. I was 69 when I last did it, and I am now encouraged by your post that I should try it again in a few years. :p

Those many long kms along the road into Vegacervera are quite the slog, aren’t they? I’m assuming you are in the cabins and hopefully there aren’t too many wild groups of teenagers enjoying their freedom after a hard day of outdoor activities.

If you stay in the albergue in La Magdalena, please report back. It looks spectacular! And I think that Vegarienza has got their acogida open for pilgrims, but I’m sure they will know that in La Magdalena.

Thanks for the lovely pictures, buen camino, Laurie
 
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kcaldaba

It ain’t over yet!
Past OR future Camino
Frances, (2016); Norte, (2018); Primitivo, (2019);
Stage 14B— Vegacervera to La Pola de Gordon. Interesting day. The walk out of Vegacervera is very pleasant, asphalt to Coladilla and then leaves the road through the forest. That starts out pleasant as well and then turns somewhat mean. There has been very little rain, but a big part of the path is rocky (to be expected) and quite wet. A number of streams constitute the path, both uphill and downhill. Because the path is so rarely traveled, much of it is overgrown with grass. Given that it’s spring, however, the wildflowers are spectacular.
Decision time arrives when you reach Villar. A kilometer after that is the descent to the bottom of the gulch. @QuailHiker and I had already decided that there are at least two things guys in their 70’s shouldn’t do— wear skinny jeans and tackle a notoriously difficult descent from which there is no turning back once you begin. It would be great if a future peregrino was able to share detailed photos or a video of the descent so that a more informed judgment could be made.
Instead we took the road to LaVid. Our plan was for the day to end in La Pola de Gordon, so we each got there in different ways. Laurie just posted a preferred option to get there. In the alternative, if someone has walked the gulch, the Camino also takes you to LaVid. From there the current path currently takes you through Buiza and on to La Pola de Gordon. CF4B094E-4472-4E6C-9F70-1DAEEA959FC9.jpeg CF4B094E-4472-4E6C-9F70-1DAEEA959FC9.jpeg 2C2F323C-CBF0-4005-A402-C3B9B9F08023.jpeg A6ED8BE5-007E-4AFB-A382-74AA51C47D9A.jpeg pp F4ACC471-C965-4C8D-A633-D26AF1B43969.jpeg 77E99F45-10FB-4B93-975C-F1A0AB070845.jpeg
 
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Albertagirl

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
Frances; Aragones; VdlP; Madrid-Invierno; Levante
two geezers over 70 should not try this route except on beautiful days with temperatures in the 60’s or below.
What about one mountain-loving (female) geezer over 70 and flexible to try easier routes when the weather requires? I have been longing to walk the Olvidado for years, and I am not getting any younger.
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
Second, two geezers over 70

Ender sent me a picture of the other geezer from their chance encounter in Ciñera, but I don’t want to post it without permission. Let me know.

It would be great if a future peregrino was able to share detailed photos or a video of the descent so that a more informed judgment could be made.

I think most of us who do that descent are too nervous watching each step to even think of taking pictures. I posted a video a few years back of someone else who walked it. It did not capture the really hairy parts, but shows some of the early part of the descent where you start picking over the rocks inch by inch.


I would do it again, I think, but only in good weather. And I was lucky that my pal Alun didn’t have sticks and wanted to use one of mine, because doing this with two sticks would be very cumbersome, you really need at least one hand to grab from time t time.
 

kcaldaba

It ain’t over yet!
Past OR future Camino
Frances, (2016); Norte, (2018); Primitivo, (2019);
What about one mountain-loving (female) geezer over 70 and flexible to try easier routes when the weather requires? I have been longing to walk the Olvidado for years, and I am not getting any younger.
I’m only four days into this, and your question deserves a thoughtful response. We can have a detailed discussion at some point if you want to explore this.
 
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I think most of us who do that descent are too nervous watching each step to even think of taking pictures. I posted a video a few years back of someone else who walked it. It did not capture the really hairy parts, but shows some of the early part of the descent where you start picking over the rocks inch by inch.
I am not so spooked by heights, but this section does give me pause. When people like Alan post things like this, you know it's not just a run of the mill steep rocky descent:
The only bit of the Olvidado where I felt seriously scared (and definitely had to use my hands) was the descent from Villar del Puerto to the Faedo de Ciñera after Vegacervera. Something like a cliff, and very slippery as it was pouring with rain when I went down there. Even that wasn't what I'd consider mountaineering, and is probably fine on a dry day. And very pretty once you get onto a flat bit and can enjoy it
That said, I would hope to be able to go this way. Weather permitting, from the sound of it.
 

Albertagirl

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
Frances; Aragones; VdlP; Madrid-Invierno; Levante
I am not so spooked by heights, but this section does give me pause. When people like Alan post things like this, you know it's not just a run of the mill steep rocky descent:

That said, I would hope to be able to go this way. Weather permitting, from the sound of it.
Alan's downward scramble sounds like the most challenging of some slopes that I managed in the Rockies in my younger days, and never in the rain. I would, and will, be looking for a safer alternate route if I am able to walk the Olvidado at some point in the future. And I wonder how that part of the route could ever have been managed by the significant number of pilgrims to Santiago who are thought to have walked the Olvidado in the early days of the pilgrimage.
 

QuailHiker

Member
Past OR future Camino
Camino Frances (2016)
Camino del Norte y Primitivo (2018)
Laurie: Not sure if you got this message but you certainly have my permission to post the picture with Ender

Fred
 
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kcaldaba

It ain’t over yet!
Past OR future Camino
Frances, (2016); Norte, (2018); Primitivo, (2019);
Stage 15B—La Pola de Gordon—Lots to talk about with this stage, particularly combined with the previous two. This is not a Camino like any other. If you are able to walk all three days as staged on the Olvidado app, it’s a combined experience like no other I’ve experienced.

Today—first, given the difficulty, try to start out of La Pola and not Buiza. It’s long and if you can shorten the day a little, you’ll be glad. Next La Pola after the bridge is tricky to find the underground path under the train track. Look up Laurie’s posts. The path after the first town is great—well maintained dirt and gravel, steady uphill for 2-3 hours or so, two separate summits. My head was in the clouds the whole time, so hard to comment on the views. However, never have I had such a long stretch with no people, no footprints, no tire tracks, no noise other than birds and wind. Gorse and heather lining the path most of the way. If it’s hot, take plenty of water. There are a couple of fountains, but unclear if they’re potable.

After the final summit walk straight thru the meadow and you’ll see the path. Comfortable downhill to finish Phase 1. Then you turn left, the path narrows and you follow the robust stream into the Calderones—stone walls on both sides, with clouds like today it’s straight from Lord of the Rings. Follow the wall lined path until you reach a six foot drop off you have to scramble down. (It could be 5 feet, I’m not as tall as I used to be.) The path goes straight through the bottom of the gulch. Scramble over and around the huge rocks. Trust me, I spent way too much time trying figure it out. This goes on for a while, then you emerge and the rest is straightforward. GPS is a must—either the Olvidado app, the Wise Pilgrim app, or a Wikiloc track.

I’ve concluded these three days on this route option are as more like Outward Bound than they are like most pilgrims think of the traditional Camino experience. Amazing, but significantly more challenging.
 

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QuailHiker

Member
Past OR future Camino
Camino Frances (2016)
Camino del Norte y Primitivo (2018)
The beautiful new albergue in La Magdalena.
 

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peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
What a wonderful early morning surprise. I had been trying to send a donation to Estela in Vegarienza for a couple of weeks now, but electronic funds transfer from the US is complicated and expensive. These two wonderful guys became my “coyote.” :D

If you stay in Vegarienza, the facilities are probably a letdown from the luxury of La Magdalena. But the hospitality and kindness are overflowing. When I walked the Olvidado in 2019, this little village had a small albergue in the apartment above the doctor’s office. Estela, who lives down the road, admitted pilgrims and kept things in order. Then last year, the ayuntamiento closed it. She and a tiny band of friends have rented a small space to provide “acogida“ for pilgrims.

Estela was very emotional when we talked and thanks you two as well for your very generous donativo. She knows there was a language barrier, but said she was sure you all understood each other.

This is what I really miss about the camino. Pre-reserved private rooms just can’t compete with this.


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kcaldaba

It ain’t over yet!
Past OR future Camino
Frances, (2016); Norte, (2018); Primitivo, (2019);
Stage 16—La Magdalena to Vegarienza. We knew in advance today would be tricky because we had no reservations. The standard stage ends in Riello—nothing available, Pandorado next—nothing available.
We had a great Albergue and great host—Dulio—last night in La Magdalena. Out the door at 7:15, and the uphill starts pretty quickly, steep climbs into the clouds, hit final summit around 10. Loose dogs in last two towns before Riello, but luckily not aggressive, at least today. At one point the biggest field of wild orchids I’ve ever seen. The tienda in Riello is on the left off the road just as you reach town. We both missed it and had to backtrack. Important to stock up here.
Reached Pandorado just before 3. We’re both toast and the next town with an Albergue is Vegarienza, which is over 6km away. We decided the geezers had paraded enough for one day. Fred used his rudimentary Spanish
and figured out how to get us a taxi. After a few twists and turns we made it to the Albergue, met Estela (who’s a sweetheart), and set up dinner down the road. Ah, the pilgrim life.
 

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peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
and set up dinner down the road.
I am hoping that your reference means that the Restaurante Casa Maxi is still open. When I was there in 2019, it was jammed full, and I got a menú del día at the very end of their shift. An elderly couple (though she doesn’t look her 85-plus years) and, I believe, the sister of the wife, were doing it all. You walk through the kitchen to get to your table, so you were fully aware of where you food came from.

Delicious, fresh, and made with love.

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kcaldaba

It ain’t over yet!
Past OR future Camino
Frances, (2016); Norte, (2018); Primitivo, (2019);
Yes, it’s Maxi’s; and we had a wonderful dinner. Fred got her to serve us at 6:00 because we’re old and tired. We even had our own private room across from the regular dining room. They couldn’t have been nicer, and the food was outstanding—all for 11 Euros each!
 
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Yes, it’s Maxi’s; and we had a wonderful dinner. Fred got her to serve us at 6:00 because we’re old and tired. We even had our own private room across from the regular dining room. They couldn’t have been nicer, and the food was outstanding—all for 11 Euros each!
Wow. I'd have left them a huge donativo, just cuz. How heartwarming and wonderful.
 
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peregrina2000

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Yes, it’s Maxi’s; and we had a wonderful dinner. Fred got her to serve us at 6:00 because we’re old and tired. We even had our own private room across from the regular dining room. They couldn’t have been nicer, and the food was outstanding—all for 11 Euros each!
I had a WhatsApp with Rosi today. She’s waiting for you! I was so sorry to hear that her restaurant has closed. Hope you won’t go hungry, because I don’t think there’s much in the way of food in those parts. Beautiful little town, Fasgar is. I think their year round population is about 6! Rosi told me the first year after she went back to restart her life out of the rat race, she stopped counting the consecutive days with snow after she hit three digits!
 

kcaldaba

It ain’t over yet!
Past OR future Camino
Frances, (2016); Norte, (2018); Primitivo, (2019);
Stage 17–Vegarienza to Fasgar. If you start here, it’s a relatively short and enjoyable stage. If you’re leaving out of Riello or Pandorado, it still makes for a very nice, less exhaustive day than the preceding few. It’s gradually uphill the whole way, some road walking, but lots of off-road meadows and tracks beside streams. Bring all your food, because there’s no service in any of the towns or in Fasgar. The Albergue, run by Rosi, is very nice and has all the kitchen you need to cook up your meal.

(For those looking for more info being posted by peregrinos currently on the Camino Olvidado, Chris Williams is a couple days ahead of us and is posting on the Camino Olvidado Facebook Group, @QuailHiker has a Wordpress blog—fredscamino2022.Wordpress.com
and I’ve been posting on Instagram daily—kconthecamino—since leaving Navarette on April 29 and joining up with Fred on May 12. Hope this is ok to mention—if not let me know and I’ll take it out.)
 

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kcaldaba

It ain’t over yet!
Past OR future Camino
Frances, (2016); Norte, (2018); Primitivo, (2019);
Stage 18—Fasgar to Iguena. Couldn’t quite understand why this short stage is rated difficult on the Camino Olvidado app, but now I do. The uphill climb that starts immediately after Fasgar is fairly steep and a couple miles long. Takes 90 minutes or less, most likely, and at the top you’re rewarded with a spectacular view of Santiago de Campo. On a sunny day like we had, it’s easily one of the best that I’ve seen. And the beauty of it is you have it all to yourself for as long as you want. That’s a major plus of the Olvidado overall. For most of the stages we walked, you may be the only people that were there all day. That’s hard to find.

Once on the bottom, the Camino goes back to one lane with lots and lots of rocks for a couple miles downhill. However you’re walking beside a very energetic mountain stream the whole time. After you cross the second bridge, the path becomes more friendly.

I arrived around 11:30 in Colinas del Campo, and El Aguzo Cafe Bar was just opening. Lorena is a delight, and the food is outstanding. The rest of the stage to Iguena is pleasant and easy, so I stayed in Colinas for a while and had a great lunch.
 

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peregrina2000

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Staff member
I arrived around 11:30 in Colinas del Campo, and El Aguzo Cafe Bar was just opening.
Commerce is picking up on the Olvidado! The first time I walked through this lovely little village was on a weekday and even though it was summertime, everything was closed up tight. Last time, I went through on a Saturday and had a nice long rest in the Aguzo. They were busy with weekenders, but made a point of giving me some tapas and checking to see if I wanted more.

So now it looks like the Aguzo is open regularly on weekdays, that is terrific! This town, by the way, is the town with the longest name of any Spanish town.

Colinas del Campo de Martín Moro Toledano —named after the Moorish commander (called the Moor from Toledo, his hometown). Santiago appeared in the 10th C on the field you passed through to help the king (whose name I forget) to defeat the Moors. Numbers vary wildly about how many casualties were inflicted by Santiago and the king‘s army. This is the gruesome, matamoros side of Santiago, but I think it’s interesting to know why the Olvidado passes through this spot.

Are you in the albergue in Igüeña? My memory is that the owners of the bar across the street (who also own the albergue I think) will serve food at any time hunger strikes!
 
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Sept. 2022 El Salvador, Oct. 2022 Tui Portugués
Stage 17–Vegarienza to Fasgar. If you start here, it’s a relatively short and enjoyable stage. If you’re leaving out of Riello or Pandorado, it still makes for a very nice, less exhaustive day than the preceding few. It’s gradually uphill the whole way, some road walking, but lots of off-road meadows and tracks beside streams. Bring all your food, because there’s no service in any of the towns or in Fasgar. The Albergue, run by Rosi, is very nice and has all the kitchen you need to cook up your meal.

(For those looking for more info being posted by peregrinos currently on the Camino Olvidado, Chris Williams is a couple days ahead of us and is posting on the Camino Olvidado Facebook Group, @QuailHiker has a Wordpress blog—fredscamino2022.Wordpress.com
and I’ve been posting on Instagram daily—kconthecamino—since leaving Navarette on April 29 and joining up with Fred on May 12. Hope this is ok to mention—if not let me know and I’ll take it out.)
These places are so breathtakingly beautiful! Love all your pictures! What a spunky little cat. Go Geezers Go!
 

QuailHiker

Member
Past OR future Camino
Camino Frances (2016)
Camino del Norte y Primitivo (2018)
Commerce is picking up on the Olvidado! The first time I walked through this lovely little village was on a weekday and even though it was summertime, everything was closed up tight. Last time, I went through on a Saturday and had a nice long rest in the Aguzo. They were busy with weekenders, but made a point of giving me some tapas and checking to see if I wanted more.

So now it looks like the Aguzo is open regularly on weekdays, that is terrific! This town, by the way, is the town with the longest name of any Spanish town.

Colinas del Campo de Martín Moro Toledano —named after the Moorish commander (called the Moor from Toledo, his hometown). Santiago appeared in the 10th C on the field you passed through to help the king (whose name I forget) to defeat the Moors. Numbers vary wildly about how many casualties were inflicted by Santiago and the king‘s army. This is the gruesome, matamoros side of Santiago, but I think it’s interesting to know why the Olvidado passes through this spot.

Are you in the albergue in Igüeña? My memory is that the owners of the bar across the street (who also own the albergue I think) will serve food at any time hunger strikes!
Yes, we’re in the albergue across the street from Restaurante La Playa. Ignacio has been very welcoming and helpful!
 

kcaldaba

It ain’t over yet!
Past OR future Camino
Frances, (2016); Norte, (2018); Primitivo, (2019);
Stage 20— Labaniego to Congosto. We skipped Stage 19 out of Iguena and had Ignacio from La Playa bar drop us off just outside of Labaniego. We have to arrive in Santiago on May 31, and there was no way we were going to try to combine the two stages. Albergue Catoute, which is affiliated with the bar, was a great choice. Again, we were the only two in the Albergue. With our Olvidado experience coming to an end, we never saw another peregrino. Arrived in Congosto in time for lunch at Meson La Tueca. Young woman who runs it is great! Helped us figure out how to get into the municipal Albergue, and is providing takeout for dinner. Tomorrow walk to Ponferrada and start Invierno the next day. There have been a lot of helpful “Live From” posts on that route, so I won’t be posting unless I have something to add. @QuailHiker and I will gather our thoughts on this incredible, very challenging route (at least the part we walked) and share at a later date.
 

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kcaldaba

It ain’t over yet!
Past OR future Camino
Frances, (2016); Norte, (2018); Primitivo, (2019);
Made it to Ponferrada, and in Las Medulas tonight. Have a plan to take in the las Medulas history/geography site early tomorrow when no one is there, and then taxi part way to O Barco tomorrow. Attached are pictures of the Congosto Albergue. Donativo, and functional. Each of the three units has four beds and four showers. Not sure why four pilgrims would all decide to shower at the same time; but it’s an option if you’re so inclined. It’s on the other side of the big field visible from the outside right of Meson La Tueca. If you order by 5 and take out by 6, they’ll provide a takeout bag that includes wine. The young woman that runs it is a sweetheart and will go out of her way to help in any way possible. Food’s good too!
 

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peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
Have a plan to take in the las Medulas history/geography site early tomorrow when no one is there, and then taxi part way to O Barco tomorrow.

Not sure how much you plan to cut off, but my (admittedly unsolicited) opinion, is that the 8 kms from Sobradelo to O Barco walk is much less pleasant than the very nice 8 km walk from Médulas to Puente Domingo Flórez. I’m sure you could get a cab in Sobradelo to come from Barco to pick you up.

Buen camino however you do it.
 

MikeJS

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
Francis (2011), Norte (12), VdlP (16). Sureste/Invierno (17). Olvidado/San Salvador/Primitivo (19)

kcaldaba

It ain’t over yet!
Past OR future Camino
Frances, (2016); Norte, (2018); Primitivo, (2019);
@QuailHiker and I made it to Santiago via the the Camino Invierno route on May 31. Now that we have had time to reflect we thought it might help to share our views on the nine days we spent on the Camino Olvidado. I started on May 11 from Cistierna to Bonar, hooking up with him there. We walked the rest of the way together to Ponferrada, where we joined the Camino Invierno.

Background and perspective—Thanks to COVID our plan was delayed for two years. By the time 2022 came around and we could actually go, I was 75 and @QuailHiker was 71. This was my 4th Camino (Frances, Norte, and Primitivo); and it was his third Camino (Frances, and Norte/Primitivo.) By most standards I think that qualifies us as experienced pilgrims, but also ones that have admittedly begun to hit their declining years physically. My Spanish is limited to three years of high school and my previous visits to Spain. @QuailhHiker’s Spanish is better than mine, but not what anyone would consider fluent.

Resources—We relied primarily on the official Camino Olvidado app, the Wise Pilgrim app, Ender’s Guide in English (which is available on the Forum), and the “detailed planning thread” published by Peregrina 2000 on the Forum. Additional information is available on gronze.com; and rayyrosa.com provides links to Wikilocs tracks for each stage, including the alternate stages.

Profile of “ideal” pilgrim—We estimate that less than 10% of pilgrims we have met on the Camino Frances should consider this route. The “ideal” profile is someone who is physically fit, has backpacking experience, is fluent in Spanish, has already walked one or more of the other routes that are more physically demanding than the Camino Frances, and is fine with limited social interaction. Given the remoteness, we think it’s better if it’s walked with at least one other pilgrim.

Infrastructure—a. Overall we found the route to be well-signed. One exception was the Los Calderones Gorge (Stage 15B), where I suspect no yellow arrows are allowed. When it looks like the trail has ended, simply continue to follow the dry river bed through the large rocks.

b.) Lodging—This is one of the tricky parts. We recommend booking ahead at least a day or two—another reason why Spanish proficiency is a big plus. Many of the towns have no albergues, no pensions, no restaurants, and no tiendas. We were always the only pilgrims in every albergue we stayed in. Some were a little primitive, but some were surprisingly nice; and all were well-maintained. The new albergue in La Magdalena, as an example, is superb!

c,) Food—Most stages have no food available in the towns between your daily starting point and the end point. There is generally no breakfast available at the beginning of the day either. At one point we went six straight days without coffee. Most towns did have somewhere to eat for dinner. The exception is Fasgar, where you need to bring food for dinner that can be bought at the VERY small tienda as you enter Riello. A few of the dinners were quite outstanding. And @QuailHiker raves that the ensalada he had in Colinas del Campo is the best he’s ever had!

d.) Cell coverage and WiFi—Most of the time we had service, but there were times during the day where there was no cell service and times in the evening where there was no WiFi.

5. The people—The local population was almost universally kind and supportive. Pilgrims are still rare and appreciated, and our experience was extremely positive. If we had been more fluent in Spanish, I’m sure it would have created even more memorable experiences. By pure coincidence, @QuailHiker met Ender in Cinerna and had a wonderful interaction.

6. Degree of difficulty—We were fortunate to have almost universally decent weather. For a couple of ageing geezers, I think it’s fair to say there were certain days that were a bit harder than anything we experienced on the Norte or Primitivo. For someone who is strong and under 65, this is probably less of an issue. I would work hard on keeping my backpack weight down because there will be days where you’ll need lots of water and extra food. The mountain alternative out of Bonar provides three of the more difficult days but also some of the most spectacular scenery. It’s arguably the most remarkable three-day stretch of any Camino we’ve experienced. The one thing we decided to skip was the very steep descent out of Villar because it was described as “almost sheer” in Wse Pilgrim. Given our ages and the difficult challenge of the previous day, we decided in fact to try to be “wise pilgrims.”

7. Overall—The Camino Olvidado provides an alternative route that is unique in our experience. To have days where the scenery is terrific, the landscape is unspoiled, there is no graffiti, and you have it all to yourself is a hard thing to find these days. For us, it tested our limits and we each had a day or two when we were completely depleted at day’s end. At the same time, we feel extremely fortunate and grateful that we were able to experience this very unique Camino route.
 
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MikeJS

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
Francis (2011), Norte (12), VdlP (16). Sureste/Invierno (17). Olvidado/San Salvador/Primitivo (19)
You say that 'Profile of “ideal” pilgrim—We estimate that less than 10% of pilgrims we have met on the Camino Frances should consider this route. The “ideal” profile is someone who is physically fit, has backpacking experience, is fluent in Spanish, has already walked one or more of the other routes that are more physically demanding than the Camino Frances, and is fine with limited social interaction. Given the remoteness, we think it’s better if it’s walked with at least one other pilgrim.”

Most of which I would support. I walked the Olvidado in Oct 2019 and was 66 at the time. Fit and have walked a few caminos previously. However, definitely not fluent in Spanish, but have a few phrases and can get normally get myself understood. There are some great apps around that translate in near real time like Say Hi. I also walked alone and even a few years ago found the set up on the route very good. In addition, I think I found the Camino Norte at least as challenging physically.

Ultimately, I would encourage people to walk the Olvidado as I consider it one of the best if not the best. As more people walk it then the support on the way will just get better.
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
The mountain alternative out of Bonar provides three of the more difficult days but also some of the most spectacular scenery. It’s arguably the most remarkable three-day stretch of any Camino we’ve experienced


I agree that this is a challenging camino, but that comment nails it. I am now in the geezer age range too, but would not dismiss another Olvidado out of hand. But I would have to think long and hard about it. ;)
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
There are some great apps around that translate in near real time like Say Hi.
This made me chuckle. Ender uses this app to communicate with his son’s in-laws who are from the US. I remember he was telling me all about how great it was and I couldn’t figure it out because I kept searching on my phone for “saí” (which will be funny to you only if you speak Spanish, because that is how a Spaniard would intuitively pronounce something that looked like “sayhi”).
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
After a few twists and turns we made it to the Albergue, met Estela (who’s a sweetheart), and set up dinner down the road.
I know that you two stayed in Vegarienza, and that the option there is referred to as “acogida” rather than an albergue. That means that the facilities are more basic, but could you give us an idea of the current status? Are there showers? beds?

I also know that the Vegarienza folks are trying hard to improve the accommodations for future pilgrims, but their only source of funds is the donativos left by pilgrims, along with the generosity of places like American Pilgrims, who gave them a grant this year. So this is undoubtedly still a work in progress.
 

QuailHiker

Member
Past OR future Camino
Camino Frances (2016)
Camino del Norte y Primitivo (2018)
I know that you two stayed in Vegarienza, and that the option there is referred to as “acogida” rather than an albergue. That means that the facilities are more basic, but could you give us an idea of the current status? Are there showers? beds?

I also know that the Vegarienza folks are trying hard to improve the accommodations for future pilgrims, but their only source of funds is the donativos left by pilgrims, along with the generosity of places like American Pilgrims, who gave them a grant this year. So this is undoubtedly still a work in progress.
There were three rooms with beds. Also shower and toilet. Very basic but acceptable.
 
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