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My stages on the Camino Primitivo

peregrina2000

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Madidi

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Frances 2012 & 17: Fisterra Muxia 2013 & 2015: Ingles 2014: Madrid 2015: Salvador & Primitivo 2016
Hi Lawrie,

Sorry. Neither link is working here: both showing error.
 
N

nathanael

Guest
I have just finished walking the Camino Primitivo from Oviedo to Santiago. It is a beautiful walk, more rural than most. There are guides to the route, but I thought I'd write up some comments for those who might be going soon. This is a beautiful walk.

DAY 1 – Oviedo to Cornellana (32 km)

If I were to do this again, I would shorten this day by walking up to see the churches in Naranco and then continuing about 9 km out of Oviedo the first day instead of staying in Oviedo for that night. It’s easy to find the way up to the churches and from there the CSJ guide tells you how to reconnect with the Camino Primitivo without backtracking into Oviedo. That gives you an easy walk to Escamplero, where there is an albergue and a couple of restaurants. And then the walk from Escamplero to Cornellana is a more manageable 23 km.

Grado is about 20 km from Oviedo and many people stay there the first night. Several pensiones and albergues. Some also recommend going on a few more km to stay in the albergue in San Juan de Villapanada, but I continued on to Cornellana. In Cornellana there is an albergue in an old monastery, the rest of the monastery is falling down, but this albergue has a kitchen with microwave, cold showers, and three rooms with sleeping for 8-10 in each room. It’s not dirty, but it’s not very well maintained either. There are a couple of good places to eat in Cornellana.

DAY 2 – Cornellana to Tineo (28 km)

Again, there’s an option in between – Salas is about 8 km from Cornellana, and many people do Grado to Salas for the second day. There’s a municipal albergue that, according to what I’ve heard, is in a very bad state. There is also at least one private alternative, a 2 star hotel in a XV century building (I had coffee there and it looked nice, but probably a bit pricey).

And about 6 km from Salas in a town called Bodenaya (about 1 km from a larger town La Espina) is the soon-to-be-famous private albergue run by Alex, who gave up his job as a taxi driver in Madrid and opened an albergue on the Camino Primitivo. I walked with several people who stayed there, and they all raved about it. Alex has put a lot of care into remodeling his house into an albergue, he lives right there too, and it’s one of those places where everyone eats meals together and pitches in together. I passed it too early in the day to stop, but if I walk this route again, I will definitely plan my walk so I can stay there.

Very nice walk, and I was happy to find that in spite of all the road construction that others have written about, the detours were well marked and not even I got lost. Tineo’s albergue is very nice, clean, has a very helpful hospitalero, and the town itself has some charm. There is also internet in the casa cultural.

DAY 3 – Tineo to Pola de Allande (about 25 km)

It had snowed the night before (in the mountains, not in Tineo) so there were lots of snow-capped mountains in the background. This is a pretty, rural walk, a fair amount of road walking but all very secondary. The albergue in Pola de Allande is in an old school building, has about 28 beds, a kitchen with one glass, one pot and a plate or two. Showers have hot water. The town itself has several grocery stores and a couple of hotels. The Nueva Allandesa Hotel has a restaurant that attracts huge crowds on the weekends. I ate there on a Sunday afternoon and it was very good and quite reasonable. There is also another albergue about two km out of Pola, in an old school house, I think, with a bar nearby.

This is the stage where the choice has to be made between going over Hospitales or continuing directly to Pola de Allande. I met a guy who has done the Primitivo 9 times (!) and he told me that the difference between the two routes is not one of elevation gain, you have to go up either way. The difference is that the route through Hospitales has a 24 km stretch with no towns, no water, no human habitation at all. Because of my own complicated schedule, I had to take the route to Pola de Allande, and to tell you the truth, the climb up from Pola to the pass of Puerto de Palo was beautiful and one I wouldn’t have wanted to miss. But the Hospitales route also has its attractions, so if you want to do it, here’s one way:

You will have to spend a night either in Borres or Campiello. Campiello is the Bar Herminia (she has beds now and is building an albergue) and it’s a few km before the public albergue (very basic) in Borres. But Borres through Hospitales to Berducedo where there is an albergue is 26 km, a very do-able day. But you have to plan your days in such a way as to spend a night in either Borres or Campiello, because from Tineo through Hospitales to Berducedo, I think it’s too long for most walkers. Those I met who did it said that it is impossible to get lost, the marking is done so that even in dense fog you will be able to stumble along and find your way. If you take the hospitales route, you will join up with the Camino at a small hamlet called Montefurado, and a few km on is the albergue at Berducedo.


DAY 4 – Pola de Allande to Grandas de Salime (a very long day, maybe 33?) (The Astur-Leonesa site says it’s 39 km, so who knows)

With one substantial ascent, and one very substantial descent, this is a very long day. I found the descent to the reservoir interminable, it was the longest 3.8 km I have ever walked, if in fact it was only 3.8 km. The scenery is terrific though, and that kind of keeps you going. But there are albergues at both Berducedo and La Mesa (Berducedo has the advantage that there are bars and food in the town, La Mesa is a hamlet with nothing) and they would make good stopping points, and making it so that you would do the ascent one day and the descent the next.

Grandas is a town with a of recent infrastructure improvements – there’s a new park, a new plaza, a new way out of town and some refurbishing of the old chapels along the way. There are “rural apartments” for rent in what look like beautiful old stone buildings, and there is a two star hotel that has recently been redone from a more basic pension. The one thing they forgot to improve was the albergue. It’s disgusting, sorry to be so blunt, and two people told me they saw rats inside it. I stayed in the hotel for 30E.

DAY 5 – Grandas to Fonsagrada (27 km) (plus one to the albergue in Padron outside of town)

The bar La Barra (owners of the hotel) opens up at 7 on the dot, and there were workers in there when I got down at 7:15 or so for a good café con leche.

There’s a private albergue at a place about 5 or 6 km beyond Grandas at Castro, where there are ruins of ancient settlements, going back many centuries BC. There is a substantial museum or some official building nearby, but it was too early in the morning for anything to be open. People I know who stayed in that albergue thought it was fine if a bit pricey.

The road between Grandas and Fonsagrada was being widened, so there was a lot of construction, but detours were well marked and it didn’t really interfere with the walking at all. There is a new bar about 5 km past the very basic bar at the Acebo Pass, it’s called the 4 Ventos (4 winds) and is run by a young couple who spent a year remodeling an old stone house. It’s right on the Camino and food was good there. This is a nice day with lots of mountain views. The albergue is in what used to be the priest’s house. Hot water goes on at 4 p.m. It’s only a km outside of town, so walking back to the good restaurants isn’t a problem. Recommended most often is Casa Manolo.

DAY 6 – Fonsagrada to Cadavo (about 22 km)

The walk goes through some beautiful hardwood forests, pine, beech, birch, oak – and NO eucalyptus! Although you’re not usually far from the road, the paths themselves are wooded and go up and down some little valleys through some small (and some abandoned) hamlets. The bar in Lastra was a great stop. One of the day’s highlights was going by a pilgrim’s hospital in ruins on the top of a hill.

Cadavo has a couple of bars, a couple of supermarkets. The albergue is newly constructed, good hot water, lots of places to dry clothes. Maybe 16-20 beds. There is also a hotel that looked pretty uninteresting but would be an option if the albergue is full (and the hospitalera says it does get full a lot in the summer).

DAY 7 – Cadavo to Lugo (about 30)

Going into cities is usually an unpleasant walk, and this was no exception. The first part of the walk was very nice, but the last 5 or 6 kms were hot, sunny, industrial, construction, detours, wide paths over the highway, all in all pretty draining. But Lugo was the reward. What a beautiful city inside those walls. It was also fiesta time, San Froilan is their patron saint and we arrived toward the end of a week of fiestas. I could have spent an extra day here to visit the Roman baths and some of the other monuments, but I was with a group of three others who were forging on, so I went with the crowd.

DAY 8 – Lugo to San Roman (22 plus detour to Santa Eulalia de Boveda)

Leaving Lugo there’s a lot of asphalt and you go through the new suburban upper middle class construction, but soon you are out in the boonies. About 10 km outside of town, I saw the turnoff for Santa Eulalia de Boveda, a church where some Roman paintings from the 4th century were discovered in the mid 1900s. I had read a bit about it and it seemed like it would be a pity to be so close and not visit. As I was standing there wondering how many kilometers of a detour it would be, a car turned off the main road to go towards Sta. Eulalia. I flagged them down and they not only told me that the distance to the church was 1 ½ or 2 km, they also drove me there. The posted hours said it opened at 11, so after a ten minute wait, promptly at 11, the caretaker drove in. It was definitely worth the little detour, IMO. The two km walk back to the main Camino went quickly. I later learned that if you take this detour there is an easy way to get from Santa Eulalia to the town of Bacurin, which is right on the Camino, but I would have probably gotten lost if I had gone that way anyway.

The albergue in San Roman (actually about 800 m outside of the hamlet of San Roman) is a small building with two sleeping rooms of 8 beds each, plus a tiny kitchen in the middle. Bathrooms and showers in another adjacent building. It is in an area where there used to be a huge market on a weekly basis, and some buildings are still standing, but mainly it is just in the middle of nowhere. Totally peaceful, just a beautiful place. The bar in San Roman sells sandwiches as well as food for cooking.

DAY 9 – San Roman to Melide (about 29)

Our hope had been to spend the night before about 7 km further than San Roman in Ferreira in a Casa Rural called “Casa do Ponte” but they were full. (There are only five rooms, and you should call if you want to stay there). If you call ahead, though, they will serve you breakfast (otherwise there’s nothing till you’re almost in Melide), so after about a 1 ½ hour’s walk, we were drinking café con leche. The walk was really pretty except for the last 5 or 6 km on asphalt, and then – BAM – we were on the Camino Frances and in Melide’s albergue with 50 other peregrinos. The albergue had been fumigated the week before, and they were giving out paper sheets and pillow cases, so I guess the battle of the bed bugs continues. We saw lots of people with bites.

DAY 10 – Melide to Arca (30-32)

The only alternative to this long day was to stop in Arzua, but that was only about 12 km from Melide, so we used it as a coffee stop instead. This part of the walk is probably well known to everyone, I was surprised that most everything was still open for business (including the private albergue in Santa Irene, even though it was mid October and all the books say it closes in Sept. )

DAY 11 – Arca to Santiago (20)

With a relatively early start, it’s easy to get into Santiago in time for the Pilgrim’s mass.

The Camino Primitivo, like all Caminos I guess, is enjoying a burst of popularity and the infrastructure and accommodations are lagging behind the demand. I was surprised to hear over and over how things are full early in the day in the peak season. With the “outsourcing” of the administration of the albergues to a company that hires hospitaleros who issue receipts for your 3E contribution, there are strict rules about no overcrowding in the ablergues. You can’t sleep on the floor, on a couch, or anywhere other than a bed. This may make it hard to do in the summer, but I was there in October and never had a problem. And the private initiative is starting to kick in, too, so I assume that before long the supply of private albergues will be much greater.

All in all, I would walk this Camino again in a heartbeat. Laurie
 
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nathanael

Guest
Just got a message about the broken photo link for my Primitivo pictures. I used to have everything on picasa, but google took away that option. I think they are still here:

https://photos.google.com/album/AF1QipPp9OR_nq0PAZDMPKf1QN-Psaa_H5e3EEG8VarT

From 2012: https://photos.google.com/album/AF1QipPQjoJK6DdeNTEwhgEi4lOYr8_zX5-6H22xr1GT

Still trying to figure out how to get my pictures from my phone to an album online, but once that is done I can post 2016 pics as well.
Laurie, I have heard that this route is very difficult it is the reason I have not attempted to do it. Are the ups and downs that difficult.
 

camino07

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Frances x5, Portuguese VdlP12, Sanabres, Aragones, Norte,Salvador,Primitivo, VdlP 17,Madrid18Norte
Difficult but doable. There were lots of us oldies,myself included so you can do it. :)
 
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peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
I agree with camino07. Last summer, I became a part of what turned into a very large group of 15 -- we didn't walk together but always joined up at night. Two or three of them were total novices and struggled a bit, but they paced themselves well and on occasion hopped in a cab, just so they could meet up with us. The distance between albergues is not as short as on the Francés or Norte, but there are ways to keep the mileage down. I know some who have taken 15 or 16 days on the Primitivo to make it more manageable.
 

irishgurrrl

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Camino Frances Sept/Oct 2012
Camino Finisterre Oct 2012
Le Puy Route (Le Puy-en-Velay to St Jean Pied de Port) April/May 2014
[Kilimanjaro Sept 2014]
Le Puy Route (Le Puy-en-Velay to St-Chely d'Aubrac) May 2015
[Stevenson Route, France - April 2016]
The Way of St Francis (Sansepolcro to Assisi) May 2016
[The West Highland Way, Scotland - Sept 2016]
[The Kerry Way, Ireland - March 2017]
Next up:
Camino Primitivo (Oviedo-Lugo) end April-mid May 2017
[Everest Base Camp Trek, Nepal -- October 2017]
Hi, Orafo, good to see you back! Glad you had a fine Camino Salvador/Primitivo. Are you planning another Camino or staying put for a while? Laurie
Hi Laurie,

Rather than start a new on this I just wanted to ask if the Primitivo is much more difficult than say the first week or two on the Le Puy Route?
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
Hi Laurie,

Rather than start a new on this I just wanted to ask if the Primitivo is much more difficult than say the first week or two on the Le Puy Route?

Hi, Irishgurrrl,
I am not by any means a superathlete, far from it, but I have never understood the hype about the Primitivo being hard. I just don't think it is any harder than any other camino I've walked. I walked last summer, and a large group came together on the first day out of Oviedo. People of all types and abilities, two smokers, one with more than a few extra pounds, five or six who had never done anything like this. They all made it fine, though some may have arrived at the destination a bit later than the rest of us. I think if you look at the elevation maps for the Primitivo you'll see that there is no day with more than 600 0r 700 m elevation gain.

https://followingthearrows.com/2014/10/28/camino-primitivo-elevation-profile/

Take a look at this thread (in post no. 7 I talk about elevation). https://www.caminodesantiago.me/community/threads/march-april-primitivo.15955/#post-112454

So, long post to say that if you have walked other Caminos, I am confident you can walk the Primitivo. Do others disagree?

Ben camino, Laurie
 

irishgurrrl

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Camino Frances Sept/Oct 2012
Camino Finisterre Oct 2012
Le Puy Route (Le Puy-en-Velay to St Jean Pied de Port) April/May 2014
[Kilimanjaro Sept 2014]
Le Puy Route (Le Puy-en-Velay to St-Chely d'Aubrac) May 2015
[Stevenson Route, France - April 2016]
The Way of St Francis (Sansepolcro to Assisi) May 2016
[The West Highland Way, Scotland - Sept 2016]
[The Kerry Way, Ireland - March 2017]
Next up:
Camino Primitivo (Oviedo-Lugo) end April-mid May 2017
[Everest Base Camp Trek, Nepal -- October 2017]
Hi, Irishgurrrl,
I am not by any means a superathlete, far from it, but I have never understood the hype about the Primitivo being hard. I just don't think it is any harder than any other camino I've walked. I walked last summer, and a large group came together on the first day out of Oviedo. People of all types and abilities, two smokers, one with more than a few extra pounds, five or six who had never done anything like this. They all made it fine, though some may have arrived at the destination a bit later than the rest of us. I think if you look at the elevation maps for the Primitivo you'll see that there is no day with more than 600 0r 700 m elevation gain.

https://followingthearrows.com/2014/10/28/camino-primitivo-elevation-profile/

Take a look at this thread (in post no. 7 I talk about elevation). https://www.caminodesantiago.me/community/threads/march-april-primitivo.15955/#post-112454

So, long post to say that if you have walked other Caminos, I am confident you can walk the Primitivo. Do others disagree?

Ben camino, Laurie


Ah grand, I was wondering about it having read it's meant to be the hardest of all the caminos. I'll be taking it nice and easy with reasonable stages at any rate but good to know it's not killer hard.
 

skyforger

New Member
Year of past OR future Camino
planned:
2017 - Camino Primitivo
Hi,
I found your posts pretty useful, originally I planned to pass this route in 12 days, but now I am wondering to reduce it to 11. The itinerary in the opening post seems better than my first plans, the only changes I'd do to spend the first night in Grado instead of Cornellana (as it might be definitely a good idea to turn to Naranco), and make a longer section for the 2nd day (Grado-Tineo). What do you think?
However, this will be my first camino.
 
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peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
Hi,
I found your posts pretty useful, originally I planned to pass this route in 12 days, but now I am wondering to reduce it to 11. The itinerary in the opening post seems better than my first plans, the only changes I'd do to spend the first night in Grado instead of Cornellana (as it might be definitely a good idea to turn to Naranco), and make a longer section for the 2nd day (Grado-Tineo). What do you think?
However, this will be my first camino.
Hi skyforger,
Welcome to the forum. I think Grado to Tineo is about 40 km. I've done that in a pinch, but it's not my ideal. You are a better judge of your walking ability, take a look at the elevations and then see what you think. The other thing to consider is whether you want to go via the Hospitales route, in which case stopping in Tineo is kind of a problem. Not really a problem, but the next day your choices would be Campiello or Borres, around 15-18 km, or you could go from Tineo to Berducedo via Hospitales but that would be a VERY long day (for me at least, maybe not for you!)

No matter what you choose, I always think it's a good idea to have a few extra days "in your pocket" in case you have to stop or want to stop or want to walk shorter stages one day, etc. Buen camino, you will love the Primirivo, of that I am sure! Buen camino, Laurie
 
Year of past OR future Camino
Camino virgin, hoping to walk the Camino Primitivo this Autumn
I have just finished walking the Camino Primitivo from Oviedo to Santiago. It is a beautiful walk, more rural than most. There are guides to the route, but I thought I'd write up some comments for those who might be going soon. This is a beautiful walk.

DAY 1 – Oviedo to Cornellana (32 km)

If I were to do this again, I would shorten this day by walking up to see the churches in Naranco and then continuing about 9 km out of Oviedo the first day instead of staying in Oviedo for that night. It’s easy to find the way up to the churches and from there the CSJ guide tells you how to reconnect with the Camino Primitivo without backtracking into Oviedo. That gives you an easy walk to Escamplero, where there is an albergue and a couple of restaurants. And then the walk from Escamplero to Cornellana is a more manageable 23 km.

Grado is about 20 km from Oviedo and many people stay there the first night. Several pensiones and albergues. Some also recommend going on a few more km to stay in the albergue in San Juan de Villapanada, but I continued on to Cornellana. In Cornellana there is an albergue in an old monastery, the rest of the monastery is falling down, but this albergue has a kitchen with microwave, cold showers, and three rooms with sleeping for 8-10 in each room. It’s not dirty, but it’s not very well maintained either. There are a couple of good places to eat in Cornellana.

DAY 2 – Cornellana to Tineo (28 km)

Again, there’s an option in between – Salas is about 8 km from Cornellana, and many people do Grado to Salas for the second day. There’s a municipal albergue that, according to what I’ve heard, is in a very bad state. There is also at least one private alternative, a 2 star hotel in a XV century building (I had coffee there and it looked nice, but probably a bit pricey).

And about 6 km from Salas in a town called Bodenaya (about 1 km from a larger town La Espina) is the soon-to-be-famous private albergue run by Alex, who gave up his job as a taxi driver in Madrid and opened an albergue on the Camino Primitivo. I walked with several people who stayed there, and they all raved about it. Alex has put a lot of care into remodeling his house into an albergue, he lives right there too, and it’s one of those places where everyone eats meals together and pitches in together. I passed it too early in the day to stop, but if I walk this route again, I will definitely plan my walk so I can stay there.

Very nice walk, and I was happy to find that in spite of all the road construction that others have written about, the detours were well marked and not even I got lost. Tineo’s albergue is very nice, clean, has a very helpful hospitalero, and the town itself has some charm. There is also internet in the casa cultural.

DAY 3 – Tineo to Pola de Allande (about 25 km)

It had snowed the night before (in the mountains, not in Tineo) so there were lots of snow-capped mountains in the background. This is a pretty, rural walk, a fair amount of road walking but all very secondary. The albergue in Pola de Allande is in an old school building, has about 28 beds, a kitchen with one glass, one pot and a plate or two. Showers have hot water. The town itself has several grocery stores and a couple of hotels. The Nueva Allandesa Hotel has a restaurant that attracts huge crowds on the weekends. I ate there on a Sunday afternoon and it was very good and quite reasonable. There is also another albergue about two km out of Pola, in an old school house, I think, with a bar nearby.

This is the stage where the choice has to be made between going over Hospitales or continuing directly to Pola de Allande. I met a guy who has done the Primitivo 9 times (!) and he told me that the difference between the two routes is not one of elevation gain, you have to go up either way. The difference is that the route through Hospitales has a 24 km stretch with no towns, no water, no human habitation at all. Because of my own complicated schedule, I had to take the route to Pola de Allande, and to tell you the truth, the climb up from Pola to the pass of Puerto de Palo was beautiful and one I wouldn’t have wanted to miss. But the Hospitales route also has its attractions, so if you want to do it, here’s one way:

You will have to spend a night either in Borres or Campiello. Campiello is the Bar Herminia (she has beds now and is building an albergue) and it’s a few km before the public albergue (very basic) in Borres. But Borres through Hospitales to Berducedo where there is an albergue is 26 km, a very do-able day. But you have to plan your days in such a way as to spend a night in either Borres or Campiello, because from Tineo through Hospitales to Berducedo, I think it’s too long for most walkers. Those I met who did it said that it is impossible to get lost, the marking is done so that even in dense fog you will be able to stumble along and find your way. If you take the hospitales route, you will join up with the Camino at a small hamlet called Montefurado, and a few km on is the albergue at Berducedo.


DAY 4 – Pola de Allande to Grandas de Salime (a very long day, maybe 33?) (The Astur-Leonesa site says it’s 39 km, so who knows)

With one substantial ascent, and one very substantial descent, this is a very long day. I found the descent to the reservoir interminable, it was the longest 3.8 km I have ever walked, if in fact it was only 3.8 km. The scenery is terrific though, and that kind of keeps you going. But there are albergues at both Berducedo and La Mesa (Berducedo has the advantage that there are bars and food in the town, La Mesa is a hamlet with nothing) and they would make good stopping points, and making it so that you would do the ascent one day and the descent the next.

Grandas is a town with a of recent infrastructure improvements – there’s a new park, a new plaza, a new way out of town and some refurbishing of the old chapels along the way. There are “rural apartments” for rent in what look like beautiful old stone buildings, and there is a two star hotel that has recently been redone from a more basic pension. The one thing they forgot to improve was the albergue. It’s disgusting, sorry to be so blunt, and two people told me they saw rats inside it. I stayed in the hotel for 30E.

DAY 5 – Grandas to Fonsagrada (27 km) (plus one to the albergue in Padron outside of town)

The bar La Barra (owners of the hotel) opens up at 7 on the dot, and there were workers in there when I got down at 7:15 or so for a good café con leche.

There’s a private albergue at a place about 5 or 6 km beyond Grandas at Castro, where there are ruins of ancient settlements, going back many centuries BC. There is a substantial museum or some official building nearby, but it was too early in the morning for anything to be open. People I know who stayed in that albergue thought it was fine if a bit pricey.

The road between Grandas and Fonsagrada was being widened, so there was a lot of construction, but detours were well marked and it didn’t really interfere with the walking at all. There is a new bar about 5 km past the very basic bar at the Acebo Pass, it’s called the 4 Ventos (4 winds) and is run by a young couple who spent a year remodeling an old stone house. It’s right on the Camino and food was good there. This is a nice day with lots of mountain views. The albergue is in what used to be the priest’s house. Hot water goes on at 4 p.m. It’s only a km outside of town, so walking back to the good restaurants isn’t a problem. Recommended most often is Casa Manolo.

DAY 6 – Fonsagrada to Cadavo (about 22 km)

The walk goes through some beautiful hardwood forests, pine, beech, birch, oak – and NO eucalyptus! Although you’re not usually far from the road, the paths themselves are wooded and go up and down some little valleys through some small (and some abandoned) hamlets. The bar in Lastra was a great stop. One of the day’s highlights was going by a pilgrim’s hospital in ruins on the top of a hill.

Cadavo has a couple of bars, a couple of supermarkets. The albergue is newly constructed, good hot water, lots of places to dry clothes. Maybe 16-20 beds. There is also a hotel that looked pretty uninteresting but would be an option if the albergue is full (and the hospitalera says it does get full a lot in the summer).

DAY 7 – Cadavo to Lugo (about 30)

Going into cities is usually an unpleasant walk, and this was no exception. The first part of the walk was very nice, but the last 5 or 6 kms were hot, sunny, industrial, construction, detours, wide paths over the highway, all in all pretty draining. But Lugo was the reward. What a beautiful city inside those walls. It was also fiesta time, San Froilan is their patron saint and we arrived toward the end of a week of fiestas. I could have spent an extra day here to visit the Roman baths and some of the other monuments, but I was with a group of three others who were forging on, so I went with the crowd.

DAY 8 – Lugo to San Roman (22 plus detour to Santa Eulalia de Boveda)

Leaving Lugo there’s a lot of asphalt and you go through the new suburban upper middle class construction, but soon you are out in the boonies. About 10 km outside of town, I saw the turnoff for Santa Eulalia de Boveda, a church where some Roman paintings from the 4th century were discovered in the mid 1900s. I had read a bit about it and it seemed like it would be a pity to be so close and not visit. As I was standing there wondering how many kilometers of a detour it would be, a car turned off the main road to go towards Sta. Eulalia. I flagged them down and they not only told me that the distance to the church was 1 ½ or 2 km, they also drove me there. The posted hours said it opened at 11, so after a ten minute wait, promptly at 11, the caretaker drove in. It was definitely worth the little detour, IMO. The two km walk back to the main Camino went quickly. I later learned that if you take this detour there is an easy way to get from Santa Eulalia to the town of Bacurin, which is right on the Camino, but I would have probably gotten lost if I had gone that way anyway.

The albergue in San Roman (actually about 800 m outside of the hamlet of San Roman) is a small building with two sleeping rooms of 8 beds each, plus a tiny kitchen in the middle. Bathrooms and showers in another adjacent building. It is in an area where there used to be a huge market on a weekly basis, and some buildings are still standing, but mainly it is just in the middle of nowhere. Totally peaceful, just a beautiful place. The bar in San Roman sells sandwiches as well as food for cooking.

DAY 9 – San Roman to Melide (about 29)

Our hope had been to spend the night before about 7 km further than San Roman in Ferreira in a Casa Rural called “Casa do Ponte” but they were full. (There are only five rooms, and you should call if you want to stay there). If you call ahead, though, they will serve you breakfast (otherwise there’s nothing till you’re almost in Melide), so after about a 1 ½ hour’s walk, we were drinking café con leche. The walk was really pretty except for the last 5 or 6 km on asphalt, and then – BAM – we were on the Camino Frances and in Melide’s albergue with 50 other peregrinos. The albergue had been fumigated the week before, and they were giving out paper sheets and pillow cases, so I guess the battle of the bed bugs continues. We saw lots of people with bites.

DAY 10 – Melide to Arca (30-32)

The only alternative to this long day was to stop in Arzua, but that was only about 12 km from Melide, so we used it as a coffee stop instead. This part of the walk is probably well known to everyone, I was surprised that most everything was still open for business (including the private albergue in Santa Irene, even though it was mid October and all the books say it closes in Sept. )

DAY 11 – Arca to Santiago (20)

With a relatively early start, it’s easy to get into Santiago in time for the Pilgrim’s mass.

The Camino Primitivo, like all Caminos I guess, is enjoying a burst of popularity and the infrastructure and accommodations are lagging behind the demand. I was surprised to hear over and over how things are full early in the day in the peak season. With the “outsourcing” of the administration of the albergues to a company that hires hospitaleros who issue receipts for your 3E contribution, there are strict rules about no overcrowding in the ablergues. You can’t sleep on the floor, on a couch, or anywhere other than a bed. This may make it hard to do in the summer, but I was there in October and never had a problem. And the private initiative is starting to kick in, too, so I assume that before long the supply of private albergues will be much greater.

All in all, I would walk this Camino again in a heartbeat. Laurie
Thanks Laurie this is my first time on this forum as I am considering doing my first ever Camino, I am thinking of the Primitivo as I only have two weeks available away from work, so this one may suit me (if i can deal with the hills) I have a few questions if you dont mind? please, which are the closest airports for the beginning and end please? I am flying from the UK thanks in advance Paul
 

timr

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Several and counting...
Thanks Laurie this is my first time on this forum as I am considering doing my first ever Camino, I am thinking of the Primitivo as I only have two weeks available away from work, so this one may suit me (if i can deal with the hills) I have a few questions if you dont mind? please, which are the closest airports for the beginning and end please? I am flying from the UK thanks in advance Paul
Hello Paul welcome to the forum.
No one will give you better advice generally than Laurie :), but I will just chip in with my advice on travel from UK (even though I flew from Ireland) in May last year.
(I flew from Dublin to Stansted and slept in the airport overnight.)
Easyjet (check in early, if you are following today's UK news !!!!!;)) from Stansted to Asturias airport. My flight was about 6am. The airport is maybe 50km from Oviedo and there was an efficient and cheap coach from outside the (very small, modern) terminal. I stayed a night in Oviedo - it is a very nice city with plenty to see. 2 weeks is plenty for the walk. You will probably fly home from Santiago. Skyscanner will give you a lot of choices. Sometimes a connecting flight via Madrid or Barcelona is very cheap or else a direct flight to LGW.
 

timr

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Several and counting...
@Paul Geronimo Goddard Oh and just a word of advice - if you have further specific questions, you'll get an easier response by starting a new thread, (within this subforum). Although this thread is pinned, and HUGELY useful, specific questions will be picked up more easily with a new header. Tim
 
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Year of past OR future Camino
Camino virgin, hoping to walk the Camino Primitivo this Autumn
Hello Paul welcome to the forum.
No one will give you better advice generally than Laurie :), but I will just chip in with my advice on travel from UK (even though I flew from Ireland) in May last year.
(I flew from Dublin to Stansted and slept in the airport overnight.)
Easyjet (check in early, if you are following today's UK news !!!!!;)) from Stansted to Asturias airport. My flight was about 6am. The airport is maybe 50km from Oviedo and there was an efficient and cheap coach from outside the (very small, modern) terminal. I stayed a night in Oviedo - it is a very nice city with plenty to see. 2 weeks is plenty for the walk. You will probably fly home from Santiago. Skyscanner will give you a lot of choices. Sometimes a connecting flight via Madrid or Barcelona is very cheap or else a direct flight to LGW.
Hi Timr Thank you very much for your advice its really good to hear, your advice is of great help to me
 
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Year of past OR future Camino
Camino virgin, hoping to walk the Camino Primitivo this Autumn
@Paul Geronimo Goddard Oh and just a word of advice - if you have further specific questions, you'll get an easier response by starting a new thread, (within this subforum). Although this thread is pinned, and HUGELY useful, specific questions will be picked up more easily with a new header. Tim
Thanks again Tim
 

pablo.m

Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Frances (09-10.12) Portuguese(05-06.13) Norte (05-06.15)
Great post Laurie... thank you!
& a really good thread to read through... nice one all

Am on the hunt for Spring Primitivo talk... am thinking about walking the Primitivo in March, not a lot of info...

"I have been collecting diaries on the Primitivo for wanna-be pilgrims and this one will be invaluable."
Hi SillyDoll
Those diaries sound useful... any links you might want to share??

Cheers
 
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peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
Great post Laurie... thank you!
& a really good thread to read through... nice one all

Am on the hunt for Spring Primitivo talk... am thinking about walking the Primitivo in March, not a lot of info...

"I have been collecting diaries on the Primitivo for wanna-be pilgrims and this one will be invaluable."
Hi SillyDoll
Those diaries sound useful... any links you might want to share??

Cheers
Hi, Pablo, I did not have a blog for my first Camino Primitivo in 2008. This post was about it. For the others, you can find the links by clicking on the right titles on the list of blogs that comes up at the bottom of each of my posts. If you can't find them, let me know. Buen camino, Laurie
 

Corine

Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Frances(2013)
Portuguese (2015)
VDlP(2017)
Camino Mozarabe/Levante from Toledo (2018)
Re: The Camino Primitivo in October

Hi, Laura,
Well, I just took a look at what I wrote and see that I have used the word "beautiful" over and over. I guess I got a bit carried away with the adjectives. But here's a link to my pictures, so you can judge for yourself.

http://picasaweb.google.com/laurie.reyn ... rimitivo1#

Laurie

Hi Laurie, how would you compare the Primitivo to the Mozarabe? We are thinking about walking the Primitivo perhaps next year
 

PK Smit

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
(015)Irun to Santiago
(017)Lisboa to S
2018Caminha to Santiago
(2018) Camino English Ferrol Santiago
Hi All,
Laurie, first of all I would like to congratulate you on the accuracy of your guides, we have used your Camino Portuguese guide (Lisbon to Santiago) without any hick ups. I have also downloaded your Primitivo, and looking forward on using it this May. Just one question, is there an alternative for the stretch from Melida to Santiago? I have read somewhere about, if I recall correctly, the "green Camino" from Lugo to Lavacolla.
If anybody can provide some clarity on this.
 
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peregrina2000

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Hi All,
Laurie, first of all I would like to congratulate you on the accuracy of your guides, we have used your Camino Portuguese guide (Lisbon to Santiago) without any hick ups. I have also downloaded your Primitivo, and looking forward on using it this May. Just one question, is there an alternative for the stretch from Melida to Santiago? I have read somewhere about, if I recall correctly, the "green Camino" from Lugo to Lavacolla.
If anybody can provide some clarity on this.

Hi, PK,
I haven’t walked this green alternative from Lugo to Sobrado dos Monxes, but we have a sub-forum with a lot of info. https://www.caminodesantiago.me/community/forums/camino-verde-from-lugo-to-sobrado.194/

As far as Sobrado to Lavacolla, look here. I haven’t walked that alternative either, though. https://www.caminodesantiago.me/com...colla-avoiding-arzúa-st-irene-pedrouzo.58373/


Hi Laurie, how would you compare the Primitivo to the Mozarabe? We are thinking about walking the Primitivo perhaps next year
Oh dear, Corine, I just saw your question. I always have a hard time comparing caminos for difficulty, but I have met a lot of non-hard-core first-timers on the Primitivo and they all were fine. The first days out of Almería on the Mozárabe were hard, more because of walking on a rocky river bed and one tricky descent than anything else, but I never had the feeling I had reached my limits. You should compare some elevation profiles for the Primitivo, gronze has some and so do other websites. Buen camino, Lauarie
 

PK Smit

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
(015)Irun to Santiago
(017)Lisboa to S
2018Caminha to Santiago
(2018) Camino English Ferrol Santiago
Thank you so much Laurie, for the very usefull information.
 

Brookie

New Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2021
I did not find crossing the dam to be unusually scary, and I'm not fond of heights. I crossed it on October 1, 2014. I highly recommend the Camino Primitivo, as well as the Camino del Salvador. A big shout-out to Laurie (Peregrina2000) for her very helpful advice on both routes. I keep meaning to write up a travel report, but just can't seem to find the time.
I’m looking at the Primitivo this year with my wife, but I am bad with vertigo and drops. Other than comments on the dam, I can’t find comments on any other parts of the route that maybe “frightening” enough to paralyse me? Any thoughts on this please would be great.
 

MikeJS

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Francis (2011), Norte (12), VdlP (16). Sureste/Invierno (17). Olvidado/San Salvador/Primitivo (19)
I cannot bring any place to mind that may be scary, but then I never considered the dam scary so I simply not notice such things.
 

camino07

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Frances x5, Portuguese VdlP12, Sanabres, Aragones, Norte,Salvador,Primitivo, VdlP 17,Madrid18Norte
Loved the Hospitales route but that descent at the end ,down into the village terrifies me. I have done it twice now and the second time was as bad as the first.
 
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peregrina2000

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Loved the Hospitales route but that descent at the end ,down into the village terrifies me.
Totally agree. The village itself, Montefurado is a beautiful, but almost totally abandoned village, where I have always thought an albergue would be a brilliant idea.

But just to poit out that you have to make this descent no matter which route you take. The Hospitales route joins with the Pola de Allande route at the pass, which is where the stony descent begins.

I am unable to judge what would cause vertigo, but this is a hard and tricky descent, kind of like some of the descent after Alto del Perdón on the Francés, or the rocky part into El Acebo, but I think this is steeper. It is also a real nightmare in wet weather. There is a road option, which would add many kms, but would be less harrowing for those with vertigo. The good thing is that you could make the decision when you are there and see what it looks like.

The AS-14 takes you there in 4.6 km. If you look at the google maps screenshot I’ve attached showing the road route, the walking route essentially draws a straight line between the two points.

3BEBFCB1-55DA-4A68-A624-9B14BF90FDEF.png
 

LesBrass

Likes Walking
Year of past OR future Camino
yes...
... It is also a real nightmare in wet weather.

When we walked in 2019 there was a very heavy mist, cold cold rain and wind. We reached this point and I was dreading it; I'm not happy on descents at the best of times... and I'd read about this one!

My husband told me to go first and he would wait behind me and grab me if I slipped... three paces in and he slipped and pushed right into me sending me skidding too. No harm done at all and we both laughed and carried on gingerly picking our way down... partway down a pilgrim strode by without breaking his stride... oh I wish I had the confidence of that chap!

I would love to walk the Primitivo again.. maybe in spring rather than autumn and I guess I'll just have to pick my way down again :cool:
 

LesBrass

Likes Walking
Year of past OR future Camino
yes...
I’m looking at the Primitivo this year with my wife, but I am bad with vertigo and drops. Other than comments on the dam, I can’t find comments on any other parts of the route that maybe “frightening” enough to paralyse me? Any thoughts on this please would be great.

I'm really not a fan of heights and there have been bridges that I've struggled to cross but I never felt the dam was a problem. The descent down is tricky but again I never felt afraid of any ledges or heights... it was more the general steepness of the trail.

I can have my moments if there is a great height but I don't remember anything on the Primitivo... just a really beautiful walk! I hope you get there... it's glorious :cool:
 

Marbe2

Active member
Year of past OR future Camino
2015-2019 walked all or more than half of CF 7 times... CP recently cancelled by Covid 19!
When we walked in 2019 there was a very heavy mist, cold cold rain and wind. We reached this point and I was dreading it; I'm not happy on descents at the best of times... and I'd read about this one!

My husband told me to go first and he would wait behind me and grab me if I slipped... three paces in and he slipped and pushed right into me sending me skidding too. No harm done at all and we both laughed and carried on gingerly picking our way down... partway down a pilgrim strode by without breaking his stride... oh I wish I had the confidence of that chap!

I would love to walk the Primitivo again.. maybe in spring rather than autumn and I guess I'll just have to pick my way down again :cool:

Rule of Thumb, person behind you on a steep descent should leave more than one body between them and first descender in case they fall and put person first descender in danger. I am sometimes amazed with the lack of space between pilgrims going down from Alto de Perdon.
 
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2002, Toulouse/Aragon 2005, Cami S Jaume/Aragon 2007/9, Mont Saint Michel/Norte/Vadiniense 2011, Norte/Primitivo 2013, Norte/Primitivo 2014. Norte 2015, Cami S Jaume/Castellano-Aragonese 2016
I’m looking at the Primitivo this year with my wife, but I am bad with vertigo and drops. Other than comments on the dam, I can’t find comments on any other parts of the route that maybe “frightening” enough to paralyse me? Any thoughts on this please would be great.
I am very vertigo/heights sensitive and have done the Primitivo twice. The dam was the only place I felt any concern-- not that it was unsafe in any way, but on account of my difficulties. I had no trouble at all at the Pola de Allande, but others might-- it's a very subjective condition.
 
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MikeJS

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Francis (2011), Norte (12), VdlP (16). Sureste/Invierno (17). Olvidado/San Salvador/Primitivo (19)
Interesting how differently we see these things. I have just looked at my blog from the day I walked the Hospitales route and I clearly did not notice anything untoward - other than the dog that surprised me!

Samblismo to La Mesa 28km - Last nights Albergue was excellent. Most impressive was the superb evening meal and the wonderful breakfast that included freshly baked bread. He could add to his income by selling sandwiches for the next day (and bread making courses)! The Albergue is also situated ideally as it’s on the Pola route and the hospitalas path is less the 100m straight out the door. After the great breakfast I left at 0815 and headed up the hospitalas route. There was still some mist but it looked like it would clear quite quickly. The walk on this route is not at all difficult and it could not have been marked better if someone had drawn a yellow line along the whole way. The mist did clear before the first peak and the views were lovely. Unfortunately, the mist dropped down again after that and visibility dropped to 50m or so at some times. During one of these times I heard suddenly something running quickly from behind towards me. This made my heart beat a little faster. Turned out it was a dog that had followed another couple into the Albergue last night. He stayed with me for about 10 km and obviously knew the camino well. It was a lovely walk overall with very little time on road and a great stretch through a forest of Scots pine towards the end. Just like the previous day the mist cleared away about 40 mins before the end of the walk and now it’s a clear blue sky. I had expected it to be 30km to here but it was a little shorter and a lot shorter than my preference. However, this is a wonderful Albergue with a washing machine and dryer so it’s a great opportunity to get properly clean clothes again. Also the next opportunities to stop are 11km and then another 5km away and although it would have been doable all it would achieve is to make tomorrow shorter as the choices thereafter are limited. Did I mention there is a pool here as well? Pity it’s a little chilly. Probably off to Fonsagrada tomorrow.
 
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