Friday, 27 March 2020

Camino Primitivo Alternate Route 2020 - A Creative Route

Well never say never! In 2018 I walked/hobbled the Camino Portuguese with Paulo my good friend from Brazil. It was, as some of you know, not my finest hour as I developed egg sized blisters on both feet on day 2 out of Lisbon. Finally on day 4 I had to say enough...took the train to Porto and recovered for a number of days before setting out for a two week hobble to Santiago de Compostela.

Seriously I thought that was it...and then Paulo sent me a WhatsApp message a year or so ago..."Hey let's do 2 weeks in 2020!" I thought why would he ask me after what I put him through in 2018? Then I thought "why not" the planning started.

The Plan

Walk the Camino Primitivo from Oviedo to Santiago de Compostela starting May 10th, 2020 for two weeks. Here is a brief description of the Camino Primitivo.

The Camino Primitivo, or Original Way, treks through Galicia from Oviedo to Santiago de Compostela.

The Camino Primitivo route is considered to be the very first of the pilgrimage routes to Santiago.

It is one of the most beautiful, challenging, and rewarding routes on the Camino de Santiago. It crosses a mountain range at 1100m above sea level. Here, you will witness spectacular views of the Embalse de Salime, the River Navia and of course the towering surrounding mountains.

The Challenge

COVID - 19! Paulo and I were hoping that Spain would not be impacted however we both knew that was very unlikely. On Feb 25th Spain had 2 confirmed cases...Mar 27th 56,188 cases and 4,089 deaths as per the WHO. By the second week in March we had cancelled our Camino and a week later the WHO had declared a pandemic.

While clearly there was no choice but to cancel it was still deeply 63 years old how many chances does one have going forward?

Then Dawn and I determined that we needed to be cautious and self isolate ourselves for a two week period starting March 26th. That meant no more long walks trying to maintain 6 ft distancing for that period.

Now I felt really out of Camino, not even walking in the city! Ugh!

Then I came across two interesting articles...

An article stating that a 32 year old restaurant worker, ran the length of a marathon (26.2 miles) on his 23 foot balcony while in self isolation.

An article where Chris Hadfield, a Canadian astronaut, who has spent considerable time in the Space Station comment on self isolation.

“I think the real thing to do is just look at the reality of where you are and the opportunities that you have and the way you can still be productive and interact and be mentally stimulated and just go with that. Stop worrying that it’s different, and instead go with the reality of the new set of rules that you’re living under” mind really went into overdrive on what might be possible! A crazy idea formed and I got really pumped...why not walk my Camino a different way?

Hopefully, if this App holds up, I will report back shortly on day 1. Oviedo to Grado - 25.8 Kms was the original Northern’s possible but has to be slightly different than originally planned.


  1. Bonne chance Papa!! I’ve always said that you are my hero in all areas of life, particularly fashion. The number of Tilley hats I’ve purchased due to your influence is ridiculous. Seriously, i have a problem. They just pair so well with my innumerable number of khaki walking pants I own. I’d liken your influence on fashion to that of Jackie O. I think I’ve gotten slightly off topic...

    1. Jeanne I am very happy that I have had a positive impact on your clothing style! Keep on wearing the Tilley hats...come to think about it I have never seen you wearing one! Are you making fun of me? No can't possibly be! Papa

  2. That’s too bad, Guy. You can definitely do it at home. Getting under a shower in full hiking gear for a few hours is a good simulation of a rainy day on Primitivo. Otherwise, you just need a hill (or stairs) to recreate the hike (lots and lots of stairs)

    1. Dmitri...there was clearly no choice but to abandon plans however my Camino Primitivo walk, as you will see shortly, is not exactly as difficult as the real one! I still need to catch up to you and complete the Primitivo! Guy