Thursday, October 2, 2014

Sobrado dos Monxes

I wasn't kidding when I said the place deserved its own post. 

It's quite a slog, seemingly mostly down hill to Sobrado dos Monxes. Just at the point you think your feet can't step down one more time, you encounter the lake which is right around the bend from the monks. 

The facade is covered in lichen, much the same as Sangtiago de Compostella.  And small plants have begun to sprout from various nooks an crannies that will require quite an investment to remove.  

We entered thru a huge iron gate with the word Pax written huge above. Our hospitalero had lovely classical music playing as we signed in. 

I confess to a moment of doubt when I was informed that we'd have to wait an hour to shower, as the water heater was broken. If there is one thing you come to cherish after a hard day walking thru the forest, and the highways and the byways it's a shower and the opportunity to clean your clothes. 

They did get immediate brownie points for having a washer AND a dryer.  One hour later, the promised shower was available. Sobrado also boasts not one but two super mercados!!

So off to the store. Damian, Dominique and me. The original plan was a simple dinner of sausages, mashed potatoes and maybe a salad. But inspite of two whole stores, there were no fresh sausages to be had. So quick change by our personal chef de cuisine and it was decided we'd have tortilla Frances aka an omelette.  

The eggs had yolks the color I've never quite seen. Deep dark orange yellow. The resulting omelette was incredible and not one scrap was left. Roughly the same thing went down with tomato salad and the peas and carrots swimming in fresh butter. 

The room we ate in was once probably used by the monks. Now they live upstairs. The entire dozen or so. Benedictine monks. 

Vespers was a beautiful prelude to dinner. The singing did what that sort always does to me. It brought on the tears. (To my sons. Stop laughing!)

After vespers we ate and at nine it was time for Completo. This was done with much more subdued lighting. The singing was so sweet and so peacefull. Literally a lullaby by Benedictine monks. Perfect. 

As they departed the chapel, a bowl of holy water was offered by a younger monk. After the last of the monks had blessed himself, the young monk gestured to those lay people present to come forward. It was rather lovely to be included.  None of us said a word as we descended the massive stone staircase.

Off to our pilgrim room and to sleep.   

In the early morning we again all meet in the former dining room for our respective breaking of the nights fast. For me it was once again you hurt with muesli and dried fruit. And of course coffee. Coffee Via courtesy of Starbucks. 

Off thru the very quiet village and into the woods. No hint of the heat to come. By one o'clock it was quite warm. Especially for October. By three we were all roasting with very little shade as our lovely little trickle joined the Camino Frances. 

Walking into Arzua with Chantal (who was really feeling the heat even more than the rest of us.) I did what I did three years ago when walking the Frances myself. Music. Fast or funny music. Any thing to distract the mind and keep the feet moving  

So I entered the main Camino singing. "Let it Go" from my granddaughters favorite movie Frozen. Great choice when it's 25celcius. Add some baton twirling tricks I've learned after three Caminos and let's just say I think I embarrasses my spouse. But bleeeeeep it was so much fun. 

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