Last night we went to Samos to giant Benedictine monastery. Apparently there used to be about 300 monks – now about 14. They owned much of the land around and had several satellite churches. I heard Vespers sung and then two of us went to the bar and had a brandy to warm up to wait for the others as they stayed for the mass. Dinner was great with a nice potato and vegetable soup, salad, sliced mushrooms cooked with bacon and fried trout – like a large sardine – and fries.
We saw the same young couple with two kids in Samos and then they were in the restaurant we were in. They are really friendly and always happy – including the kids but amazing to see they have walked so far.
Today we left Sarria. Betty and I took the bus to the top of a hill – about 5 km from the start and saw this cemetery.
We started walking about 11:00 and walked about 8 more km till we hit the lunch spot – around 2:30 pm. Everyone was there before us. The walk was terrific today though– lovely trails in the countryside – mostly flat with a few hills. After a very cold morning – 3 layers, a toque and my hoodie – the sun came out in the afternoon and it is beautiful. But after lunch my knee was hurting and there were 7 km left to go. I chose to ride the bus to Portomarin to the hotel and got here about 4:00. It is now 6:00 pm and my roommate isn’t back and she’s a much faster walker than I am. I wouldn’t have got back till 7:30 pm. I still don’t feel great and I’ve had a shower and a nap.
Felt better later – good dinner and conversation about books and movies (my thing). Before dinner we usually have an hour to discuss some readings we have been given. One of the guys who is accompanying his wife on her “pilgrimage” asked what was the difference between a pilgrimage, which he said was defined as a journey with a purpose, and a walking tour and we didn’t know. It appears this journey is different for everyone. For me it is mostly a physical thing, I think. (Apparently people change their minds during the trip.) Some also said the walking by itself changes you. Two lovely sisters said for them it was a special journey. One’s husband had died four years ago and they had been planning this trip for her 65th birthday. She asked her sister to come with her to celebrate her husband’s life. Her sister said that every day she thinks about a member of her family and dedicates the day to that person. Today we talked about what a true pilgrim was. Some people believe you have to suffer, i.e. stay in hostels with very few amenities and carry all your belongings on your back to be a true pilgrim – it’s part of the Catholic thing, I guess. I figure walking is tough enough – it’s nice at the end of the day to have a nice room, hot water for a shower and a great dinner, wine and conversation.