From Triacastela there are two paths to Sarria – one shorter, via San Xil, and one longer, via Samos, with its once incredibly powerful monastery which still hosts pilgrims in the old buildings. As you leave Triacastela you see these two markers (reasonably) clearly pointing out the two alternatives.
Then as you get onto the main road shortly after having turned towards the San Xil route, it is clearly marked again. Still a lot of people managed to get it wrong and had unexpected detours … I suspect they didn’t consult (or carry?) a guidebook.
Once when I walked this route with the Scouse Spouse, we saw that the door of this little house was open, and thinking it was a church or chapel we stopped to have a look. Turns out it is an old cow shed (!) and it is now the art gallery of the aptly named Art. He showed us around and we helped him carry his mattress into the flat below. This time when I stopped to say hi, I was pleased to see that lots of people stopped, got stamps, chatted and bought his postcards and other little lightweight items.
A bit further on is this actual chapel, though I can’t remember having seen that top half of the door being open before … so I went and had a look and what a wonderful treat! The colours are even brighter than they came out too.
Then the trail started winding up through the woods, another beautifully lush and green walk with nothing but birdsong and rustling leaves.
As I came out of the woods, just up the road from the big shell fountain, I stopped to take a layer off as it was getting warmer (at least I was at this point). And when I turned to look back … there was Piia walking towards me! We never mentioned walking together the night before, but here we both were so we carried on towards Sarria together. The San Xil route is actually very pretty, but we must have been busy talking because there are no more photos from this walk!
At long last we arrived in Sarria, and had to get up Those Stairs – not one of my favourite uphills I have to admit.
Piia was carrying on past the town so we said goodbye by the albergue which was the next on my list. I mentioned my name and was shown the facilities and my bed, and then I did what pilgrims do: unpacked, showered, changed, organised laundry, and went out to eat, drink and be merry.
It was a nice enough albergue, but the next morning I was surprised to find a message from Booking.com asking why I hadn’t shown up for my reserved bed the night before – I thought I had! Then it dawned on me: I had booked one, then cancelled and booked another, and forgotten to update my list. But still – the hospitalera asked my name, didn’t mention the cancellation at all, just took my money and showed me in. Which meant that I had to pay for the bed I was supposed to be in too, and which I would have preferred to be in, not to mention that someone else might have needed it! So the moral of the story is: Make sure you double check your bookings if you make them, and always cancel bookings you don’t need to avoid irritation. When you are tired and want your bed, it is easy to get things mixed up. Lesson learned.