mardi 2 juin 2009


Today was a great day. First of all, we had a good night's sleep in the albergue. Albergues vary a lot. Some are municipal, and some are private, but that does not seem to affect the price or the quality. Since next year is a holy year, and the last holy year there were 50% more pilgrims than usual, a lot of new albergues are springing up, and old ones being renovated. We have stayed in some pretty depressing places, but last night was not one of them. The bunk beds were new and comfortable, there was a washer and dryer, as well as a kitchen, and a roof-top patio, and best of all, all the bathrooms were private i.e. each had a shower, toilet and sink. The toilet paper didn't run out, and neither did the hot water. And all for only 7 Euros! [I'm getting pretty pathetic, aren't I? :)]

This morning, we had the choice of taking the short route to Sarria (18 km) or the scenic route through Samos (25km). We chose the latter. The first part of the route was along the road, and reminded me of the Canadian shield. Then we walked through shady woods, with ferns and moss, and fox-glove, and small streams, and a path that was mostly soft underfoot instead of rocky. We ran into a few herd of cattle along the path - an interesting experience. We arrived in Samos around 9:30. After breakfast of cafe con leche and toast (tostados have been available the last few days), we took the guided tour of the very large, very beautiful, and very old Benedictine monastery. There are currently 15 monks and 3 novices, but the place looks like it could accommodate several times that. The tour was in Spanish, but the guide spoke slowly and clearly, and I understood 95% of it. My spoken Spanish is atrocious, but I understand a fair bit.

After the visit to the monastery, everyone seemed to walk a bit more slowly and thoughtfully. The walk to Sarria was somewhat eventful in that Pierre, the Quebecois father, and one of the Brazilian boys, got lost. They eventually found their way, but were scratched with thorns.

Nadine and I are both looking forward to going home. The heat is tiring, and our energy is down. The one advantage to the heat is that our clothes dry quickly on the clothesline!

LAst night's dinner was unforgettable. I think Nadine described the menu on her blog. Afterwards, a young Austrian woman said that Felix (the 25 yo computer programmer/amateur chef) might make a great husband, but there were 3 things a husband should be able to do well: cook, dance, and make love. At that, the boys moved the tables, everyone started humming Strauss' Blue Danube Waltz' and Felix showed the young woman, and us all, that he could dance.(He declined to demonstrate his prowess on the 3rd requirement). It was an unforgettable moment.

There have been times on this trip that I have been near tears (generally in albergues taking yet another cold shower, or, since often there is only one small hook to put your stuff, a couple of times when my clean clothes fell on the wet floor), but there have been many more times when I have been very happy to be here. That said, I am looking forward to coming home!


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