In June 2015, I hiked the Camino Primitivo, the original pilgrimage route to Santiago de Compostela. The first pilgrim was king Alfonso II of Asturia who walked to the newly discovered burial place of St. James 1 100 years ago. The site was located about 200 miles southwest of his capital Oviedo. The Camino Primitivo follows the footsteps of Alfonso II, leading through remote mountainous areas of extraordinary beauty.
From Santiago, I went to Finisterre and Muxia, located on the Atlantic coast. Most of the time I stayed overnight in the typical albergues, which are very inexpensive places for pilgrims. Everybody who has a pilgrim’s pass (if there is still a bed available) can stay there. The whole pilgrimage took me 3 weeks.
DAY 1, OVIEDO
Oviedo still has buildings dating back to the 8th and 9th centuries. One of these remnants of the old capital is the Fuente de Foncalada, a well providing the town with drinking water. It was fascinating walking on the rocks surrounding the fountain shaped by innumerable footsteps over the centuries.
For the medieval pilgrim, Oviedo was an important goal on the way to Santiago. There was the saying “Qien va a Santiago y no va a El Salvador , visita al vasallo y no al Señor (walking to Santiago and not go to El Salvador is like visiting the servant and not the master). This saying refers to the cathedral San Salvador where important relics (sudarium of Oviedo) are stored in the Cámara Santa, the court chapel of king Alfonso II.