If you enjoyed the blog last week on the Camino del Norte, I hope you’ll enjoy this next edition; everything Camino Primitivo. It’s not hard to tell from the name that the primitivo is the most organic of the many camino’s throughout Europe. The primitivo, also known as the original way, was the first recorded pilgrimage route to Santiago de Compostela in the 9th century. Starting in the city of Oviedo, Asturias this route wraps around daunting mountain ranges, sends you head first into delicate forests, rolling countryside villages with a sometimes eerie woodland interlude. As you cross the border into Galicia, you’re rewarded with breathtaking views of whats to come and while there is still a decent amount of concrete to work through, the majority of your walking is soft underfoot.
What can I say, the Camino Primitivo felt different instantly. It had a different aura about it, a different vibe and that aura was potent. When it came to splitting from the Camino del Norte I wasn’t too sure I wanted to leave lapping shores, surfing prospects and sandy feet behind. But I’m glad I did, the hills were calling and I was ready to put my walking poles to good use.
What I enjoyed most about the Camino Primitivo was without question the rugged landscape. What I enjoyed least was the weather. Naturally, Galicia endures copious amounts of rainfall and even in June & July, this was no exaggeration. It rained most days. Great.
Facilities in general were a little more sparse, this meant pushing another 5km to get to the next town was virtually impossible. It did however make for genuinely getting to know your fellow pilgrims. A camino ‘family’ you’ll hear mentioned frequently is particularly easy to cultivate on this camino.
I mentioned last week I kept a journal throughout in the attempt to remember the experience. Writing has always been a cathartic process to assist in daily decompressing and this experience was no different. I dedicated a word a day to represent the walk, people or place. Below is my recap of the Camino Primitivo. But first:
Finish: Santiago de Compostela
How many days: 11 days
How many kilometers: 320km over the Hospitales Route
Facilities on the Camino Primitivo were a little more sparse, but I didn’t really see this as a negative. One of the best things about this camino is that there are less retail and hospitality opportunities along the way, and while this can be daunting for some, those who need to take frequent breaks will merely be required to store some extra food in their packs – it really is a positive thing.
Dear reader I urge to to continue for the wonders of this camino are written all over each step taken, each breath exhaled and every moment in between. Continuing on from last week…
Day 18, Word of the day: Wind
Distance: 24km From: Oviedo To: Grado
Day 19, Word of the day: Unexpected
Distance: 31km From: Grado To: Bodenaya
Day 20, Word of the day: Torrential
Distance: 24.5km From: Bodenaya To: Campiello
Day 21, Word of the day: Wow
Distance: 29km From: Campiello To: Berducedo
Day 22, Word of the day: Steep
Distance: 20km From: Berducedo To: Grandas de Salime
Day 23, Word of the day: Glorious
Distance: 28km From: Grandas de Salime To: Fonsagrada
Word of the day: Day 24 Panoramic
Distance: 33km From: Fonsagrada To: Castroverde
Day 25, Word of the day: Boring
Distance: 22km From: Castroverde To: Lugo
Day 26, Word of the day: Boo
Distance: 32km From: Lugo To: As Seixas
Day 27, Word of the day: Surreal
Distance: 33km From: As Seixas To: Pregotono
Day 28, Word of the day: Thank-you
Distance: 36km From: Pregotono To: Santiago de Compostela
Our daily routine as pilgrims is almost identical; wake up, eat something, walk, eat again, walk, eat again, wash your clothes, sleep. Then do it again, and again, and again. Dare I say it, I was scared to finish, to not be walking daily, my body was not only used to it, but actually enjoyed the motion, the mobility and the challenge. Which is why I couldn’t stop in Santiago de Compostela, I had to continue, to keep walking. I had 4 days up my sleeve and I was not going to stop now. I continued on out to Fisterra (literal translation: The end of the world) and then Muxia. Join me next week for the final camino edition!
And before you ask; arriving in Santiago de Compostela was an experience I’ll never forget. On one hand you’re extremely proud and relieved to have made it, meeting many along the way who may have had to discontinue due to various reasons. And on the other you’re sad, almost mourning the fact that after tomorrow, you’re no longer a pilgrim: You’re a tourist, in a city, sightseeing. It’s overwhelming.
I’ll never forget that feeling of arrival, that heaviness in my chest, that joy in my soul.
Until next week, xoxo