Today was shakeup day. Diverging from my plan. Separating from my spreadsheet.
I am not looking forward to joining with the Camino Frances and its hordes of pilgrims, many of whom will only be walking the last hundred km and will be full of vim and vigor and will be clean in shiny new shoes. Not that there is anything wrong with the CF or its hordes, it’s just that I don’t want to be part of it after such a long time of walking very quietly. There are some fabulous people walking the Primitivo, really nice guys, but they are all self-contained and don’t invade your space either whilst walking or at the albergue.
So one way of delaying entry into the CF is to make a cross-over from the Primitivo to the Norte. This can be done from Lugo to Sobrado dos Monxes, with a stop over in Friol. I estimate that I will walk only an additional 12 km by doing this, but reality may prove different.
Dave, who we met on day 2 and came across once or twice over the next few weeks, coincided with us in Oviedo at the beginning of the Camino Primitivo. He was also keen to try this alternative route, known as the Camino Verde (because is it marked with green arrows). Marilyn is sticking with plan ‘A’ and we will meet up in Santiago in a few days – it really is only a few days now – we will reach Santiago on 24 May, and I am planning to walk on to the coast if the weather promises to be ok.
So Dave and I set off at 06:15 amongst the Saturday night revellers still out and about and even still entering clubs. Many of them bade us a ‘buen camino’.
We in turn bade our camigos a ‘buen camino’ as they walked the traditional way and we searched for the first green arrows. It turns out there are plenty of arrows showing us which way to take, and if there was any confusion we have a track downloaded on our phones that we can refer to. Dave likes his own company, as do I, so we walked our own walks for most of the morning, although we did walk together for some time.
After a few kilometres we were directed onto a narrow track alongside a river. It was beautiful and very peaceful. We saw no one else for hours. The only sounds were the water running and the dawn chorus. The river alternated between millpond still and silent and raging waterfalls. The paths varied from narrow tracks where I had to be careful not to trip over raised tree roots, tiny tracks just a foot-width across very close to the water’s edge and now and then there were raised board walks, going up and down and around bends like a rollercoaster.
I made plenty of photo stops along the way before we eventually exited the woods and were on the road for a while, through a tiny hamlet where we set the dogs barking in their ones, twos and threes in all the houses along the way. I imagine their owners might not have been too pleased to have their Sunday morning lie-in disturbed.
We stopped just short of 20 km at 10:45 for a snack and sit down before tackling the final leg, through still more beautiful countryside, through pine and eucalyptus woods, along very muddy farm tracks, through a few villages with the most beautiful stone buildings, and along some asphalt roads but even these were pretty with almost no traffic.
I have seen a different kind of stone wall construction today that I have not seen before, with large upright triangular pieces of granite surrounded by flat stones. Quite beautiful but I imagine very difficult to construct.
Our day ended in the town of Friol where we are staying at a pension called Casa Benigno. The room is a good size, but rather tired and old fashioned. But with a private bathroom with a curtain, so I made up for yesterday’s indignity with a long, hot shower. Cost 15 euros which seems very reasonable. Hopefully we can find somewhere open for supper and we will probably need supplies for tomorrow as I don’t think we will pass any shops or bars and all I have is a stale bread roll and half a packet of Oreos.
Today’s distance 27.8 km
Accumulated uphill elevation 393 m
Accumulated downhill elevation 385 m
Total distance 780.6 km
Average per day 26.9 km
I understand 100% how you feel about the Camino Frances. I would have done the same in your boots. Buen Camino!
You made a great choice but I do hope you find some food!
This stage, Lugo to Friol, has been my favorite of yours so far this trip! Oh what I would give for some green. 🙂 I still “need” to finish the CF from Astorga on but sincerely thinking it will not include Sarria on in for the last 100km. Either that or make it a dead of winter trip as I loath heat as much as I do crowds. I enjoyed the meseta last April because it did rain every day which is a treat for me.
Perhaps you could find another diversion to delay a little more being with all the crowds. You my intrepid friend are a true pilgrim and this Camino has been inspiring.
Have loved reading your blogs. We will be first timers in September, and sadly only have time for a week as we both work . Rather sad to read the negative attitude to the Camino Frances, a lot of people maybe only do this like ourselves as time in restricted .
Hi Sarah. Sorry for the negative spin. It is simply the number of pilgrims from Sarria that make those who have walked quieter routes feel a bit overwhealmed. You will love your camino. It’s a wonderful experience however long you have to walk. Take no notice of anyone else – it’s your camino, enjoy every step.
Thank you, we can’t wait . Enjoy your journey 😊
Loved the description of today’s walk. Beautiful. My kind of walking. I’m not sure if “eurolyptus woods” was an accidental typo or a very clever, deliberate misnaming. Made me laugh out loud. After seeing all the profiteering on eucolyptus forestry in South Africa, I know just where you’re coming from. Now forever more to be referred to as eurolyptus. Brilliant!
Eucalyptus trees are magnificent in their natural environment which is here in Australia.somehow they dont look the same in other countries where they are planted in rows.That is not how they are meant to be.Anyway…enough from meblightjm
P.S. Bit spooky those wind turbines in the mist making such a racket. Don’t suppose you can remember the make? They should not sound like engines. Bit of whooshing, yes, but that should be the worst of it.
Maggie I loved today’s stage. All that green has to be good for the soul. You definitely made the right decision as the crowds on the Camino Frances sound awful. I hope you got dinner and supplies. I can’t believe you are almost there. I shall miss your blog so much. Much love and buen camino xx
Such beautiful photos Maggie. A lovely adventure. Catching up on blogs when in wifi hot spot. Best wishes for the last leg. X
Maggi, as usual just love you blog. Always so happy to learn you are safe and well. AND, Also happy when you are walking with someone! Stay safe! You are a wonderful storyteller. And, your photos just complete the tale! We used your blog when we walked the Portugese Camino. Better than any guide. All the very.best for the last few days.
That gave me a good laugh, David.