This was one of those days when we should have checked our guidebook before leaving our room. It was still dark when we came to the intersection just outside of Triacastela and didn’t know which way to turn. Usually we simply follow the yellow arrows, but we couldn’t see any. When there are no yellow arrows, we follow others. The problem this morning was that they were going both ways, right and left. We ended up relying on two people with a GPS who said it has never failed them yet and followed them to the right.
Later we learned that both ways end up in Sarria, but the route we took was shorter, 18.7 km versus 25.1. Distance can often (but not always) be the decision-maker. The longer route goes to Sarria via the Benedictine monastery of Samos, one of the oldest and largest in Spain. Apparently it is well worth the visit as we later found out. So now there is something else to add to the list of things to see, if and when we walk the Camino again!
Today was the third day of sunny weather, perfect temperatures, and either natural pathways or quiet roads. There was one small hill to climb, but nothing strenuous.
On the way down from the hill we were pleasantly surprised to arrive at a walled yard with a welcoming sign, “Live light, travel light, spread the light, be the light.” Under a shelter in a big courtyard were big, old sofas covered with Indian throws and sequined cushions. A blanket with more pillows were laid out on the patio. Several kittens were cavorting around. A young woman who looked much like a hippie from decades ago with her long hair and bell-bottom pants made everyone welcome. We could help ourselves to bananas, plums, cookies, bread, juice, tea, etc. If we wished, we could drop a coin into the basket labelled “Donativo.”
We helped ourselves to bananas and plums and were relaxing on a sofa when who should walk in but Garry from Australia. “Well, isn’t this a little piece of Heaven!” he exclaimed. We last saw him on Day 36 in Rabbanal del Camino. He read us the poem he wrote this morning when he was walking. Pretty amazing!
Garry told us that Lugo is an interesting place to visit because of the old Roman walls. Lugo is just a short bus trip away from Sarria and buses go between the two towns regularly. As soon as we reached Sarria, we headed to the bus station. No one was at any of the wickets to give information about the bus times, cost, or how to buy a ticket – a reminder of how some things grind to a hault at siesta time in Spain! So we were meant to stay in Sarria rather than explore the Roman walls of Lugo, and that was totally fine with us.
The ancient atmosphere can still be felt in Sarria’s attractive old quarter that climbs along the main street all the way to a ruined castle at the top. We found a great little private room with shared bathroom and even a kitchen at Matias Locanda Italiana. After settling in there, it was time for ice cream (Dave) and cerveza (me) and some relaxation time in the sun at an outdoor table.
We were soon joined by two other Canadians from Manitoba and an American. The conversation turned to how walking the Camino de Santiago pilgrimage can be tailor-made to whatever an individual wants or needs it to be. The couple from Manitoba have one of their backpacks transferred by vehicle (Jacotrans) and they carry one. A “purist” might say that’s “not okay” and that carrying your own backpack is the only “right” way. But what about pilgrims in the olden days? They might have had donkeys to carry their things. Was that okay or not? We wonder what a purist thinks about using non-traditional things like high-tech walking sticks, Osprey backpacks, and Gortex hiking boots. It’s all food for thought!
We can’t judge people for the different ways they get to Santiago de Compostela. There are slow and fast walkers, runners, cyclists. Some carry their own backpacks and some have them transported. Some walk from St. Jean Pied de Port like we did, but we met people who started in various other places along the way. Some are on tours, doing short walks in various sections of the Camino. Everyone has a different reason for doing this walk. It’s all good.
We ate our pilgrim meal tonight at the Italian restaurant and had the best tiramisu EVER! Among the hand-writing that covers the walls we noticed that the delicious dessert hadn’t gone unnoticed!