May 28, 2007

5/28/07 Samos Spain

"...the quiet place is within us. The noise which you find so distracting is external. It only exists if you want it to."
Ganai Chanchaochai in DHARMA MOMENTS

I'm sitting in the evening sun and am having difficulty remembering how bad the morning started. But here goes...

I had decided last night to go to the refugio in the monastery in Samos which was only 12km away. Since it was a short day, I didn't need to rush to get packed and out of the albergue. I took my time, had a hot cocoa in the bar, all before I said goodbye to Alexandria.

Saying goodbye to Tomoko and Alexandra

Stepping out the door was a rude awakening. A heavy mist covered everything and a very cold wind was whipping the trees around. The trouble is I didn't have any cold weather gear. I ended up wearing my windbreaker under my rain coat, but the my hands were so cold. I kept switching hands to hold my walking staff every minute just to keep my hands from freezing.

Camino de Santiago

The maps said we would be climbing down all day. So I guess we started out in the clouds, but when we descended lower, beneath the mists, we got the rain. Nothing is much worse than cold and wet.

136kms to go

But now we start to descend

But as I got closer to Triacastela, I was joined by Syd and Jill from Essex England. I met them at Albergue Brazil and they were such nice people. And the surprise to us was that as we climbed even farther down to town, the clouds parted and we had sunshine, glorious sunshine.

And the weather begins to clear

Sharing the road

We enjoyed while it lasted, the time it took to get across to the other side of town. I was surprised at how many people seem to take the route to Samos. It's a longer route and I thought to distance myself from the Camino hordes. Not, but that's still to come.

Walking through Triacastela

We had a bit of road walk, but at San Cristobo do Real, we left the roads to walk through a countryside forgot by time. All the Camino was shaded by trees and line with moss-covered rock walls that defied age. I stopped once or twice just to take it all in. Wonderful.

Simply wonderful

Came across a farmer who was moving his cattle from the barn to a nearby field who said it was three more kilometers to Samos. The sun continue to pop in and out making it a pleasant afternoon walk mostly.

How much farther to Samos?

Just before you reach Samos, there is an overlook above the monastery. What a wonderful view. I had come through here five years ago during a rain storm so was happy to see it in better weather.

The Benedictine monastery in Samos

The refugio is in one of the side rooms of the monastery. My guess it was one of the stables. What surprised me was that once they opened, the eighty beds filled up almost immediately. So much for getting away from the crowds. The other thing odd is that I don't recognize most of them. Kathi and Judy are here, as is Jean Pierre. But other than Syd and Jill, the rest of my companions seemed to have chosen the other route.

The crowded refugio inside the monastery

Pilgrim asks where he can bed his burro for the night

Took the tour of the monastery, which was huge, but now there are only 14 monks living here. They are celebrating 1000 years of helping pilgrims here. Later had a quiet dinner alone. And meditated as the sun set over the monastery with a smile.

They raise their own food here

The monastery's church

And inside the church

Murals painted in the halls

Inside the gardens