Saturday, May 21, 2016
Distance: 23.6 km
10:06 – Time to hit the road. I’ve spent almost two hours at this cafe, catching up with some people I got to know about halfway through the Camino (which seems like an eternity ago) and of course wasting some time online. Most people would say “wasting” but in reality I downloaded an audiobook and a bunch of podcasts, checked out the day’s route, did some research into Lisbon, and generally did the stuff that people do when they connected 24-7. I get an hour or two in the morning and evening to use wifi and at peak times some hostels are so busy that you simply cannot get online.
10:15 – As I said yesterday, there are two routes out of Triacastela. I will take the southern route which is 6.4 km longer but relatively level and takes me by the ancient Benedictine monastery at Samos. According to the guidebooks, this route has long sections adjacent to or on the shoulder of the busy LU-633 highway. It may not be the most interesting, hence the audiobook that is downloaded and ready to go. (Blockchain Revolution by Don and Alex Tapscott, in case you care.)
The Benedictine monastery at Samos is one of the oldest and largest in Spain and well worth the detour according to many. The above view was my first glimpse of the monastery from the hills above town.
I’m not sure if the monastery was worth the detour or not. I didn’t have time for a tour and there wasn’t much to see from outside. It was impressive in scale but to be honest, I think I prefer the tiny and often abandoned stone churches that dot the countryside.
13:10 – My 30 minutes at this lunch counter was, ah, interesting. The local gentleman in the red cap was either pissed or deaf or most likely both. His normal speaking voice could be heard a block away and his laugh could wake the dead. And he laughed at everything. He laughed at the way I pronounced “croquetas caseras de jamon.” He laughed at the stock market report that was airing on the TV over the bar. I thought he was going to have an aneurism when the an Aussie woman came in and asked for tea. When I asked if they could break a 50€ note, he laughed so hard that he fell off his stool, although by that time I’m sure it was beer related.
15:26 – I didn’t get the name of this community (no sign) but there was one house, one church, one commercial building (vacant) and one chicken coup with about 20 very inquisitive hens.