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Second solo Camino - Primitivo or Frances?

Discussion in 'The Camino Primitivo' started by NovaSofi, Nov 14, 2017 at 4:48 AM.

  1. NovaSofi

    NovaSofi New Member Donating Member

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    Hello Camino friends, after a incredible first Camino Frances in May 2015, I have been longing to come back. Regarding the Camino Primitivo, the shorter time frame and rural, rugged mountainous experience appeals very much. In your experience if I choose this route, what will I miss from the Camino Frances experience? I loved the CF so much, I know if I walk it again I will not regret it but of course, hiking the original route has a different and alluring appeal (and is time-budget friendly!) Any feedback is very appreciated, thank you for sharing your experience.
     
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  2. norelle

    norelle Member Donating Member Donating Member

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    Hello!

    I enjoyed my Camino Primitivo, but I had walked the Frances twice before I walked the Primitivo.

    The Primitivo definitely has a camino spirit to it, especially if you look to stay in some of the special albergues along the way. One of the reasons I walked this way was that I didn't have the time to walk a longer camino.

    It is beautiful with stunning scenery, and the cities of Oviedo and Lugo interesting!

    good luck with your decision!
     
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  3. Bradypus

    Bradypus Antediluvian Donating Member

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    You will miss walking the meseta. The Primitivo has some of every other type of landscape you find on the CF but no meseta :) Depending on your own character you may miss the large crowds of the CF. Plenty of company in the albergues at night but with far fewer people walking you will see very few actually walking during the day. You may well miss the sheer number of albergues, restaurants and bars on the CF - so stages on the Primitivo may be longer than you would choose on the CF and you must give more thought to supplies of water, food and drink.
     
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  4. Devon Mike

    Devon Mike Active Member

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    Having walked the Frances three times in order to do all the alternative sections and stay in many different places, this year I did the Primitivo. It was a lovely experience despite the first half being quite tough with four parts climbing over 1000 metres. It was much quieter than the Frances and most of the time I was walking alone with no one else in sight. However when the Primitivo joined the Frances at Melide life suddenly got completely different with the crowds always found there.
     
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  5. NovaSofi

    NovaSofi New Member Donating Member

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    Thanks for your reply Norelle,
    I'm glad you felt a Camino spirit on the Primitivo, I was hoping its more than a quiet walk in the mountains.☺ Did you form a Camino family or make friends along the way? Would you be kind enough to share the names of a few of the special albergues? I feel the call to the Primitivo this go round, and your thoughts and experience is very helpful. Thanks much
     
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  6. NovaSofi

    NovaSofi New Member Donating Member

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    Hi Devon, thanks for you thoughts. I don't think I can quite roll off the couch, like I did with the CF!
     
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  7. NovaSofi

    NovaSofi New Member Donating Member

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    Haa, Bradypus! You are right indeed, I loved the meseta!! And the extensive choice of accommodations, food, bars, and company on the CF..it felt luxurious at times. I also loved the cherries, fields of brilliant red poppies, and green wheat with that golden road split through it all (late May, early June). I may be OK without the crowds but I hope to find some community on the Primitivo and I hope the food is decent.
     
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  8. alaskadiver

    alaskadiver Active Member Donating Member

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    Won't be returning in 2018 going on a dive trip instead.
    My husband and I did the Primitivo this past May. Never done any other. We would probably not enjoy the Frances as much given that we hated seeing the crowds of tourists and pilgrims after Melide. We met some really cool people at the albergues on the Primitivo. We weren't looking for a "family", that's just not our need or our thing. But we certainly walked for several sections with other pilgrims until we all just took of on our own. The Primitivo is not a flat walk for the first half. So you find that there are a lot of varying degrees of fitness. But it was a fantastic hike. We were at most of the albergues with the same group that we met in Escamplero. But often we stayed in private albergues so we would end up seeing them at dinner or chatting with them at the local square. Everyone who was walking when we were there had their partners. There was one older guy who was walking totally on his own. Never even spoke to us at night. It was clear that he was on a private journey. Very nice man.
     
  9. NovaSofi

    NovaSofi New Member Donating Member

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    Hi, thanks so much for your thoughts, its good to hear that you met some good people. The crowds on the CF were a bit much for me at times, as i'm an introvert, but as they say, the Camino doesn't always give you what you want, but what you need..! I am looking forward to a quieter, more natural setting this time. I love walking alone (esp. in the solitude of the mountains) but in the evenings, its definitely nice to talk to people and reflect on the experience, and have a few laughs.
     
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  10. NovaSofi

    NovaSofi New Member Donating Member

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    Also, I was reading your blog last night, and I really appreciate your packing list suggestions! Thanks for putting that together, super helpful!
     
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  11. alaskadiver

    alaskadiver Active Member Donating Member

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    Won't be returning in 2018 going on a dive trip instead.
    Thanks for the feedback. Lots of hours spent on those posts and the packing list :)
     
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  12. NovaSofi

    NovaSofi New Member Donating Member

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    I believe it! It looks like a ton of thought and effort to create that resource for everyone. I am very grateful and I look forward to reading on.
     
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  13. Kitsambler

    Kitsambler Jakobsweg Junkie Donating Member

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    Have you thought about the Le Puy route? It has the mountains, scenery, and (quite) decent food you desire ...
     
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  14. NovaSofi

    NovaSofi New Member Donating Member

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    I havent but I'll check it out, thanks for the suggestion.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 17, 2017 at 3:06 PM
  15. pelerine

    pelerine Member Donating Member Donating Member

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    I loved the Primitivo! The only problem you might have: clouds! Since a lot of the time you are high up in the "mountains", if you have a lot of clouds you find yourself walking in fog! My guidebook said: "Here you have a wonderful spot for your picnic with a magnificent view." Cloud - no view at all! I experienced this some of the time.
    Another thing: at one point I chose the old Hospitales(?) route - a long stage but not as difficult as I had expected. And in Berducedo there is not only an albergue, but a private residence as well. Arriving at 8 pm I had the last bed in the albergue which had been the last bed since 4 o'clock in the afternoon because all the others arrived in couples and had gone on to the private residence!
     
    Last edited: Nov 16, 2017 at 3:23 PM
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  16. NovaSofi

    NovaSofi New Member Donating Member

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    Hi @pelerine, thanks for your feedback, that is good to know! May I ask what time of year you were on the Primitivo? I'm planning an early June Camino (maybe, hopefully). From what I've read on the forum its quite busy in summer and I'll probably have to call ahead for reservation. Did you find this to be true during the time you were there? Thanks for sharing your experience, its invaluable ☺
     
  17. pelerine

    pelerine Member Donating Member Donating Member

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    I have just looked up the dates in my blog. I walked in June and it took me three weeks. Not too many people, just nice. Many of them walked faster, but then I was 73 at the time and did not want to kill myself. It was my second camino and since then I am hooked. If you want an impression of what it was like you can read about it in the blog of all of my caminos: inasantiago.blogspot.fr - go to the year 2013. All of my caminos but the last one this year. That was the Camino de Torres which I wanted to post on the Salamanca university website, so it was set up on its own. That one has become "my baby" and I try to make it known as much as I can to wet people's appetite: inaoncaminotorres.blogspot.fr.
    Voila! Have a wonderful Camino Primitivo!
     
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  18. Camino Chris

    Camino Chris Veteran Member Donating Member

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    I walked the Primitivo in May 2016 with my adult son and loved it. We had mostly good weather and the few drizzly/foggy days did not dampen my spirit, in fact I saw its beauty as a nice change of scenery. Even the mud encountered during that time has left good memories, surprising as that may seem. It does take a little more planning (I used the Dave Whitson guide) than the Frances route which I've walked twice, as there are sometimes longer distances between lodging and food, but I didn't consider it a real problem. We ended our walk in Lugo as others on the forum had mentioned that after that it became more flat and since it joined with the Frances eventually, I had already done that section before. We took a bus to Santiago and spent two days in that delightful city before heading home. All in all, it was a wonderful route, but does have a somewhat different dynamic.
     
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  19. pelerine

    pelerine Member Donating Member Donating Member

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    Hi, NovaSofi! I have just looked up the private albergue in Berducedo in my old Spanish guide: Albergue privado Camin Antiguo, tel. 696 929 164 and 696 929 165 where you should be able to make a reservation. The albergue municipal normally does not take reservations.
     
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  20. Camino Chris

    Camino Chris Veteran Member Donating Member

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    We stayed in Berducedo at the municipal albergue in May 2016 and got the last two beds as the private one was full. The woman who took our money never looked up or smiled, then left the premises immediately. I can't honestly even call her a hospitalero. (We saw her shortly after in the bar drinking at the counter.) It was the absolute worst albergue ever! Dirty, cold showers, and very cramped quarters with barely room enough on the floor to put your backpack without tripping over it. My son's top bunk had rope on one post tied to the window latch and out of curiosity untied it. His bunk began swaying precariously back and forth as others (myself included) began to laugh.:p Needless to say, he tied it quickly back up! We privately called this albergue "the dump", the only one given a name like that on all three of our various six week Caminos.

    That all said, we still felt very fortunate to get these last two bunks and grateful to have a warm bed for the night, although I didn't sleep well as I worried about the potential of bedbugs joining me. :oops:
     
    Last edited: Nov 16, 2017 at 4:00 PM
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  21. camino07

    camino07 Veteran Member Donating Member Donating Member

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    There is a very nice new albergue with bar/restaurant in Berducedo. I think it is called Albergue Perigrino.
     
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  22. pelerine

    pelerine Member Donating Member Donating Member

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    Hi NovaSofi! After reading Camino Chris' post I would make a reservation at the private albergue in Berducedo a few days ahead of your expected arrival to make certain you have a bed.

    When I arrived in Berducedo in 2013 it was late (8 pm) and I had to go to the bar to pay - the lady was behind the counter and I domremember that she did not seem to take notice of me other than taking my payment. The albergue was cramped but clean; and noisy because a group of Spaniards were having their evening meal at their usual dinner hour. And I slept in the upper bunk your son slept in, Chris! Nobody had fixed it to anything and it swayed dangerously, but I was so tired that I went to sleep instantly and did not notice any more until I clambered down the following morning.
     
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  23. peregrina2000

    peregrina2000 Moderator Staff Member Donating Member Donating Member Donating Member

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    Well, on the off chance that this will scare some away from the Primitivo, I just want to clarify that what Mike means is that there are three or four days when you reach a point that is higher than 1000 meters. But you never have to actually climb 1000 meters.

    Tineo to Pola gets you to a point of 1170 m high, but your total climb is 600 meters.

    Pola to La Mesa -- you reach 1130 m with a climb of 600

    Grandas to Fonsagrada -- you reach 103o m with a climb of 400.

    I have met many people who walked the Primitivo as their first Camino and were fine. Think Astorga to Rabanal (600) rather than Villafranca to O Cebreiro (800) or SJPP to Roncesvalles (1200)

    Buen camino, Laurie
     
  24. Kanga

    Kanga Moderator Staff Member Donating Member Donating Member

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    Thank you for that @peregrina2000. You make it sound much more do-able.
     
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  25. Antonius Vaessen

    Antonius Vaessen Active Member Donating Member Donating Member

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    If two weeks is too short, you could combine the Primitivo
    With the Salvador ( from Leon to Oviedo) That would add 4-7 days. The Salvador is also very beautiful but less people walk it
     
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  26. pelerine

    pelerine Member Donating Member Donating Member

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    Yes, good idea! I have met others on the Salvador who intended to continue on the Primitivo from Oviedo.
     
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  27. oldman

    oldman oldman Donating Member Donating Member

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    I have twice walked the French Way, and will probably do it again , but this year wanted something different , so I started from Oviedo on the 3rd July and returned home on the 18th after two days in Santiago. I finished walking on the 16th and taking into account the info from peregrina 2000 earlier post, I walked took the Hospitals route as far as Puerto del Palo ( there is a guy selling drinks there now ) and the returned to Campiello (by Taxi it was expensive ) new casa ,shop,bar good food) then the next day walked the other route via Pola De Allande. Both of are very beautiful in there own way , but for me the Allande one is the best one but also the toughest especially the last stretch to the power station where they join .my advise would be stage this rout from Pola De Allande. If you pick Hospitals its a long 15km climb with some sneaky steep bits where you might meet a Bull or Stallion but the down hill after the power station is very rough , you may need to readjust your laces in order not to get Hammer Toe . Problems are don't expect to see much early in the mornings .and clouds make the trees rain.
    If I walk the rout again, I will start at Sebrayo about 50 km from Oviedo, at the time did not know this is where it actually starts. or further back towards the northern Camino
    And for interest the best lunch I have ever had in Spain is available in Salas in Casa Romano, on the right side after you go trough the arch at the top of the Town,to describe it would only spoil the experience as I am sure anyone who has dined there will agree.
     
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  28. Tazz

    Tazz New Member

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    I walked the Camino Frances in May 2016 with my daughter and then did my first solo Camino on the Salvador (Leon to Oviedo) then Primitivo (Oviedo - SDC) in May 2017. It was probably one of the best experiences of my life. It was a very simple train ride from Madrid to Leon where I spent my first night and got rid of some of my jet lag.
    The Salvador was exceptionally beautiful, beyond words actually. Others are correct in that it is very quiet with respect to seeing other pilgrims. I saw 5 in total during the 4 days I walked, however, I didn't feel lonely nor unsafe. I stayed in only one Albergue (in Pajares) because during that time of year you can be the only pilgrim in the Albergue. I preferred a cheaper 3 star hotel and there are several along the way. My recommendation would be to do the hike in 5 or 6 days rather than 4. Once in Oviedo, I began the Primitivo which was a quiet hilly version of the Frances. I would estimate around 30 people per day were starting the Primitivo and around 1/3 of them had been on the Norte and decided to visit Oviedo and join the Primitivo. There were ample places to stay if you don't mind mixing private and municipal accommodations. The only place I heard of people finding it hard to find an albergue was Grado (first night). Some had to move on the next town (5km) later. I would suggest doing the Camino Primitivo in 12 days (I did it in 10 and that was too fast).
    Don't fret about the hills or being in the clouds. The people I met were all of average physical ability and aged in range from 20 to 70. They managed the hills quite fine. Regarding being in the clouds, there is only one place that occurs which is if you take the Hospitales option. I took the valley option to Pola De Allande as there is no accommodation along the Hospitales route and it would have required doing a very short day prior to going that way. The valley option was very beautiful and you still have to cross the mountain eventually. The walk up the mountain through the forest is very peaceful and beautiful.

    When you reach Melide you do also join the masses of people and that can be a bit overwhelming but it is only for 2 days.
    One benefit of doing the Camino San Salvador and Primitivo is that you get to experience 3 amazing small cities along the way (Leon, Oviedo and Lugo). Lugo is an ancient city with an intact 2.2 km long walkable wall surrounding the very active and pretty old town.
    You should consider downloading the free guide from the CSJ to get more information about the Salvador and I also used the wise pilgrim app numerous times.

    I am definitely going to do these 2 Caminos again, however, hopefully my wife can join me next time to share the beauty and meet as many nice people as I did along the way.
     
  29. NovaSofi

    NovaSofi New Member Donating Member

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    Hi @pelerine, I'll definitely check out your blog on the primitivo and Torres. Thanks much for sharing your experiences. I'm excited about to learn about this Camino Torres...:)
     
  30. Yahya Kabak

    Yahya Kabak New Member

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    Thank you for your very useful explanations.I have exposure (head for heights) problem.Is there some stages on Salvador or Primitivo ways If there, is there alternative route to shift that unsafety part.Thanks in advance for your explanations
     
  31. NovaSofi

    NovaSofi New Member Donating Member

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    Hi @Tazz, thanks for your taking the time to tell me about your journey. I love the idea of walking the Salvador camino to Oviedo. I've never heard of it but it sounds fantastic...I'm still waiting for my Northern Caminos book to arrive :) Good to know that hills were manageable, albergues/ hotels not too full, (exp. Grado). On reading about the albergues, ie. (No hot water, wifi) I might treat myself to some hotels on this journey. I hope your wife gets out there with you! Cheers. :)
     
  32. Dinah Shaw

    Dinah Shaw New Member

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    I didn't care for the Frances. I started on the Norte which I loved. Unfortunately, I had infected blisters and lost about 9 days. Then I didn't have enough time to finish the Norte and went down to the Frances. My next Camino will be to finish the Norte or do the Primitivo. Both much more beautiful than the Frances in my opinion
     
  33. Camino Chris

    Camino Chris Veteran Member Donating Member

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    Location:
    Illinois, USA
    Camino(s) past & future:
    Camino Frances (2015); Camino Norte/Primitivo (2016); Camino Frances (April/May 2017)
    I have walked the Frances twice and the Norte/Primitivo once, all starting in mid April. I loved them all and although the Norte/Primitivo has a greater number of majestic sections, I also have lots of great memories of some very beautiful portions of the Frances. Possibly they were not the ones you walked.
     
  34. Dinah Shaw

    Dinah Shaw New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2017
    Messages:
    10
    Likes Received:
    5
    Camino(s) past & future:
    Camino Norte and Frances Sept 6 - Oct 11, 2016
    I started the Frances in Leon and thought the part from Leon to Astorga was bad, especially the part from Leon to Villar de Mazarife. If I had known it was going to be that desolate, flat and ugly (my view) I would have gone along the highway or taken a taxi. The rest of the Frances was OK but in my view cannot compare to the Norte.
     
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  35. laineylainey

    laineylainey Active Member Donating Member Donating Member

    Joined:
    Aug 20, 2016
    Messages:
    253
    Likes Received:
    180
    Location:
    Fermanagh Ireland
    Camino(s) past & future:
    2012 - 2015 CF
    2015 SdC-Fisterra-Muxia
    2016 Porto-SdC
    2017 Salvador&Primitivo
    2017 Mozarabe
    You have more or less described my same experienceof the Salvador and Primitivo this Sept. I would repeat both in a heartbeat especially the fabulous Salvador. Your post is lovely.
     
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  36. Dinah Shaw

    Dinah Shaw New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2017
    Messages:
    10
    Likes Received:
    5
    Camino(s) past & future:
    Camino Norte and Frances Sept 6 - Oct 11, 2016
    I am planning to do my second Camino next fall and want to do the Primitivo but it isn't enough. Now that I heard about San Salvador that is what I am going to do and then on the the Primitivo. Thanks for the great info. When I was in Leon I didn't have time to explore the town so now I'll have a chance to do so.
     
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  37. laineylainey

    laineylainey Active Member Donating Member Donating Member

    Joined:
    Aug 20, 2016
    Messages:
    253
    Likes Received:
    180
    Location:
    Fermanagh Ireland
    Camino(s) past & future:
    2012 - 2015 CF
    2015 SdC-Fisterra-Muxia
    2016 Porto-SdC
    2017 Salvador&Primitivo
    2017 Mozarabe
    Dinah I am sure you will love both the Salvador and the Primitivo.
     
  38. Camino Chris

    Camino Chris Veteran Member Donating Member

    Joined:
    Mar 1, 2017
    Messages:
    785
    Likes Received:
    1,275
    Location:
    Illinois, USA
    Camino(s) past & future:
    Camino Frances (2015); Camino Norte/Primitivo (2016); Camino Frances (April/May 2017)
    Yes, I agree that stretch does not have much in the way of "eye candy". There are so many things about walking the Camino that I appreciate beyond just the beauty of nature, that I still find value in every step. :)
     

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