Up at 7.30 and turned the dorm light on to the resounding approval of all the head-torches. Packed a bit before 8 and headed into the bar for a hot chocolate with George, Iris, Bill and Jim and others.
Out the door at 8.10 and Sylvia and friend were heading out too.
No rain but I’ve got the full gear on anyway. The usual smattering of half familiar faces passes me in the early morning mist. We are still high and the scenery is spectacular.
The path starts descending and I’m trying to use the approved method but it gets painful and exhausting. There is the constant smell of manure. Each village we pass through is particularly strong in the air and on the ground.
In the valley bottoms the mist hangs heavy and just before I get to this zone George and Iris catch me. We walk together for a bit but the pace is too much for me and I let them go and soon I can’t see them. The trails start to get pretty mucky with squishy mud you know is more cow dirt than regular dirt.
After 3 hours 20 minutes walking I shuffle into Triacastela, find a bar and enter and there’s George and Iris so I join then and order a coffee and tortilla. They go but are replaced by Bill and Jim and as they are ordering lunch, the heavens open so I order a beer.
It’s freezing outside but the shower passes and I have to hit the road so I bid goodbye to the brothers and head for Samos. It’s tar road for a fair while but then a country path of offered. I think I’ve walked enough dairy cow paths to satisfy my curiosity. When I’m back on the tar I stay there. I buy a vend coke in a village but it’s not cold. Closer to Samos there is a short path with a view so I take it. The view comes up fairly quickly and it’s a cracker overlooking the monastery.
I creep down the steep hill and wander into town and to the donativo in the monastery. A warm Spanish welcome from Emilio who explains in Spanish the meaning of my name and warns me that from now on I need two stamps every day.
After showering and laundry I pop over to the bar for a drink and some wifi to contact Ali.
The tour of the monastery starts at 6 so I line up and after some shop time the tour starts. It’s all in Spanish but I can get the gist of it. Texan family Matt, Kerry and Keegan are there and a Spanish peregrino with a basso profundo translates for Kerry. The problem is the reverb is ruining my ability to follow the Spanish. The monastery is impressively large but today has only 14 monks. During the tour, the monk makes several attempts to recruit Keegan.
After the tour ends we have a brief wait in the rain before Mass. The monks sing vespers before mass and the bulk of the congregation is pilgrims. The church is very dramatic compared to any of the others I have seen and I recall the monk pointing to the ceiling in a fashion that indicated on certain dates the light strikes the alter through various windows.
After mass I head through the rain to a restaurant. There are only three inside and I recognise one face from the tour so introduce myself. Scot Richard is 66, retired and spent a bit of his life in Africa delivering UK aid.
He has a lot of stories about the places and characters he met in particular the white fathers, a Dutch order composed of priests who had previous professional careers prior to their vocation.
Dinner is a very large paella with red wine and comes to 13 euro.
It’s getting close to 10 so I pay up and head to bed.
Tomorrow Sarria, Ali and Lachy!
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