Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Camino 2013 - Day 34: Fonfría To Samos

The walk from Fonfría to Samos was gorgeous.  The sky was blue for most of the walk.  There was fog in the morning but we were walking above the clouds.  The valleys below us were filled with white cotton.  In places the white clouds flowed over the hills like water.  Last time this had all been obscured by drizzle and clouds.  This time the scenery filled me with awe.

Clouds flowing over the hill.
On the way down we stopped to talk to Vn who was on the side of the trail taking in all the sights.  You could tell he was in enjoying everything he saw and I totally understood how he felt.

Most of the day was downhill.  As we went down the fog slowly dissipated.  It was still a bit hazy when we reached the bottom in Triacastela.  We looked around to find a bar/cafe that looked good.  Many places I remembered were closed that early in the morning.  We finally stopped in a place and ordered breakfast and something to drink.

The trail to Samos.
At Triacastela the Camino splits.  All of the pilgrims we knew were heading in the direction that I took last time.  Gv and I took the other path that would take us to Samos.  This would be one of those 'new' sections for me and, except for the part between León To San Martín del Camino, the new sections were my favorite.  At first the Camino followed the main road but you soon left it and the more rustic trail passed through small villages, rivers, forests, and pastures.  The only downside we had was nothing was open in any of the villages we passed through including bathroom facilities.  This must have been a problem as signs similar to these appear often near one village.

The Monastery of Samos from the overlook.
As we approached Samos there is an overlook where you get a great view of the monastery.  When we got there the clouds had not quite cleared yet and it wasn't as nice as it could have been.  The Camino drops down from this viewpoint and enters the town.  Between Triacastela and Samos we hadn't seen any other pilgrims but once we arrived in town we passed several - all new to us.  We walked around looking for albergues.  We decided to stay in the convent albergue that is in the Monastery building.

One of the monastery murals.  One nun is thought to be modeled after Sophia Loren.
After our chores and lunch in a restaurant/bar across from the albergue we walked around town and took a tour of the Monastery of San Xulián de Samos.  The guided tour of the active monastery was very interesting.  The sixth century monastery has been restored and destroyed many times over it's life.  The monastery is famous for its murals painted by various artists after the last restoration.  The guide only spoke Spanish but she spoke it so well that you could easily understand her even if you only had rough Spanish skills.

The monastery in the sunlight.
After having dinner Gv and I went back to the monastery for mass.  It was actually a very nice mass.  Most of the people in the church were pilgrims.  All the singing was done by the monks and they sounded incredible accompanied by the 3,000 pipe organ.  After the mass a monk stayed behind and led a pilgrim's prayer and blessing.  Another high point of the Camino.

A Mural in the albergue.  Gv used a smaller knife.
This had been a great day.  The Galician scenery and the monastery made for a day of beauty and awe - the best kind of day.  I'd taken a short nap this afternoon so as not to spoil my sleep.  It worked as I fell asleep fast and slept well this night.

Pictures can be found in my 2013 Camino de Santiago Google Photos album.

Total Distance on Day 34: 20 km ( 16.16 Miles)
Total Distance Walked: 612 km (380.28 Miles)

Approximate Track of the day's hike.
[Click on map for a larger version]

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