Day 36 – Fonfria to Samos 20km

I woke up with a pain in my hip and knee. The consequences of walking two consecutive days of 30plus km seems to be showing! A hot bath lessened the pain. So we set out on a path of descents.

Our first stop in 6km was Triacastella. A small town with lots of stay options for pilgrims. Very few cafés were open. So just a quick coffee at a small place and we reach the exit point where there are 2 stones, offering 2 paths to Santiago. Turn left and you go to Samos and then to Sarria or turn right and walk to Sarria. Most people took the turn to the right. We turned left as we had booked at Samos for the night.

The walk is absolutely beautiful, through narrow paths winding their way around tiny villages which seemed uninhabited. Just as you think that, you’ll see a cat or a dog or hear some mooing.

Every little village has a teeny tiny church and a graveyard.

Sheepskins piled up on the left

We stopped briefly for lunch in a one-cafe village. The food here was delicious! We had sangrias with the meal. Met two wonderful Americans – a mother and daughter. The daughter’s talk and warmth reminded us so much of Niki. The mother on hearing about my pain, mentioned she was a marathon runner and had similar pains before, jumped up so show us some stretches and exercises which she felt would help. Crossing your feet and bending down to touch your toes, an exercise my friend, Neeth, had taught me during our previous Camino from Lugo to Santiago.

About 2km from Samos, we reach a point from where you can see the town below. The largest building is the active Benedictine monastery, established in the 6th Century AD.

Near our hotel – two weary pilgrims

By the time we reached the hotel, my knee and hip are paining rather severely. The pharmacy is right across the road, but closed as it’s 2pm. We check in, do our afternoon chores and then John heads out to check the pharmacy and the mercardo again. It’s all closed. He talks to the hotel owner’s son Moses, who speaks English well. Moses tells us that it’s the Feast of St John the Baptist and it’s a national holiday. Everything is closed except one mercardo, one restaurant and the Monastery. He says the pharmacy in the next town, Sarria, maybe open, but that’s doubtful too, as the celebrations are big and it’s almost the weekend. His mom, who is also behind the counter, helping as it’s a busy day at the restaurant, sees me wincing in pain and asks us to hold on and not go anywhere. She disappears for a while and comes back with a knee brace and some crepe bandages. We’re hesitant to take the knee brace that she seems to have benefited from in the past, but she won’t take no for an answer. So we head to the room and I put on some balm and then the brace, which fits perfectly!!!

The knee feels better and we head to the Monastery which is about 300m away. There are 5 or 6 guided tours during the day and the last one is at 6.30pm just before the 7.30pm mass.

We buy tickets for the tour in the shop at the entrance. The shop also has chocolate and many other things made at the monastery. We pick up some chocolate including a large bar for Moses’ wonderful mother.

We wait in the waiting room for it to turn 6.30pm. While we wait there are many unfamiliar faces, possibly tourists and cycling pilgrims. Carlos from the previous day joins the group just as the large door opens and we are let into the Monastery. The monk taking us on the tour speaks in Spanish and everyone but us, seems to understand. Seeing our blank faces, Carlos comes by and offers to be our interpreter for the tour!!

Established in the 6th century it flourished between the 9th and 12th centuries and played an important role in helping pilgrims along the St James Way. In 1956 a massive fire that started in the liquor making part of the monastery, gutted a large part of it and it had to be rebuilt.

Paintings on the walls after the fire in the 1950s
Relics of St Benedict
The altar with a suspended crucifix
With our interpreter Carlos

The tour was over by 7pm and a steady drizzle had started outside. We decided to skip mass and go back to the hotel and rest my leg.

Thankful for the angels who came our way today!

2 thoughts on “Day 36 – Fonfria to Samos 20km

  1. Hope the hip and knee are holding up. Your description of today’s walk reminds me of the simple things in life that we can enjoy – the sight of a cat or dog, or the sound of the mooing of a cow. The pictures of the trail in this part of the country are very inviting. Glad you took the effort to visit the monastery. Just a few more days to go…. Take care.

    Liked by 1 person

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