The most beautiful day yet – 19 km or 11 miles. Telso, our regular driver drove us back to Tricastela in order to walk the Camino back to our hotel in Sarria. A long drive – we were all thinking the walk back take forever, but with camaraderie and banter, the laughs were increasing and it did not seem to matter. The uphill started but was not as steep. We went through forests, and down country paths, past barns and stone farm houses, newly plowed fields and incredible lush landscape. Wildflowers were peeking out everywhere and we saw 800 year old trees-incredibly gnarly, but with sprouts of green. Saw a Castro, a ring of stacked rocks which at one time had a thatched roof. There are over 10,000 of these in Spain a lone and they housed entire families and live stock too. Some of them were old when the Romans arrived. Heard lots of history from Jason, our guide which was fascinating. Don’t think we get enough World and European history of this kind, and of course the more time goes by, the more there is to forget.
Ended this gorgeous day and John and I agreed that if we had only one day to spend on the Camino it would have been this one. Evening took us to the large ancient monastery at Samos for vespers. There is a small river running behind it which is lovely. We stood on the front steps for a group photo when suddenly here came the same brown dog we had met at O’Cabreiro. It sat with us for the picture, but when we came out he had left. We decided he was a spirit guide just come to check on us.
The Monastery chapel was awesome and it must have been very wealthy at one time, but the seating area for worshippers was modest wooden benches. The exquisite dome over the alter was at least 35 feet high and the wall behind was a fantasy of cherubs, clouds, angels, and apostles with a Christ figure floating before golden sun rays. I have always loved the elegance and simplicity of vespers at Mt. Calvary – the end of the day, the ringing of the bell, the sweetness of twilight, and the beauty of the liturgy – a time to give thanks for the day gone by and to refocus on the night to come. This service was not that way at all, and I came away saddened by the contrast between the glory of the decor and the lifelessness of the service. Time had its effect on this place and it seemed to be trapped by its own history.