The following song was running thru my mind this morning as I set out for Samos.
This morning I said goodbye to Doreen and Chris as they had a deadline for reaching Santiago and I am quite flexible as to when I finish and I wanted to see the monastery in Samos. We met for breakfast before they left for the path on the right to Sarria and I took the path on the left to Samos.
Doreen on left, Chris in the middle and Penny on the right
Thank you Chris for all the phone calls you made on my behalf. I admire you for your stamina, integrity and joy of living old gracefully. I hope that I am walking 21 km days when I get to be your age. (I won’t say your age but I have a few years to go).
Doreen, I admire your gentleness and nurturing nature. I feel you are a kindred spirit and am blessed to know you. Thank you both for letting me tag along with you from Burgos. I wish you both well and I will keep posting so you know where I am along the El Camino.
Taking the left path to Samos was the best decision for me. It is what I envisioned the El Camino would be like. The majority of the time I had the path to myself. For the whole morning I met only nine pilgrims. It was wonderful to walk beside the Oribrio river and under the leafy umbrella of the chestnut and oak trees. There were no stops for cafe con leche as there were no bars along the way. There were several villages along the river with garden plots and grazing cattle. I stopped often to capture pictures and to just listen to the birds. At one spot, near a waterfall, I startled a blue heron from its trout watching perch. Pictures along the Samos path.
This is what I came to see.
Founded during the Visigothic era, the Benedictine rule was first introduced to the monastery by monks from San Juan de la Peña in Aragon in the 10th century. By the Middle Ages, it had become one of the wealthiest and most powerful of all the monasteries on the peninsula, controlling some 300 lesser monasteries, 100 churches and drawing its support provided by the rents from 200 towns and villages. Besides educating the sons of the nobility, a task it shared with every other Benedictine monastery in Europe, Samos also maintained an important pilgrim´s hospice, a pharmacy, a forge, and numerous farms. Its “Feijoo cloister”, named after the monastery´s most famous monk, the 18th century scholar, university professor and encyclopaedist Benito Jerónimo Feijoo y Montenegro, is the largest in all of Spain.
The monastery was severely damaged in a fire that swept through it in 1536. It was rebuilt gradually over a period of 200 years. A second fire in 1951 caused further damage, destroying the library and the monastery refectory.