Camino Primitivo Day 6-Campiello to Berducedo via Hospitales Route
We started walking at 6:00am. It was a bit dark but the road ahead was flat and paved so we didn’t really need to see anything. It was daylight by the time we reached the little village of Borres which is 3km away. This is where the municipal albergue is located. We had thought about staying here instead of Campiello but that was before we were accosted by our fellow pilgrims in Campiello who insisted/assumed we’d stay there. That was definitely the better choice.
The bar in Borres was not opened yet so we couldn’t get anything to eat. Fortunately, we knew ahead of time this would be the case and ate breakfast prior to leaving. We were also carrying extra water since the Hospitales route is almost entirely through the mountains and without civilization until about 20 km into the hike. But beware, that one bar is closed on Sunday and doesn’t open in time for the early risers. The guide we used said that they open at 6:00am but we walked by around 6:45am and there was no sign of it opening any time soon. Hard to say but we had no time to linger and wait. The day was very cool and we had hydrated well prior to leaving so we had used very little water on this flat short walk. We didn’t need to top off.
The first couple of kilometers after that are a gentle uphill. Then you arrive at the point where you have to decide whether to go high, over the ridge line, or take the road through the valley without the spectacular views. Of course we opted for the high road. The Hospitales route is named as such because of the ancient remains of three pilgrim hospitals from the 15th century. I hadn’t come all this way not to see those!
The ascent was steep, really steep. The terrain was rocky but not the least bit dangerous. It kept going up and up until it finally leveled out. Luckily for us the temperature had stayed cool, rainy, and very windy. That would have been a strenuous hike if the sun was shining and the temps still in the 80’s. I eventually got pretty cold and was glad that I opted to wear my hiking pants this day instead of wearing my skirt. I stopped inside the remains of the first hospital and put on my light puffy jacket under my rain jacket. I also added my rain skirt for wind protection and used a pair of socks as gloves. This was the only time that I needed that puffy jacket and my buff to cover my ears. They both stayed in pack every other day. Billy of course, walked in shorts and a long sleeve hiking shirt. A real man of The North.
The views along the Hospitales is stunning. I wish I could have taken more pictures but it was just too windy. The ruins directly above are where I ducked in to put on my puffy jacket under my rain jacket. The place was piled deep with cow manure. I was able to find a little piece of rock up high that was clean to set my backpack down. Billy never put on warm clothes so I felt bad asking him to take pictures of me while he stood their in shorts.
We saw the wild horses and carcass remains of some animal. Sometimes the horses are very close to the trail but not today. They were staying pretty far away so I couldn’t get a good closeup picture. A handful of other pilgrims passed us but we were alone for all of it. The day finally settled down and we ended dry and warm. I gave up trying to take more pictures. By this time I had socks on my hands for warmth and I just wasn’t up to taking them off to snap pictures 🙂
We finally reached Alto de Palo after 13km. This is a point where the path crosses the road. It is possible to call a taxi from here if you don’t or can’t make it the rest of the way. There’s a phone number on a post we passed and several people took this option from what I heard. Another 3.5km ahead is the largely abandoned village of Montefurado. It’s possible to get water here but ask one of the old locals first.
About 20km into the hike you arrive at Lago. There is a bar there that everyone stops at to die temporarily. The final stop for the day is still another 4.5km away. Arriving in Berducedo we stayed at pension Casa Marquez where we had reserved a couple days earlier. The Albergue across the street looked nice and we were told it was good. At Casa Marquez we had a private room with a shared bathroom across the hall. There was a washing machine to wash clothes but no way that socks were going to dry. The sun was sort of shining so most of our clothes actually dried by the time we went to bed. The food in the bar is good too.
This was the best part of the route so far. The toughest and longest, too. Tomorrow is a shorter day but it’s all a steep downhill into a dam and then a shorter uphill.