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First Time Primitivo: Two Questions

Discussion in 'General Chat' started by Timothy Stark, Dec 4, 2017.

  1. Timothy Stark

    Timothy Stark Teacher and Hiker

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    Hello,

    I am hiking the Primitivo next May (my first Camino!) and I need the advice of all the Camino folks on two matters:

    1. Is the Primitivo way marked well or do I need to use a GPS unit with waypoints and daily routing?

    2. Is the Hospitales Route the best way to go (assuming the weather is OK) as my luggage transport company stated that most of their hikers do not do the Hospitales Route?

    (I am a fairly fit 60 year old with four long distance treks in my resume.)

    Thanks in advance for any and all help or advice!

    Tim
     
  2. Crepes4Suzette

    Crepes4Suzette Well-Known Member

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    Tim, I'd written you a response a few day ago, but have little add to those already on the main forum. Just didn't want to leave you with no response to your posts.

    I'm not sure many of the more frequent contributors here have done the Primitivo other than Rob and Calowie. Rob (RJS) has his Camino blogs posted, and Calowie has also posted her blog specifically for the Primitivo - I hope she doesn't mind that I link it: https://carlosandmick.wordpress.com/ . ALL threads and blogs here and on the main site were very useful for planning. I researched it for a couple of years and went to do it - was sidelined that time in Madrid - but I can tell you a few things from the planning. I'm hoping to go back in the Spring for my 4th actual Camino to do it after some of the coastal paths on the Norte.

    You can actually see the path on Google maps (satellite) - find the Alto de la Marta or Peurto del Palo and walk it back to Borres via the 2 "Hospitals" (old Camino structures that were once a pilgrim care place of some sort). They show up at the 500 and 200 meter views. That, of course, won't show you the level of difficulty, but many have given an idea of how difficult it is in their posts. There are some beautiful YouTubes by people who have done the Hospitales route.

    If you are convinced you want to do the Hospitales route, you can evidently get a taxi from the Alto de la Marta if you make arrangements the day ahead via your lodging. That reduces the total Km for the day and avoids a very steep descent. You'll have to take provisions. Alaskadiver's blog of it from last year when she did it during a heat wave is really useful also (on the other forum). Undermanager on the other forum also did a good blog from last season. I personally would not want to miss the Hospitales route because I live in the mountains and am a mountain panorama junkie who hiked across the Napoleon during 146k winds the first time......because in a moment of bad reasoning, I decided I hadn't gone all the way to the Pyrenees to miss the views (NOT the brightest things I've done....). Therefore, if there were no extreme weather conditions, I wouldn't miss doing the Hospitales for anything and can well understand why you are trying to decide which route you'd rather take. Maybe have a look also at what people say about the need to make arrangements with a service? Happy planning, and I hope you let people know how your plans and your Camino are for you.
     
    Last edited: Dec 7, 2017
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  3. Timothy Stark

    Timothy Stark Teacher and Hiker

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    Thank you for the detailed answers!
    You mention many of the Primitivo blogs, but I am having a bit of difficulty actually finding the blogs (other than the one you linked). As I am new to this forum, would you be so kind as to point me in the direction of where all these blogs that you referenced are?
     
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  4. Crepes4Suzette

    Crepes4Suzette Well-Known Member

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    Surely. Glad to help. I also checked the Wikiloc options. There ARE Wikilocs for the Primitivo, but in expanding each of them, I don't see one that specifically goes up the Hospitales Route.

    Here are some threads from this forum related to the Primitivo. The one from Calowie is above. Rob's: https://web.archive.org/web/20151120125413/http://members.virtualtourist.com/m/50192/c2/.
    Here's a link to the other Primitivo threads on this forum:
    http://www.caminodesantiago.org.uk/forums/camino-primitivo-or-original-way.34/

    If you have an iPhone, Wise Pilgrim has a good app to download for the Primitivo. They also have a printable guide for the Primitivo, evidently: http://www.wisepilgrim.com/camino_primitivo_in_asturias

    Gronze.com is great for albergues/lodging options, including links to Booking.com ones. There are places on most Caminos on Booking.com, but few on the Primitivo, in case you like to stay at nonalbergue places.

    The Cicerone guide of the "Northern Caminos" is good, and includes the Primitivo. It's supposedly being updated, but other than newer albergues in the last few years, it's supposed to be accurate. I didn't like the maps in it, but I use maps.me and google.maps and wikiloc's app.
    https://www.amazon.com/Northern-Cam...coding=UTF8&psc=1&refRID=15BR43EY2ZZBFE5T0HPQ

    I'm having some reservations about linking others' threads from the other forum here because I don't know how people would feel about it. One of my posts from here was lifted and linked to that forum recently and it was uncomfortable to me to see it linked there. I don't participate on the main forum anymore and so can't get to some of the links, but this might help you search there for the Primitivo:

    On it's main page, click the top left heading "Camino de Santiago Forum" and once there, scroll down a bit to the pink highlighted area on the left that says "Other Routes in Spain" - the threads are under Camino Primitivo, 5th down on the left. They take some sorting through.

    I think you'll find that it's the most spectacular day on the Primitivo, although others would be able to tell you better.
     
    Last edited: Dec 6, 2017
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  5. MichaelSG

    MichaelSG Active Member

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    If it helps, Tim, here is my blog post from the day we walked over the Hospitales route in mid-May 2017. http://memismscaminodelnorte.blogspot.sg/2017/05/day-24-campiello-to-berducedo-via-las.html

    It was cold. It was wet. It was an experience of a lifetime. I highly recommend it. My wife and I average out to 60 years old and we were decently fit by the time we reached that section after walking from Irun.

    Some suggestions I have for that particular day. Don't carry too much food. You won't be spending the night on the mountain or needing tons of extra energy. We all carried slabs of meat, chorizo, bread, fruit, cookies, etc. We carried it to the top and then carried it to the bottom. Do carry enough water. It was cold & occasionally rainy for us and we managed easily with 1.5L each and cameling up in in Campiello and Borres. You will need more if it is sunny and hot. Plan to stay in Campiello the night before the Hospitales. It's a much nicer place than Borres but if you are really struggling to do 29km days, or there are many people competing for beds, maybe Borres will help a little. Reserve a bed in Berducedo a day ahead of time. People from both alternative routes stop there.

    In general, I found it pretty easy to follow the trail throughout the Primitivo but I still carried an iPhone with me with the maps.me app. Northern Spain maps and the Primitivo trail were pre-loaded into it so I always new where I was in relation to the trail and the targeted day's stop. It works of-line so batteries are not an issue. I also recommend that highly too. Buen Camino!
     
  6. Timothy Stark

    Timothy Stark Teacher and Hiker

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    Hello,
    Thanks for the great and detailed reply! One initial question: I downloaded the Maps.me app, but am unable to find the Primitivo routing of which you spoke. Would you be so kind as to let me know how to find that within the app?
    Thanks in advance,
    Tim
     
  7. MichaelSG

    MichaelSG Active Member

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    You can get the Primitivo tracks here: https://www.wikiloc.com/wikiloc/find.do?q=primitivo Alternatively, send me your e-mail address by direct message and I'll send you the ones I used. When you download or receive the kmz files, you can open them in maps.me and they will be saved there. Then open maps.me and zoom in on the entire trail to download the sections of maps that you need. One warning on the trails though, the Caminos are constantly being moved a little in a few places because of construction, local politics, land sales, etc. Always take the kmz files with a grain of salt. They were certainly correct at one time but things change. Last year, I saw at least three or four new re-routings.
     
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  8. calowie

    calowie Active Member

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    Tim- C4S gave you the link to our blog- I hope it helps. The first day leaving Oviedo was the most complicated because the brass markers were on the road or sidewalk, and you have to be careful not to walk blindly into traffic! After that we found the Primitivo well marked. We stayed in Campiello, and then passed Borres early in the morning where we had to decide whether or not to go via Hospitales. If it is rainy/foggy/ poor visibility hospitales will be more difficult to see the arrows, which often are on stakes pounded into the soil. With good visibility- TAKE THIS ROUTE! The views are amazing. Once you cross the route, get back to a windmill and road, you have to go through some gravelly areas, abandoned villages, etc and finally to a small store with cold drinks. The entire Primitivo was well marked for us- we took a printout of the area, downloaded some maps/routes/recommendations by Gronze, northern caminos, etc. and set general goals each day- stop when tired. Enjoy your adventure! Calowie
     
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  9. Timothy Stark

    Timothy Stark Teacher and Hiker

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    Hello Calowie,

    Thanks so much for your post!
    Would you be willing to share the "maps/routes/recommendations by Gronze" that you mentioned?
    Tim
     
  10. Crepes4Suzette

    Crepes4Suzette Well-Known Member

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    What a wonderful blog, Michael! I took notes, and really enjoyed it. Very entertaining and thoughtful.
     
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  11. MichaelSG

    MichaelSG Active Member

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    Tim, if it helps, I have added a page on my blog with some directions for downloading maps, trails and maps.me to your iPhone. https://memismsblogs.wordpress.com/maps-me/
    Thanks much Suzette. Blogging on the trail takes up too much time but I need it to help me remember and my family demands it. They say it saves them from walking too. I guess it is not inspirational enough!
     
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  12. Lirsy

    Lirsy Member

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    Hi Thimoty,

    Even if most questions have already been answered, being the Primitivo the Camino I like the most, I couldn´t avoid giving my opinion :)

    The road is very well marked. Anyway, as most go in small mountain paths, if you get distracted at any time, you can get lost. I would say that having a GPS map on your cell phone is always a good idea.

    This about Hospitales or Pola de Allande depends mostly on the weather. If you go through Hospitales, during the winter time, you can easily find snow, fog, heavy rain, etc.... and it is quite advisable to take the way to Pola de Allande and from Pola to Berducedo. If the weather is nice, then in my opinion it is quite more interesting the way through Hospitales than the way through Pola de Allande.

    If you plan to take the way through Hospitales it is quite advisable to sleep in the albergue in Borres (the albergue is not any good, but it is located just at the beginning of the way to Hospitales and the restaurant next to the albergue prepares quite nice dinners). Now to sleep in Borres it is highly recomended to sleep the previous night in Bodeyana (I consider this albergue as a must!!!) and for reaching Bodeyana is also quite advisable to sleep the night before in San Juan de Villapañada. As you see, up to a certain point, it is convenient to take the decision of going through Hospitales from the very beginning (anyhow, always check the weather conditions once in Borres).

    If you finally decide to go through Pola de Allande, take the pilgrim´s menu in the restaurant ¨Nueva Allandesa¨ in Pola de Allande. It is just great!! :)

    BTW, if you think that the Camino Primitivo is a little too short, a great addition is starting in Leon, taking the Camino del Salvador from Leon to Oviedo and the Primitivo from Oviedo to Santiago (this is only advisable in the period from March/April to October/November depending on the weather condition).

    In my case, I plan to start in March or April (depending on the weaather) in Roncesvalles, follow the Camino Frances up to Leon and there to take El Salvador + Primitivo.

    Buen Camino & Ultreia!!
     
    Last edited: Jan 5, 2018
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  13. Greg Canning

    Greg Canning Well-Known Member

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    Love the blog Michael. It's the Primitivo for me next time.
     
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