We saw some strange things today. Perhaps the most bizarre was the tiny town of Bouzas in which we found a garden full of life sized fake people. It was so creepy!we also came across a chair along the side of the path (perhaps an old car seat)and this! A home made something or rather -don’t know what to call it! An engine with a trailer?! He started it by using a fly wheel, perhaps a lawn mower engine, and winding the rope and pull starting it. It was attached to a trailer and he sat on it and drove up the street.we then moved on to Vilamarin and saw a slot machine attached to a tree and a chair in the middle of nowhere, under a tree we met a lovely lady just wandering through a town. She stopped to talk to us. aside from this, we walked through some more beautiful forests, along the road a bit, and climbed more hills. Chestnuts are still everywhere underfoot and falling from the trees. One hit me on the head today! We came across a farmer moving his beautiful cows along our path too.
We walked quite a way today, taking a detour of 8kms to stay in Barro at the oldest working monastery in Spain. We are the only pilgrims here! It is a huge cavernous building with arched ceilings and heaps of bunks. It is so damp but quite an amazing experience! We were invited to Vespers at 6.30. We were led through the dark hallways of the monastery (weren’t allowed to take photos) into a small room and guided to the pews at the end. There are only 10 or 12 monks living in this enormous monastery which was started in 1137. I had been trying to imagine what it would have been like when it was thriving but it has never been so and it has quite a checkered history. They are Trappist monks, one of the strictest orders. Such a fascinating experience. When Vespers finished, we were once again led through very dark hallways past their cells and down the stairs to a large wooden door. We found ourselves out by the cemetery and had to find our way back to the dormitory in the dark.we had a great sleep even though it was freezing cold. I had some really vivid dreams. The walls were exuding the history and my imagination was flying with thoughts of how many pilgrims must have stayed here, and if the walls could talk, what could they tell us. No heating, minimal light and VERY damp air. In fact it was so damp that the mattresses and blankets felt wet, but this is all part of the experience that made it so memorable. I had my sleeping bag and that was enough. This is going to be one of my favourite memories for sure!
If anyone of you do walk the last 100 kms of the Sanabres, this 8km detour to the Monastery de Santa Maria la Real de Oseira is really worth it! Absolutely fabulous experience and it would help to keep it going and support them. 5 euros for a bed and there is a shop there where you can buy things the monks make ( like forest honey, chocolate, soap, incense and alcohol) It reminded me of the monastery at Assisi in Italy.