Last night was another brutal night. That’s the last time I willingly stay in a 100 person dorm. From now on I’m going to go to the small 20 bed private albergues first. The guy with whom I was effectively sharing a bed with left at 3:30! Where do you even go? Maybe he’d had enough, too.
To top it off, I’ve got some sort of sharp pain in the top of my left foot by my big toe. Every now and then, with no apparent pattern, it feels like something is jerking a nerve. It’s making me walk tentatively and with a limp, which is putting stress on my right leg and the other muscles in my foot. Argh. Nothing’s ever easy.
I’m in a foul mood, which is unfortunate because this is the prettiest stretch of trail since the Pyrenees. Every few miles I’m passing through a collection of houses (calling it a village would be aggressive) with an albergue or bar. These are old stone houses that have been lived in for centuries. Many of them are built on hillsides with barns housing cattle below and the living quarters above. Yes, it stinks and yes, the streets are covered in cow puckies. But in contrast to the villages on the meseta, which look like time has passed them by, these seem to exist in a vacuum where time has no meaning. I see old men carrying sickles, young men herding cows, women emptying water pails in the street. There are no engines to be heard. The locals appear reserved or indifferent, but a “Buenos Dias” is met with something friendly in a dialect I can’t understand. They probably have so many people wandering through their fields that pilgrims have long ceased to be a novelty.
The pseudo-villages are connected by dirt paths that meander intermittently through dense old growth forests and pastures. The former providing shade and the latter really nice views. The forests are a mix of chestnuts, vines and ferns – it’s clear we’ve passed to the windward side of the mountains and that the climate here is much wetter than the side I climbed up. It’s easy to imagine robed pilgrims leaning on a staff as they walk along these same paths. You can even hear the drumming of horse hoofs from the other end of the valley.Tonight I’m staying in a private room at an albergue in Samos for the princely sum of $30. I am extremely tired and I need some sleep. Samos is the site of the oldest, largest monastery in Europe. I stopped here because I wanted to tour the place, but I’m just too tired. I’m going to take a nap instead.
O Cebreiro to Samos – 20 miles
Even 60 year old graves have fresh flowers