A glimpse into the journal I kept for all 38 days on the Camino Frances, including up to 10 photos (not necessarily the best pictures but more that they represent that day in some particular way). Today is day 33 – May 23rd. Triacastela to Sarria

Left just before 7am as I decided to take the alternate route, passing through Samos. I couldn’t not see this monastery! The route is 6km longer than the recommended route but still just under 25km so definitely doable. Someone else was on the path along the side of the quiet highway the same time I was but I had no interest in socializing. It took me quite a while to get ahead of him far enough not to feel this presence behind me! …

Once the path turned into the forest, the walk was gorgeous. The dense trees lit by early morning sun, still silent hamlets…I was in heaven. …

Samos itself seemed fairly small. I went straight for the 6th-century Benedictine monastery, one of the oldest in the Western world. I arrived just after 9am and as luck would have it, it had just opened! I was in time for the first tour of the day and it only cost 3€. The oldest part of the monastery (a door and archway) is Roman. The rest had been done over the centuries but much of it was destroyed or damaged by a fire in the 16th century and again in early 1950s. There were many interesting murals done in the 1960s, not something one would expect to see in a monastery. I loved the huge cloister but wished I had this place to myself! Today, only 15 monks live in the giant complex and there are only three novices so the future of this place as a functioning monastery is dim. …

Had lunch at 10:15am at a little restaurant across the street from the monastery. Their specialty was an in-house made burger. Was very good! …

I was on my way by 11am. The walk was mostly fantastic countryside. Once I met a group coming towards me and they were following a map and were convinced the arrows were wrong. I was like, nope this is the way according to the arrows and the JB book. They didn’t believe me, so adios! I saw them in the distance a little while later – I guess they finally realized I was right. …But the Universe must have deemed me a tad cocky about being right  as at one point a little later on, I’d been walking along quiet rural roads for quite some time with no sign of a yellow arrow. My brain and I had a conversation:

Brain: “Do you appreciate the irony?”

Me: “No, no I do not.”

Brain: “Are you sure about that?”

Me: *heavesgreatsigh* “Fine, yes, it is funny.”

And pretty much immediately after I acknowledged Universe: 1, Kendra: 0, two people came tromping into view and I was able to confirm that I was still on the Camino. …

The Spanish countryside never fails to amaze me – it’s just so darn pretty. Passed through a hamlet or two. At one point, I wanted an ice cream but didn’t want to go looking for one. Soon after, a lady passed by me and gave me a piece of chocolate. …

When I arrived to the centre of Sarria where the albergues are located, I was faced with a giant staircase. Only a few steps up, there was an albergue on the left and I quickly abandoned the stairs. …

Sarria is an okay place. Visited a convent that dates to the 13th-century (had to ring a bell by pulling on a rope to get inside) and saw a ruined castle (not much left) that also dates to the 13th-century. …

Now that I’ve reached Sarria, it will be interesting to see how the walk is different – a million and one people start the trail from here. They all look so shiny and spiffy!