There are two roads out of Triacastela, and this time I was determined to take the other one, over Samos. But after meeting Art the night before, and with it being shorter… Well, I went for the San Xil option again.
When I got to A Balsa and Art’s art gallery, the man himself was looking for a picture he made in Liverpool, but which was proving elusive. Never mind, I had a chat and a look around, and picked out a few postcards to take to my Scouse Spouse and the Musicians so they could have a look at his work online. Then a group of Spanish pilgrims suddenly poured in and requested a blessing, which I thought was odd, but apparently this is one of the artist’s sidelines – he closed his eyes and promptly and sombrely blessed the lot of them, backpacks and all, and in fact everyone in the house at the time, so I guess some of it must have sprinkled on me too.
The littlest chapel or church is still there, you can still look in through the bars in the door, but it looks a bit sad and in need of a clean and tidy-up now.
Then on to the long uphill walk through the woods, and oddly I managed to have it to myself again. Such a peaceful and glorious walk with just the sound of steps crunching and birds singing. Could have carried on all day, but when that shell shaped fountain appears, it is all over.
Later on there are some really brutally steep downhill sections which I didn’t enjoy, and my knees didn’t either. I took it slow though, using my Pacerpoles as handbrakes, and got there in one piece in the end. Be careful though.
I had the tiniest of stops at Casa de Luz, mainly to sit down and shake something annoying out of my shoe, but took some photos while I was there. The tree with shells hanging from it reminded me of Denise’s tree outside Astorga, and the sheer amount of people milling around inside and outside made me want to carry on without taking a real break.
I even climbed the steps up to the main pilgrim albergue drag! And without stopping at the Peregrinoteca, which must be some form of new record. I could hear my credit card sighing with relief.
After the usual shower and change I went up to Matias Locanda, which is still going strong, still had beds even as late as six in the evening, and still serves one of the best pizzas on the Galician trail. I had one for late Spanish lunch, and then later met the Musicians for a drink while they were having theirs. One Locanda pizza is more than enough to keep anyone going until the next morning (I had a tiramisu though, just to keep them company, you understand). Then I went back to the albergue to check that they really did close an hour later than I thought, and they did, so I enjoyed a small beer and, due to some miscommunication or unexpected generosity, a massive orujo de hiervas for a nightcap.