Day 26 – Samos
The long winding trails lead up and down following a cliff face. After a while, it lead Keith and I though a small forest and then a sharp right through the mist. Ahead, we could see other pilgrims like ghosts in the distance. The path then took a very steep left turn that took us out of the mist and gave us a great view of the terrain we had just walked past; vast, rolling Galician hillsides. It was beautiful. Thankfully, the steep climb was short and we came upon a highway that we would need to follow a while. There sits a very striking pilgrim statue where the trail meets the highway. Keith and I took some photos and then set off. I think Keith and I got confused once or twice regarding the route, but we figured it out in the end.
There seems to be a lot of slate in this region and we came across several slate outcrops on the side of the trail with water flowing down in very pleasing waterfalls. As we were getting close to Tricaste, we were walked through a shaded trail that literally overhung with green branches like a canopy, the climb down was a bit slippery and treacherous, but we knew we were close to food and rest so that raised our spirits considerably. We noted that Paco, a Spaniard that we have been seeing off and on for weeks, was ahead. He was giving a large piece of chorizo to another pilgrim who didn’t seem to speak Spanish but was obviously very thankful for the food, as he looked quite done in. Pilgrims take care of pilgrims.
At Tricaste we had lunch waited a while for Peter and Morag to show up. Tricaste is the where the Camino breaks into two possible routes to Sarria; the traditional northern route or the slightly longer Samos route. Finally, we decided that Keith would go on to Samos if for no other reason than to try to ensure beds for Peter, Morag, and myself. Danny was walking with Mette and Chris today as she is tired and didn’t expect to get as far as Samos, so we hope meet up with her in a day or so. So, Keith went ahead and I sat at an outdoor café waiting. A full hour went by with no sign of them, so I geared up and starting walking back the way I came. Thankfully, I didn’t have to go much farther than a kilometre or two when I met up with Peter and Morag. They, and a group of others, were turned around in the mist this morning and were taken a good bit off the Camino. They actually had to stop a car in order to get their location and figure out a route back to the Way.
I sat with them at the outdoor café while they ate. Both Peter and Morag where tired from the extra walking and from the stress of the day. So I left them to rest after a bit to get some shopping done as none of us had had a chance to pick up any foodstuffs for the trail or tomorrow’s breakfast. I found a place only a few blocks away that was surprisingly open during siesta. I even found some plums that I thought might be a nice pick-me-up along the way. We split up the food among our packs and then headed out of Tricaste. At the edge of town, we took the left turn to Samos and started a lovely sunny walk through some beautiful countryside. This is classic Galician countryside, rolling hills, lots of flowing brooks and waterfalls, and cows, a fair number of cows.
At one point, just after we had crossed bridge that covered a pretty, little stream, we took a right to follow a small road that inclined up the side of a little cliff. When we were about half way up we noticed a very large cow had turned the corner at the top of the rise and was walking towards us. These cows seem massive up close and their very wide horns are truly impressive, especially to Canadian Prairie boy like me who is used to seeming cows with much smaller head accoutrements. It wasn’t too bad until it started to actually slide down the wet slippery road on its hooves. It shuffled its feet to maintain balance, but a good portion of the way down it slide more than anything else. We gingerly moved to the side and pressed up to the cliff face. It was amusing to watch, that is until the rest of the herd turned the corner and we had about a dozen cows sliding down the road that we were on, Slip-sliding horned beasts seemed to be everywhere. Morag and I started to laugh, because really what else was there to do? Morag described the scene to Peter and he joined our chuckle.
We passed by a very picturesque little town that although looked lived in, no one seemed to be there. The little river that runs through town has a little diversion built in with a little waterfall. There was a group of sheep that sat near the falls that called to us in what I assume where demands for food. As well, the town was filled with collections of large stale slabs standing on end like CDs in a rack. They seemed to be everywhere; beside houses, shed, barns, and along the streets. I guess that some of the townspeople make slate roofs and walls, which not an uncommon method of roofing and fencing in Galicia. As I mentioned there is an abundance of slate here.
At the edge of town was a small community graveyard. We were impressed with the graves for such a small place. One might expect small little markers just to denote location, but no, the graves markers ranged from at least chest-high structures to large stone structures that obviously contained the remains. Quite possibly, they prefer stone internment to ground internment in such a wet region.
The route from that point to Samos was a lovely canopied trail of green light, rock walls, and expansive trees cover with patches of moss over everything. We sat for a rest and I presented the plums for a snack. They were cheerfully accepted and we ate them while Peter and Morag told stories of the food shopping in a Paris. It was a nice rest. We threw the pits into the forest and I wondered if the climate would allow them to sprout.
We turned the corner and suddenly we could see the Monastery of Samos before us. It began to rain. Then it began to rain hard. On top of that, my feet hurt from blisters and the wet shoes were not helping. I picked up my pace and followed the winding switchbacks that lead into Samos. I have to admit, the monastery looked fabulous in the rain, but I was so happy to check into the albergue; which is housed in the monastery itself.
We unpacked, found Keith, and settled into our bunks. I had a quick shower, set my stuff to hang, and went back into the rain looking for a phone to call Sandy. Along the way, I ended up in the monastery gift shop and found that the next tour would be at 5pm and that it only cost 3 euro. I went back, told Keith, and decided that yes, it would be a good idea to wake Peter and Morag to let them know. Then I went out into the rain yet again in search of a phone and some Internet. No internet today though, it is down and unavailable. Finally I found a phone and connected using an arcane phone card, I chatted a few moments with Sandy. It was so nice to hear her voice; talking with Sandy is one of the things that keep me going. I said hi to Max as well. Then I stopped into a café for a warming café con leche.
I booted it back to the monastery for the tour and we had a wonderful, Spanish only, tour of the monastery. Which was okay as the building holds its own without explanations. The murals were evocative and the chapel itself was quite ornate striking.
We then headed off to a chilling but satisfying dinner with some wonderful, warming soup and wine that just never seemed to run out. We chatted far-and-wide, about the Camino, faith, and life in general. After dinner, Keith called Alice and I called Sandy again. Then we all trundled off to bed.
Soundscape: Walking the Path in the Wind