#Camino Days 19 and 20: the misty mountain and the must-see monastery

When I last blogged, I was looking forward to dinner at the veggie hostel, and I’ve got to say, it was one of the best I’ve had on the Camino. Creative, tasty and filling but still light. Loved it.

After that my roommates and I went back to our crazy dorm room (imagine a tree house for grown ups where you have to climb to get to the loo). Just as we were drifting off to sleep I was woken up by a loud tearing sound which turned out to be a plume of water coming through the ceiling directly onto my bed…

Some hasty repair work and a moved bunk later we were back to sleep, but sadly I didn’t catch that many zzzs after the waterfall experience!

Which all meant I started the next morning on a bit of a back foot. And the next morning was a stiff climb into, what I can only describe as, Spain’s attempt to prove it can really do weather. It can.

We had dense fog, stiff winds, cold and – at points – some truly aggressive rain. But we climbed. And climbed. And climbed.

However we did eventually reach one peak, and then the second, where we were lucky to find a bar dishing up steaming hot vegetable soup. Just the thing.

The rest of the day was a fairly challenging stint of descent from the mountain, with only the occasional break in the rain. However, we made it all the way from La Faba to Triacastela, a chunky day’s walk, especially in tough conditions.

Today, Spain seemed more inclined to point out that it does also do sunshine (however rarely in my recent experience) and so I set out on a slight detour from the Camino to see the monastery at Samos.

Some pretty incredible walking followed. All chestnut trees, butterflies and waterfalls.

I could hear the bells for Samos before I could see the monastery from up in the hills. When I spotted it, it was nestled prettily in the valley, as though the valley had been made for the monastery, and not the other way around.

When I arrived in Samos, I saw an American couple who had walked past me earlier angrily stamping down the road, saying that they hadn’t been able to see the Monastery as it was only open at certain times. I was a bit dissapointed to hear this, but decided to have a peek anyway.

Turns out there are tours every hour, on the half hour. I was perfectly timed for that, so I took the tour. It was very beautiful, though I was par ticularly intrigued by a bizarre mermaid statue, which didn’t strike me as all that conducive to religious contemplation…

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The rest of the day continued much as it started. I eventually passed through the town of Sarria, an important point for pilgrims as it’s the last place you can start and still receive your Compostela.

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All being well tomorrow there is another major marker, as I will get the 100km point. Still a long way to go, and yet not so very far.

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