At the Hotel San Giraldo, we were told to leave the backpacks on the table by the door and that the taxi service would pick them up. We were to attach an envelope to the backpacks. Inside we were to put the transportation fee and outside we wrote our names, as well as the hotel for pick-up and destination. So, on our way out, we left them in the front room on the table. We went downstairs to the main building to pay at 6:00am, but there was nobody there. Apparently, since the dining room didn’t open until 8:00am, nobody was tending the bar or hotel patrons. We went to have breakfast at a bar we had seen that opened at 6:00am. As we were rounding the corner, the lights in the bar went on. The lady was just arriving and turning on the coffee machine, etc. etc. We had coffee and a packaged Magdalena again.
An older gentleman was the only other client in the bar. He asked about the bus and where it stopped. The bar keeper told him where it stopped and we asked him where he was going, since he looked like a pilgrim. He said he would take the bus to Triacastela and then walk to Sarria. The stage we were planning on walking was 38 km, and we found out that most people make it two stages because it is so long and difficult to walk down the steep mountain from O’Cebreiro to Triacastela. From Triacastela to Sarria, it would be 21 km instead of 38 km.
After considering it for about 2 seconds, we decided to take the bus, too! We went back to see if the hotel was open and knocked loudly. No answer. We left money (not quite the entire amount because we could not get change) along with a note and took off to the bus stop. The bus came about 10 minutes after the time and we rode it down to Triacastela, arriving at around 7:30am. Riding the bus made us realize how fast we could get to our destination and I think we all have begun to really appreciate how difficult travel would be without the automobile or train.
We decided to walk to Samos to see the monastery and it was worth it. What an impressive building in the middle of rugged terrain and forests. Today the town is a small hamlet tucked into the trees. The Dominican monks still live in the monastery, which we did not tour because we did not want to take the extra time. We did stop at the town of Samos to have a sandwich, which was as long as my forearm. Tony and Dave ate plates of fried eggs and a kind of bacon. There was so much food that it was falling off the sides of the plate!
The rest of the walk to Sarria was through rolling hills. I don’t mean that it was completely easy, but it was not the tough hike, like the hike up to Foncebadon or O’Cebreiro.
Sarria is a medium size town, which was not very pretty. We walked across it in about 20 minutes, arriving at our hotel, Hotel Roma. It is situated on the edge of town, across the street from the railway station, near the river. It is an old hotel, built in 1930 and refurbished quite nicely. The only piece of modern “luxury” that it did not have was an elevator – which was being installed while we were there. Below the old building in the basement is a world-class restaurant, with incredibly modern decoration. The contrast of the stone walls and modern lights is very nice and comfortable. The food there was fabulous! The chef/owner was cooking over a bbq grill in the front of the dining room, which you had to walk past to sit at a table. Everything that we ordered was very good and the service was excellent. The hotel and restaurant have been mentioned in the 2010 Michelin Guide.