Saturday, September 13, 2008


At 8:00 AM, and after a nice breakfast we were on our way via San Xil. This day to me was the one with the most varied and beautiful landscapes. There were lots of short climbs, longer descents through very narrow paths, forests of nothing but chestnut trees and beautiful green fields. We made our first coffee stop at a tiny village called Montan, then around noon in Turela, where we stopped at a great terraza where lots of pilgrims were having a break. We could hear so many languages being spoken. As we ordered a Spanish tortilla, I met a young man from Kuwait who was traveling with his Hungarian girlfriend. He lives in Vancouver and has traveled pretty much all over the world. At this point of our walk we were exactly half way to Santiago. In Pintin we had a panoramic view from a mesa that took your breath away. The largest of the chestnut tree forests was after Pintin. At this point the sun was so hot, that we thanked our lucky stars for the long shaded walk to Calvor.

Sarria is a large town which we could see in the distance, its urban area very spread out, so it took quite a long time to get to the center of town. We found out that the hotel we had reserved was on the outskirts of the city,as seems to be often the case ,and far from the center, so we cancelled our reservation and made one at The Hotel Oca de la Villa, modern, elevators and air conditioning. This was a great stop for us, because we got in at 3:30, got all our washing done, showered and went out to see the town. There is a fabulous river walk full of terrazas and bars and they were all full of people. We went to a bar called Santiago, had a cold drink and then a few of the tapas that are specialty of the region. We had delicious shrimp in garlic and parsley butter, "pimientos de Porron," grilled small green peppers with the most delicious flavor, and grilled small squid that were incredibly tender. The river walk was so cool and lovely that we stayed there for quite some time. We wanted to see the rest of the town, so we got a taxi to take us to the top of the hill to see The Monastery of the Merced. We were so tired to do in by foot! The taxi driver had been to boarding school there, so he gave us quite a comprehensive tour. In the courtyard they ha an exhibit of Compostelan Art, which was too modern and rather mediocre, in my view. The church and the tabernacle are very beautiful, as is the sober architecture of the building. After our short tour, we went back to the hotel and retired for the night.

Panoramic view

A shady path

Among the chestnut trees

Pilgrim sculpture, Sarria

River walk, Sarria

Our taxi driver's Alma Mater

Our Lady of Mercy

Monastery's courtyard

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