July 16:  Guitiriz to Sobrado dos Monxes  22,485 steps

Today is Sunday and the sun is shining promising a warm and beautiful day.  We have decided to make the best of the situation of being in a wonderful bed and breakfast out in the middle of nowhere.  We arranged for breakfast to be served at 8am and then headed out down the road to see if we could locate at least one yellow arrow to help us figure out where we were.  We had seen a sign the day before that said that Sobrado was only 9 kilometers away, so figured we could at least walk there for lunch.

While the walk into Sobrado was mostly paved and other than a rise and fall to the terrain, it was nothing that we hadn't done before.  Within two hours we were entering the small town wondering what we were going to do to occupy our day.  

Well, it didn't take long to realize that Sobrado is the home to a large Cistercian Monastery run by the monks of San Bernardo.  It was just before 11am Mass as we entered the yard in front of the Cathedral.  A young monk approached us and asked if we were in need of a place to stay, needed food, or maybe the toilet.  It seems this monastery is famous for its treatment of the pilgrims.  Since the 1400s it has bedded, fed, bathed, nursed, whatever the pilgrim needs.  This same monk told us to make ourselves at home and that if we wanted Mass would be starting in a few minutes and we were more than welcome to attend.

A quick tour of the Albergue (pilgrim home) and it was off to Mass.  It was performed in a small chapel within the Monastery walls.  While most of the time the service was either in Spanish or Latin it was very easy to follow through the sounds of the phenomenal voices of the monks in song.  Each chant, each song, each verse rang true throughout the chapel sending a charge down through the body.

At the conclusion of the service we ventured out into the town for a quick coke and then back to the cathedral for a tour of the premises.  The building itself is huge and seems to be vacate of use.  Built in the 1400's it has a Roman architectural feel intermixed with the sculptures of peasants, pilgrims, saints, bishops on the walls, ceiling, and floor.  In one room is the medallion of St James high overhead.  Another houses a couple of frescos in the process of reconstruction.  Dead center of the main section of the church is a large replica of the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela.  It is hard to believe that in a few days we will be walking up the front steps of that church to pay homage to St James.

Frankie trying to find the way!!

Cathedral and Monastery at Sobrado

Cathedral from inside the Cloister

Cloister of the Peregrinos

Pilgrim (Peregrino) in Chapel

St James Medallion

Fresco on the Wall in the Cathedral

Angel Fresco