- Which one is Camino Primitivo?
It is also called the Original Way and it´s said to be the first Camino route to Santiago the Compostela when in te 9th century most of Spain and Portugal were under Moorish Control.
The route takes you approximately 320k from the north coast at Villavicosa, through the city of Oviedo, across the mountains of Picos de Europe and passes mountain villages in Asturias and Galicia to the walled city of Lugo ( Unesco World Heitage site) and eventually joins the Camino Frances in Melide, a mere 53k from Santiago. This is “The Original “Way” and might well have been taken by King Alphonse “The Chaste” who played a decisive role in confirming that the remains unearthed in Santiago de Compostela did indeed belong to the Apostle Saint James.
- Camino Primitivo versus Camino Francés
Camino Francés is known as the main Camino because it is much more popular. It is the one everyone knows about due to books and movies and because it also gained World Heritage Status. However, there are many Caminos to Santiago from all over Spain, France and other parts of Europe. Some of the caminos are even connected, in fact Camino Primitivo hooks up with the Francés in Melide, which is about two days out of Santiago.
If you are short of time, one rewarding thing about doing the Primitivo is that you will be able to feel like you did a whole Camino without the sensation of having “missed out” things on the Camino.
Some may feel that the Camino Francés is becoming overcrowded and less of an adventure. Furthermore, some hikers find Primitivo quieter and more unexplored .However, the Camino Primitivo is both the friendliest as well as well as the hardest Camino for those who have walked it. Hardest because of the road building, the grain of the land (crossing several “altos” and then plunging into deep valleys in one day but also friendliest because of the most helpful hospitaleros and restaurant owners.
Camino Primitivo passes through amazing countryside and old villages as well as towns. As we have already said it is much quieter than Camino Francés but it is becoming busier. The infrastructure is improving all the time so that the distances are better between accommodation. If you are seeking for a camino as portrayed in films like The Way then the Francés would provide it better than Primitivo but in both caminos you will have contact with fellow pilgrims.
Maybe the main difference between these caminos, apart from distance and landscape, is the high degree of commercialization on the Frances. This is not always something wrong since it means good albergue systems, all kind of accommodation, restaurants and stores. On Camino Primitivo, though it is getting busier and busier, you will be able to find out interesting things as “the abandoned villages” along the Camino Primitivo. From Lugo to Melide, many small villages have empty houses and the population consists mainly of elderly country folk since their children have left home and move into the towns and cities. The friendly traditional villages and market towns of Northern Spain will fill you with warmth and a lasting impression of the spirit of ‘mi casa, su casa’ You can visit almost abandoned wonders as ancient temples, one of them is the church crypt at Santa Eulalia de Boveda with its 6th century wall paintings
- Is the Camino Primitivo for me?
The Camino Primitivo is perfect for those wishing a more challenging alternative to the popular Camino Frances. A journey through quiet unspoilt landscapes and charming medieval villages providing a truly authentic Spanish experience.
If you are keen on gastronomy, Camino Primitivo is your camino. Without a doubt one of the greatest highlights of any Camino are the culinary delights attached to each region where the natural flavours and aromas follow you every step of the way. The deep rooted traditions and rituals combined with simple fresh ingredients it is easy to understand why the Camino is a natural provider in first class gastronomic culture. Gourmet delicacies vary between regions from the rich hearty stews of Asturia made with oak smoked chorizo, morcilla sausage and fabada beans typically served with warm crusty bread and a glass of local cider to the Galician star tapa – ‘Pulpo Gallego’, octopus, drizzled with olive oil and sweet paprika, polished off with a glass of chilled Albariňo.
Are you willing to walk the Camino? Of course you are, you just have to choose which one is the most suitable for you.
Buen Camino, amigos!