The Camino Primitivo – A Recap

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:

FACTZ

Start: Oviedo

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

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So close, but so far!

Day 19, Word of the day: Unexpected

Distance: 31km From: Grado To: Bodenaya

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One of the many babbling brooks

Day 20, Word of the day: Torrential

Distance: 24.5km From: Bodenaya To: Campiello

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Did someone order more rain?

Day 21, Word of the day: Wow

Distance: 29km From: Campiello To: Berducedo

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The hills most certainly are alive

Day 22, Word of the day: Steep

Distance: 20km From: Berducedo To: Grandas de Salime

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As far as the eye can see

Day 23, Word of the day: Glorious

Distance: 28km From: Grandas de Salime To: Fonsagrada

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No matter how small the town, there’s always a church!

Word of the day: Day 24 Panoramic

Distance: 33km From: Fonsagrada To: Castroverde

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Peace and quiet!

Day 25, Word of the day: Boring

Distance: 22km From: Castroverde To: Lugo

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More concrete? Really?

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

 


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