Pilgrim Dinner (solo) at Samos

On Alan’s advice I went to ‘the other’ restaurant opposite the monastery albergue in Samos … I was not disappointed

place mat


“second plate”


Given the waitress and owner only spoke Spanish, I was rather glad that my choices were so tasty. All this (including a bottle of wine which I drank about half of!) for 10€

I’m sure I’ll have put on weight on the Camino … three courses plus wine most days is a lot, even if I’ve been walking loads and using up energy!

This was the first pilgrim dinner I ate alone. The tourist pilgrim group were just finishing (they weren’t very satisfied!) and I came a bit too early for others. In my defence I was hungry and I’m quite tired so finishing before 8pm is better for me!

Posted in Camino (Spain), food, Galacia, peregrina | 8 Comments

The Camino, climate change and the environment

The footprint of every pilgrim adds to the erosion of the Camino paths. The communities are onto it, encouraging pilgrims to stay on the paths, and making repairs. They are also encouraging the use of alternate routes which are more rural and get pilgrims away from the roads. There are also rural remote Camino trails being set up … though there aren’t many of those yet.

One of the most encouraging things is the effort made to reduce the negative impact of hoards of pilgrims moving en mass through northern Spain. Most albergues encourage sensible use of water (both hot and cold) as, particularly in the hotter months when the pilgrim numbers peak, water is a really sparse. In some albergues a time limit is recommmended, although interestingly to me that time well exceeds what I’d usually use anyway!

Another way the negative impact is kept to a minimum is that most albergues not only encourage recycling but have signed up to be environmentally friendly. Most have these recycling bins

In several albergues too there has been information about littering and bags available to encourage pilgrims to litter pick. I’ve actually found the amount of litter to be incredibly small … except for toilet paper! Elizabeth (from down under) and I talked about this yesterday … and we wondered why pilgrims didn’t stick their loo paper in a bag and dispose of it properly at the next possible toilet … and we also thought the EU and local municipalities could introduce compost toilets at the numerous rest and recreation picnic areas. Most (but not all) have a water fountain but not one has had a toilet!

Most encouraging of all pilgrims are talking about the environment and climate change, and woe betide the odd American (or other) who thinks it’s fake news, or are in favour of Trump like politics that want to revert to coal powered energy stations rather than renewable energy.

Most pilgrims have fallen in love with the elegant wind turbines that we see on most mountain ranges!

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Meet Daniel (from Spain) and Bart and Rob (from the Netherlands)

Rob and Bart have walked here from the Netherlands … and only became friends on the Way. Rob (far left) is 29 and Bart (right) only 21. This is their first Camino and they are loving it. They have a fun sense of humour.

Their friend Daniel is from northern Spain, but nowadays lives with his wife and 6 year old son, in the Pyrenees. It’s his first Camino.

They all asked heaps of questions about Suomi!

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Tourist pilgrims

I met my first tourist pilgrims today, although to be fair they are staying in the albergue tonight. They came here in a private minibus, and it was funny to hear them fretting that they don’t know yet when they’ll get to Santiago or how the train back (to Madrid) will work as they haven’t booked!

I hope their ‘leader’ (from the US) keeps his nerve. He walked the Camino from St Jean Pied du Port with his daughter in 2010, and sounded really wistful about those times! He’s now in charge of a group of eight, including his (new) wife, his sister and her husband and some cousins!

They asked loads of questions (as did I only a few weeks ago) and one of the main concerns was the albergues wanting to see their passports. Frankly I think there are more important things to worry about :)

Today they visit to monastery (to get the stamp) eat the pilgrims’ meal in the pub and ‘rough it’ at the albergue. The sister was already asking about private rooms with own bathrooms. My thinking is that if they choose that option it frees up space and beds for others, but full credit for them in giving it a go for their first night at least.

I expect to meet them again at 7 when we have the pilgrims menu in the bar opposite the albergue!

Camino Pilgrimage by train

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Day 34 Filloval to Samos : a damp squid of a day

So the storm came … but in the night!

It really was a downpour -so much so that the lower room in the albergue flooded a bit, and the innkeeper was busy mopping the floor just before we went to sleep. All the bags were on benches though, so no harm done!

The wind was howling throughout the night too, but by the time we got up (7am) it was all over … just a very light drizzle and I had made my first decision of the day, to push on, and the second decision as well : to leave the poncho in the bag!

After morning coffee at Triacastela I had to make yet another decision … which route to take!

All decisions on the Camino,are good ones, remember, and after debating for a while I chose to take the less scenic, less remote but longer route via Samos!

I loved the walk.

The rain was very light and after the road by the river section we were back onto little paths through nice countryside by streams and gushing rapids and little waterfalls.

It felt “the road less travelled” as I didn’t see many pilgrims … and when the rain got a bit heavier (for all of ten minutes!) I found shelter in a shepherds’ hut and pulled on the trusted poncho!

As I was approached Samos I could hear the monastery bells calling the faithful and realised I could make the midday Sunday mass.

I found the albergue in the monastery fairly easily and the hospitaleros (from France) very kindly let me check in even though it was only 11:40 and then officially open at 1pm. Then I skipped off to find the entrance to the church (easier said than done!). The Camino provides in lots of ways, and suddenly a solitary nun came out of a huge door, and I followed her!

The mass was lovely, smells but no bells, and it was nice to join families in worship (rather than only pilgrims). There’s never any written liturgy and while today there was music (organ) there was no singing.

Afterwards I headed to a cafe for a second coffee today, to warm up and to use their internet! I’ve still to decide when and where to eat today! I’d like an early pilgrims’ meal, but that’s not always possible.

There were plenty of signs of last night’s storm!

And now the rain has eased off I’m off to explore. I think it’s possible to take a tour of the monastery.

I’m now about 130km or so from Santiago de Compostela. And today heard from Mariena who is still only about a day ahead of me, so it’s still possible we will meet in Santiago. She’d bumped into Doug (from Orisson) Wendy (in Molinaseca) and now Ute (from Germany) and all were asking how (and where!) I was! It seems my Camino families haven’t forgotten me. Today though I’ve been thinking a lot about the lovely foursome from Macau … they must soon be in Santiago (and then back to university!)

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Weather …

Some stormy wet weather has arrived this evening … the remnants of hurricane Leslie.

It’s already raining heavily here … and with luck will pass over tonight, though more realistically it will carry on into tomorrow.

If that’s the case I’ll probably take the route via Samos (and overnight there) …or head swiftly to Calvor and call it a day there! Let’s see!

The good news is that the worst of the downhill is already behind me …and I’m only 3 1/2 km from Triacastela!

I might not start out very early though :)

Posted in Camino (Spain), preparation, Galacia | 12 Comments

More Wines

Posted in Camino (Spain), Castile & León | 4 Comments