This a post targeted at all those who plan to start the Way. Photos and concrete description of the camino you can find on the web.
In September 2010 I did the Camino Primitivo. It was a sudden impulse. I’ve been wanting it for years, but one august day I couldn’t do anything else but buy the tickets and get going as fast as possible. Maybe the Camino called me. For sure, when the student is ready along will come a teacher, and in that moment I was ready for the teachings of the road.
I flied with ryanair from Turin to Madrid, got my pilgrim’s credentials from the local office, there they were speaking only in spanish. I didn’t dally even half a day in Madrid, I took a night bus to Oviedo and arrived there at 6AM.
Now, I wanted it to be a proper thing and went to the Cathedral and started following the shells on the pavement. However they were leading me south of the city, so something that other ppl missed to tell is that through Oviedo pass 3 caminos. Be sure to follow the concas in the right direction.
Another important thing – stretch as often as possible. Now in winter I still feel pain in the muscles that I started stretching later (because first they started to be in pain, and then I learned to stretch them)
Learn basic spanish.
Trust in your fortune. The times I felt like giving up the Road led to me the meetings that convinced me to go on. The first time was in the heat between Oviedo and Grado. It was so hot, I was so thirsty. A car pulled by and a man with his family, who had seen me before that, passed me an ice cold water energy drink. I still feel like crying from gratitude to him.
The second time I was starting to feel pain in my feet because of walking too much (The Walkman’s dicease.) I was crying that night in the albergue from the pain. The next day I met a girl – she became my companion for the rest of the Way – who was a doctor and showed me how to stretch:-)
This girl is Spanish, spoke English with me and was the best company. Usually for me it is difficult to form a bond with people, but with her it was so natural that I still feel her like a sister.
Do some sport before the Camino, otherwise you’ll have a too hard time. I did running and the strenght in the feet served me very well in doing such a long stretch (ca 350km) for 9 days.
Pack wisely. The backpack becomes too heavy already by noon on the first day.
So, my route was the following:
Oviedo – San Juan de Villapanaga(28km) (the best hospitalero ever!)
San Juan de Villapanaga – Bodenaya (30km)
Bodenaya – Pola de Allande (36km)(this day it rained)
Pola de Allande – Grandas de Salime (41km)(pain day)
Grandas de Salime – Padron (27km)(octopus, mmm)
Padron – Cadavo (27km) (slept in the school gym on the floor – very hard surface)
Cadavo – Lugo (30km)
Lugo – Axeisas
Axeisas – Santa Irene (lost my glasses while putting on sunscreen- found them the 3rd time I went back to search)
Santa Irene – Santiago (thats the psychologically longest stretch).
km in brackets don’t add up, they are just around that quantity. I did it too fast, I know. Started from the morning, always arrived in the evening. But it was good!:-) It was awesome:-) Asturia is beautiful:-)
With flights, sleeping, souvenir spree in Santiago, eating my stuff and tap water, last 5 days in restaurants – around 400 euro. Excluding souvenir spree would be 300 euro. Can become even less cutting on restaurants and other stuff.:-)
Walk in your shoes before the camino. This was blisters will form before and the skin will harden before the trip. I saw a man who had all his feet bandaged due to blisters. I don’t know how he managed to walk, but he must have been really in psychological need for it. My companion had lousy shoes who did blisters to her and her last day was painful and she was crying from the pain. Do not save on shoes. They are your best friend.
The anti blister technology: put vaseline on the ankles and between the fingers, on the foot itself, but not under. Then comes a nylon stocking. Then come 2 packs of normal socks. Shoes should be a good fit.
Always have a ready Comped. However there exists also a cheaper alternative – smth like a sheet from which you cut your own pads, sized by your need.
If you have any questions, ask and you will be answered:-)