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Question for xm about the Camino del Norte

Hi, xm,

I read in another post of yours that you didn't "get into" the Camino del Norte and left it for the Primitivo. As I'm starting out on the Norte in a few weeks, I'd be interested in hearing your experiences.

And a question -- when you say you left the Norte for the Primitivo, does that mean you continued on the Norte until Oviedo? If so, you've really walked a pretty good chunk of it. Actually, others have suggested that we turn off the Norte before Aviles and go to Oviedo in order to continue through Lugo on the primitivo. Do you (or does anyone else) have an opinion on this option?

Many thanks.


Hello Peregrina2000.

To me, Camino-related experiences are totally personal and subjective. What may be an exhaulted one, could be a downer for another.

I just simply couldn't get into the Camino del Norte because I did not find, I couldn't live, realize, or place myself, in the experience of a pilgrimage. There were exceptions, like when I went to mass at a significant church just outside of Irun, which name escapes me now, and, recognizing my pilgrim attire, some parishioners approached me to wish me luck and encouragement.

This may sound funny and totally ridiculous to u, but, at one point, I thought of standing on a corner in a town along the route and extending my hand to beg! (I didn't). Begging for alms, begging to internalize what to me was that spirit of pilgrimaging that I was so greatly looking for.

I never had this kind of experience in my previous Caminos.

Granted, that Camino is historic and documented, not well, yet, but getting there. And an alternative to the CF's massification, particularly during the summer months, is crucially needed.

It's got beautiful scenes reflecting the topography of that part of Spain.

It just turned out to be too touristy, for me, too close to an urban reality that I was not interested in.

That's it.

Again, it was my experience. I have personal friends that adore the Camino del Norte and, on this site, fellow-pilgrims have shared wonderful stories about it.

I respect them all.

I walked from Somport to Puente la Reina. At Puente, I took a bus to Irun.

I walked the beginning portion of the Camino del Norte, from Irun to Donostia (S. Sebastian). Once there and haven realized that I wanted "out," I took a train with Oviedo as the final destination from where I could continue on the Camino Primitivo, not on my plans at all for that year.

It turned out to be wonderful. Among other things, I made very dear friends with whom I correspond and visit frequently.

I stopped, stayed overnight, and visited the Sanctuary of Covadonga, and the Museo de Indianos in Colombres, along the way, part of my personal pilgrimage. Once in Oviedo, I stayed that night at the albergue, there. I walked from Oviedo to Lugo, caught a bus at the latter one to Ribadeo, by the coast, and entered Santiago through the end portion of the Camino Norte.

I hope this answers your questions and in no way affects your plans adversely.

Buen Camino to u,

xm 8)
Many thanks for that frank assessment, xm. Like you, we'll have the flexibility to change if we feel the need. I know that this is terribly personal and individual, but it helps to hear a variety of opinions. I'll keep an open mind.

I'm curious about your experience on the Primitivo, both in terms of nuts and bolts (terrain, is there a lot of asphalt, etc.), and your impressions. Do you have any idea why you liked that Camino more?

And what are your impressions from the segment of the Norte from Ribadeo to Santiago?

Many thanks.


Hey, peregrina2000, you're really getting me to think/work here :!: Nah, just kidding, am honored to have this dialogue with u. Putting some thoughts together on my mind, will get back to u in no time. Best, xm 8)


Hi peregrina2000,

there wasn't that much asphalt on the Camino Primitivo (Interior), it was very peaceful, not too many people when I walked it, lots of mud, it had rained a lot.

The terrain was hilly and, if I remember correctly, it's got the highest point on the Caminos, Palo de Poio. I had heard sooo much about how difficult it was, it turned out to be not hard at all. Medium difficulty I would say.

The Asturian/Gallecian cuisine along the way is exquisite, I had the most heavenly cheesecakes ever!

I also liked it because I was familiar with its history, being close or in the general area of the first Camino de Santiago. Maybe it's all a "head trip," bu that fact, along with thinking about the thousands of people that must have walked that route, contributed to my feeling comfortable on it, that I was one more along with all of them. I felt the spirit of a pilgrimage there, what I was lacking on the other one. That was important to me.

I met/made four wonderful friends there, am sure that increased the pleasures and joys of the experience.

Ribadeo-Santiago was a beaut, too. The refugio at Ribadeo is pretty close to the water, a picturesque site that looked like a post card. I understand that the CSJ now had an albergue in a much needed place along this route. That portion was beautiful.

Both of these Caminos were not heavily transited when I did them, not as many pilgrims walked on them as on the CF. The albergues were pretty decent.

I highly highly highly recommend them.

Hope this helps, my friend.

Whichever u choose to do, I wish u the best Caminos :!:

xm 8)
Thanks so much xm, you've given me a lot to think about. We are probably going to start the Norte and keep an open mind, see how it goes. I am tucking away your experiences in the corner of my brain, so we will have options to consider if we choose to abandon the Norte. It sounds like both the primitivo and the norte from Ribadeo are beautiful and more "camino-like."

I will let you know how this all turns out -- the anticipation is rising!


Hello, peregrina2000.

Options, that's one of the things the Caminos r about, for me. Just like in life. It took me a while to understand that I could freely plan my routes and alter them or not accordingly. It also took me familiarity with the totality of what the experience is about, along with self-confidence, and listening, deciding, and abiding, by the advice and suggestions of more experienced friends. When/Where r u planning to start the C Norte from?
Please do keep me posted. I wish u the best of the experience. xm 8)


peregrina2000, ur almost there, am happy for u:!: Have a safe and buen Camino :!: xm 8)
peregrina2000, thats completly crazy, I'm leaving too from Irun on may 4th!!!
So if you see two lost girls its my friend and I!

We will pass by el camino primitivo. I did the CF last year and I meet people that recommend it to me.

Hope to have the pleasure to meet you.

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