Stage 4: Borres – Berducedo, by Hospitales


m. ascensión acumulada


Not all those who wander are lost.
J. R. R. Tolkien

If the first night was that of symphonic snoring, the third was a fucking concert by the Three Tenors, with Luciano Pavarotti in top form.

What lungs, guys, what chest power, and what sonic flexibility: sometimes he looked like a tenor, sometimes like a baritone, and he has even dared with the falsetto. The other two, in the face of such greatness and solemnity, have dedicated themselves to acting as pure accompaniment on rare occasions.

In Borres there has been little sleep, but the show has been one of those that is hard to forget. Before the sun rose, we were already facing Hospitals.

Niebla en hospitales

Hospitales is one of the two options to go from Borres to Berducedo. The name comes from why formerly on this route there were three hospitals, which were the hostels of the ancient pilgrims (hence the managers of the hostels are called hospitaleros). The other is to pass through Pola de Allande, following a route that was opened later: the route of Hospitales was impassable during the winter, so they looked for another way to cross the Sierra de Palo: founding a town, Pola de Allande, that would allow them to cross the mountain range more easily.

Going up Hospitales

Hospitales has a reputation for hard, especially since between the last town and the next there are about 20 kilometres away. So, if in the middle you get diarrhoea, bad thing. Pola de Allande is more civilized, but it’s 50 kilometres, so you have to make the pass in two days. I had decided to go through Hospitales because it is the way to do the Primitivo in twelve days, but Bodenaya was fervently recommended it, as long as we were well physically and mentally.

Magdalena en la niebla

The hostel of Borres did not have much, but what it did had were a few papers warning that in case of bad weather (fog, snow or rain), better not to go through Hospitales. Just as the road forks, towards Hospitales or Pola, we have found the same warnings. Despite the fog, we have continued.

I climbed along with Leoni, Agata, and a Valencian woman who has slept in the hostel. I like the company of Leoni and Agata. You have that joy, that craziness, that madness of when life hasn’t yet defeated you. We went upstairs, without haste but without pause, that the feet had already begun to be an ordeal, while from time to time we received a holaaaaaaaa that screamed the Valencian, frightened by the fog.

Arriving at the highest part of the route and the primitive road, 1200 meters, the fog has begun to spread, and has let us enjoy the landscape of half a route, which is always better than nothing. For me, the fog could have continued because when going down to Montefurado it was too hot for me, I’ve never been a good friend of Sun.

And goind down Hospitales

The rest of the day has had no more history, the climb to Hospitals takes all the prominence of today’s route. It is the standout actor, like the Pavarotti of the night before. The rest, necessary but dispensable accompaniment, where only the fog stood out, which despite being quite thick (we have not even seen the ruins of the first hospital) we never have had doubts of where the road was going. Maybe when you get on top, the plane, the road blurs a little, but nothing worrying.

Do you want me to be honest with you? I haven’t found Hospitales so hard. In fact, I haven’t found it hard. The climb is long and the slope important, but it does not reach the category of hard. With normal feet (whereas normal is understood the usual wear and tear of having done ninety kilometres in three days), it does not present any difficulty. In fact, not even with half-feet dusted, like mine, has he presented it. Of course, you have to bring water and food. As always when you go out to the mountain, guys.

Reaching Borres

In Borres I have occupied the last bed that was left free, at the top of a bunk bed that seemed to have a life of its own. There were two strangers in the room, a Taiwanese girl (I think), and an Australian guy, who was moving by taxi and hitch-hiking.

I have met again the group of the second day, with those of us who have spent the afternoon in the supermarket-bar of Berducedo, watching as time passed with nothing more to do but rest and wait for the clothes that I had washed manually, again, badly, to dry. Two of those who make up this group are Sandra and Álvaro; she is Catalan and likes the rain blue colour, and he is Andalusian and has no preferred colour. They live in Algeciras, and they are a couple.


Sandra, peregrina en el Camino Primitivo
Álvaro, peregrino en el Camino Primitivo

As usual, at 10 p.m. the lights went out. Tomorrow, fortunately, only 20 km. It will be a day to rest, that having your feet on the ground is more painful than it usually is. Who knows, maybe I should have made the way by bike.

The track


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