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Sarria alternative: Start in Samos

2020 Camino Guides

MichaelC

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Aug 2017: Le Puy to Santiago
Nov 2018: Kumano Kodo (partial)
2021: ?
Sometimes I feel like I walked a different camino when I read all the posts about the crowds after Sarria on the Camino Francés. I walked that route two years ago, and saw more cows than people until the last day. But I was also off-stage from the books. I know that there were many hundreds of pilgrims on the camino at the same time, but they were all half a day ahead or behind me.

And so: for those who want to walk the final stretch of the Francés but who are nervous about the crowds, I'd like to suggest starting in Samos. It's 130 km from Santiago, and an easy bus ride from Sarria or Santiago. You'll pass through Sarria at lunch time - long after the main wave of walkers has left.

And just to show how different everyone's experiences are (and how tranquil even the Camino Francés can be), here are my unedited posts to my friends and family from October 2017:

---------------------------------------------------------

Samos. My goal today was San Julián de Samos, a 1500-year old Benedictine monastery, though the current structure only dates from the 1500s.

Only.

This involves a variant that adds 7 km to the total, and so almost no one took it. People, mostly Americans and Canadians, keep quoting at me some book or movie on how “the Camino is about learning to slow down.” And yet they’re not slowing down. They wake up in the dark and walk without stopping and clock their miles every day and are pushing hard to reach Santiago.

Which means it was a very quiet day on the trail. After the roads diverged I saw more cows on the path (five) than peregrinos (one). There were only two of us who toured the monastery. And I was alone at the small Mozarabic Capela do Ciprés and its thousand-year old cypress.

Ferreiros. I passed the 100-km remaining mark; this is the final stretch! And I am seriously out of synch with everyone else. From Facebook posts I know a lot of friends passed the mark this afternoon, but I only saw five walkers all day. We might only be 5 km apart, and would never know it.

I had a burst of energy, and walked until 5:30 pm. I thought I covered a lot of ground, but once I accounted for leaving late, stopping for a long lunch, and a few coffee breaks, it was only a normal 26 km. Eh. I’m still on track.

There were only two of us at the municipal albergue when I arrived, but a few more guys have come limping in. It’s basic, but it’s a bed for the night.

There’s a private albergue that looks a bit nicer, but it’s full of a group of nine Germans traveling in a group that took about three seconds to completely annoy me. But this is a pueblo with only five buildings (I counted); large groups of anyone would be annoying.

Eirexe. This is another small pueblo with only a few buildings. It’s almost more of a crossroads than a town. And once again there are only about six of us here - four French guys, a woman from Liverpool, and me. I know there’s large groups of people half a day ahead and half a day behind, but for us it’s been long hours of solo walking.

The path was nice in the morning, but followed the road for most of the day. I put on my music and powered through.

Edit: Another traveler arrived, a woman from France. Whatever she said has agitated everyone else, and now they’re all arguing politics in the dorm. Ugh.

Melide. Closing in on the final 50 km! Today went quickly. I walked most of the day with Alison from Liverpool, and we ran into the French guys (Olivier, Raphaël, and Vladimir) off and on all day. Also saw a lot of new people who just started; I saw more pilgrims on the trail today than this entire week combined.

I don’t know much about the town I’m in, beyond that Alison and I crashed some benefit & got free hot chocolate and some bags of roasted chestnuts. That turned out to be dinner.

I’m mentally prepping for a longer push tomorrow. I tried figuring out the kilometers, but stopped counting after 30.

O Pedrouzo. Day 71. 35 km. And my penultimate day on the way. It feels strange to be so close to the end. And today feels like three days in one, so this might not be the most coherent post.

Last night was Camino luxury- Alison and I were the only two in the dorm, we had real sheets, and even a duvet! I could have slept all morning, but we had agreed to wake up early and put in some fast miles.

The morning was mostly country roads, and we reached the first town before noon. Our paths split there. The afternoon was mostly along roads, and I knew I had a long way to go. I put on my headphones & blasted through 20 km. I wanted to catch up with the wave, and maybe find some of the people I’d lost track of over the past weeks.

I found a lot, but not all. It was a shock at first to be back in a full dorm room. Twelve of us - from eight countries- cooked a communal meal, and it turned out to be an almost perfect final evening. I’ll copy the photos as soon as people post them.

Santiago. Todos los Santos. I woke up really confused. I couldn’t remember where I was planning to walk today. Or why I didn’t hear everyone else get up. Or why I was in a real bed with pillows.

I picked the noon mass for All Saints’ Day as the symbolic end of this Camino. The majority of people I met over the past month were aiming for November 1 too, so it was incredibly special too see all the folks I’ve had large and small connections with, all here last night and today.

And now I’m a civilian again, back in the normal world, and I’m in a bit of a daze. People are catching trains and planes, or walking on another five days to the coast. Tomorrow morning I’ll catch the train to Madrid. It’s going to be an interesting transition.
 

scruffy1

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Holy Year from Pamplona 2010, SJPP 2011, Lisbon 2012, Le Puy 2013, Vezelay (partial watch this space!) 2014; 2015 Toulouse-Puenta la Reina (Arles)
We all have our Camino superstitions, mine include "I never knowingly turn my back on SdC". So a three-hour + - bus trip east to Sarria from SdC won't do for me. Lugo would probably be an easier place to reach Sarria quicker but one would then have the same short taxi ride to Samos with their back to SdC. I seem to remember buses stopping opposite the far end of the monastery but couldn't find a schedule. Your best idea was to stop before the recommended stages of the guidebooks - may take one short day to set up but it usually works for me.
 

Diabo

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Cahors - Toulouse '2015'
Roncevalles - Carrion de los Condes '2016'
Carrion - Ponferrado '2018'
Thanks for this post Michael - I'm hoping to finish my Camino next year and your advice on how to avoid some of the traffic on the last 100ks was really helpful.
 

Anamiri

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances
Sometimes I feel like I walked a different camino when I read all the posts about the crowds after Sarria on the Camino Francés. I walked that route two years ago, and saw more cows than people until the last day. But I was also off-stage from the books. I know that there were many hundreds of pilgrims on the camino at the same time, but they were all half a day ahead or behind me.

And so: for those who want to walk the final stretch of the Francés but who are nervous about the crowds, I'd like to suggest starting in Samos. It's 130 km from Santiago, and an easy bus ride from Sarria or Santiago. You'll pass through Sarria at lunch time - long after the main wave of walkers has left.

And just to show how different everyone's experiences are (and how tranquil even the Camino Francés can be), here are my unedited posts to my friends and family from October 2017:

---------------------------------------------------------

Samos. My goal today was San Julián de Samos, a 1500-year old Benedictine monastery, though the current structure only dates from the 1500s.

Only.

This involves a variant that adds 7 km to the total, and so almost no one took it. People, mostly Americans and Canadians, keep quoting at me some book or movie on how “the Camino is about learning to slow down.” And yet they’re not slowing down. They wake up in the dark and walk without stopping and clock their miles every day and are pushing hard to reach Santiago.

Which means it was a very quiet day on the trail. After the roads diverged I saw more cows on the path (five) than peregrinos (one). There were only two of us who toured the monastery. And I was alone at the small Mozarabic Capela do Ciprés and its thousand-year old cypress.

Ferreiros. I passed the 100-km remaining mark; this is the final stretch! And I am seriously out of synch with everyone else. From Facebook posts I know a lot of friends passed the mark this afternoon, but I only saw five walkers all day. We might only be 5 km apart, and would never know it.

I had a burst of energy, and walked until 5:30 pm. I thought I covered a lot of ground, but once I accounted for leaving late, stopping for a long lunch, and a few coffee breaks, it was only a normal 26 km. Eh. I’m still on track.

There were only two of us at the municipal albergue when I arrived, but a few more guys have come limping in. It’s basic, but it’s a bed for the night.

There’s a private albergue that looks a bit nicer, but it’s full of a group of nine Germans traveling in a group that took about three seconds to completely annoy me. But this is a pueblo with only five buildings (I counted); large groups of anyone would be annoying.

Eirexe. This is another small pueblo with only a few buildings. It’s almost more of a crossroads than a town. And once again there are only about six of us here - four French guys, a woman from Liverpool, and me. I know there’s large groups of people half a day ahead and half a day behind, but for us it’s been long hours of solo walking.

The path was nice in the morning, but followed the road for most of the day. I put on my music and powered through.

Edit: Another traveler arrived, a woman from France. Whatever she said has agitated everyone else, and now they’re all arguing politics in the dorm. Ugh.

Melide. Closing in on the final 50 km! Today went quickly. I walked most of the day with Alison from Liverpool, and we ran into the French guys (Olivier, Raphaël, and Vladimir) off and on all day. Also saw a lot of new people who just started; I saw more pilgrims on the trail today than this entire week combined.

I don’t know much about the town I’m in, beyond that Alison and I crashed some benefit & got free hot chocolate and some bags of roasted chestnuts. That turned out to be dinner.

I’m mentally prepping for a longer push tomorrow. I tried figuring out the kilometers, but stopped counting after 30.

O Pedrouzo. Day 71. 35 km. And my penultimate day on the way. It feels strange to be so close to the end. And today feels like three days in one, so this might not be the most coherent post.

Last night was Camino luxury- Alison and I were the only two in the dorm, we had real sheets, and even a duvet! I could have slept all morning, but we had agreed to wake up early and put in some fast miles.

The morning was mostly country roads, and we reached the first town before noon. Our paths split there. The afternoon was mostly along roads, and I knew I had a long way to go. I put on my headphones & blasted through 20 km. I wanted to catch up with the wave, and maybe find some of the people I’d lost track of over the past weeks.

I found a lot, but not all. It was a shock at first to be back in a full dorm room. Twelve of us - from eight countries- cooked a communal meal, and it turned out to be an almost perfect final evening. I’ll copy the photos as soon as people post them.

Santiago. Todos los Santos. I woke up really confused. I couldn’t remember where I was planning to walk today. Or why I didn’t hear everyone else get up. Or why I was in a real bed with pillows.

I picked the noon mass for All Saints’ Day as the symbolic end of this Camino. The majority of people I met over the past month were aiming for November 1 too, so it was incredibly special too see all the folks I’ve had large and small connections with, all here last night and today.

And now I’m a civilian again, back in the normal world, and I’m in a bit of a daze. People are catching trains and planes, or walking on another five days to the coast. Tomorrow morning I’ll catch the train to Madrid. It’s going to be an interesting transition.
Two years ago we finished our Camino by walking that exact same route. I love the walk into Samos (not the main road bit out of Triacastela, but once it goes to country lanes). That view through the gap in the wall at the top of the hill looking down on the monastery is amazing.
In Ferreiros we had a really nice room, and in Eirexe the Spanish ladies were interested in my crocheting, and the cows sucked my washing on the line. (I should have known better) In Melide, the door wouldn't lock so we propped up our sticks against it. And in Pedrouzo they raced stock cars through the outdoor cafe to celebrate winning the football.
Liked it so much last time that we finished via Samos again last month, (we started in Leon). Its still magical.
Edited to add : It looks as though walking on the main road out of Triacastela will be a thing of the past, a few weeks ago we could see construction workers putting the path on the other side of the barrier. Not prettier but safer.
 
Last edited:

mary_mh

Buen Camino
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances Sept (2019)
I walked from Samos a few days ago after spending a wonderful night there and visiting the impressive and beautiful monastery. Out of Samos I walked completely alone for a couple of hours along lovely paths, until the path from Triacastela linked up. My visit to Samos was a very happy one and if you’re interested in visiting churches, monasteries, etc., this is a real treat. I loved hearing the bells too through the evening and along my morning walk. 46ACD428-E24F-48BC-A307-64A6C2EA4712.jpeg
 

Camgal

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2020)
Camino Portugese (2020)
Sometimes I feel like I walked a different camino when I read all the posts about the crowds after Sarria on the Camino Francés. I walked that route two years ago, and saw more cows than people until the last day. But I was also off-stage from the books. I know that there were many hundreds of pilgrims on the camino at the same time, but they were all half a day ahead or behind me.

And so: for those who want to walk the final stretch of the Francés but who are nervous about the crowds, I'd like to suggest starting in Samos. It's 130 km from Santiago, and an easy bus ride from Sarria or Santiago. You'll pass through Sarria at lunch time - long after the main wave of walkers has left.

And just to show how different everyone's experiences are (and how tranquil even the Camino Francés can be), here are my unedited posts to my friends and family from October 2017:

---------------------------------------------------------

Samos. My goal today was San Julián de Samos, a 1500-year old Benedictine monastery, though the current structure only dates from the 1500s.

Only.

This involves a variant that adds 7 km to the total, and so almost no one took it. People, mostly Americans and Canadians, keep quoting at me some book or movie on how “the Camino is about learning to slow down.” And yet they’re not slowing down. They wake up in the dark and walk without stopping and clock their miles every day and are pushing hard to reach Santiago.

Which means it was a very quiet day on the trail. After the roads diverged I saw more cows on the path (five) than peregrinos (one). There were only two of us who toured the monastery. And I was alone at the small Mozarabic Capela do Ciprés and its thousand-year old cypress.

Ferreiros. I passed the 100-km remaining mark; this is the final stretch! And I am seriously out of synch with everyone else. From Facebook posts I know a lot of friends passed the mark this afternoon, but I only saw five walkers all day. We might only be 5 km apart, and would never know it.

I had a burst of energy, and walked until 5:30 pm. I thought I covered a lot of ground, but once I accounted for leaving late, stopping for a long lunch, and a few coffee breaks, it was only a normal 26 km. Eh. I’m still on track.

There were only two of us at the municipal albergue when I arrived, but a few more guys have come limping in. It’s basic, but it’s a bed for the night.

There’s a private albergue that looks a bit nicer, but it’s full of a group of nine Germans traveling in a group that took about three seconds to completely annoy me. But this is a pueblo with only five buildings (I counted); large groups of anyone would be annoying.

Eirexe. This is another small pueblo with only a few buildings. It’s almost more of a crossroads than a town. And once again there are only about six of us here - four French guys, a woman from Liverpool, and me. I know there’s large groups of people half a day ahead and half a day behind, but for us it’s been long hours of solo walking.

The path was nice in the morning, but followed the road for most of the day. I put on my music and powered through.

Edit: Another traveler arrived, a woman from France. Whatever she said has agitated everyone else, and now they’re all arguing politics in the dorm. Ugh.

Melide. Closing in on the final 50 km! Today went quickly. I walked most of the day with Alison from Liverpool, and we ran into the French guys (Olivier, Raphaël, and Vladimir) off and on all day. Also saw a lot of new people who just started; I saw more pilgrims on the trail today than this entire week combined.

I don’t know much about the town I’m in, beyond that Alison and I crashed some benefit & got free hot chocolate and some bags of roasted chestnuts. That turned out to be dinner.

I’m mentally prepping for a longer push tomorrow. I tried figuring out the kilometers, but stopped counting after 30.

O Pedrouzo. Day 71. 35 km. And my penultimate day on the way. It feels strange to be so close to the end. And today feels like three days in one, so this might not be the most coherent post.

Last night was Camino luxury- Alison and I were the only two in the dorm, we had real sheets, and even a duvet! I could have slept all morning, but we had agreed to wake up early and put in some fast miles.

The morning was mostly country roads, and we reached the first town before noon. Our paths split there. The afternoon was mostly along roads, and I knew I had a long way to go. I put on my headphones & blasted through 20 km. I wanted to catch up with the wave, and maybe find some of the people I’d lost track of over the past weeks.

I found a lot, but not all. It was a shock at first to be back in a full dorm room. Twelve of us - from eight countries- cooked a communal meal, and it turned out to be an almost perfect final evening. I’ll copy the photos as soon as people post them.

Santiago. Todos los Santos. I woke up really confused. I couldn’t remember where I was planning to walk today. Or why I didn’t hear everyone else get up. Or why I was in a real bed with pillows.

I picked the noon mass for All Saints’ Day as the symbolic end of this Camino. The majority of people I met over the past month were aiming for November 1 too, so it was incredibly special too see all the folks I’ve had large and small connections with, all here last night and today.

And now I’m a civilian again, back in the normal world, and I’m in a bit of a daze. People are catching trains and planes, or walking on another five days to the coast. Tomorrow morning I’ll catch the train to Madrid. It’s going to be an interesting transition.
A great post. Thoroughly enjoyed reading it. Planning to do this trail in a week's time. Thanks for sharing.
 

jsalt

Jill
Camino(s) past & future
Portugués, Francés, Le Puy, Rota Vicentina, Soulac, Norte, Madrid, Salvador, Primitivo, Aragonés
an easy bus ride from Sarria
Hi, please could somebody provide an online link for the bus schedule between Samos and Sarria?
Thanks!
 
Camino(s) past & future
CF 2006,08,09,11,12(2),13(2),14,16(2),18(2) Aragones 11,12,VDLP 11,13,Lourdes 12,Malaga 16,Port 06
Hi, please could somebody provide an online link for the bus schedule between Samos and Sarria?
Thanks!
Oh but it's such a beautiful walk!
You might try movelia.es for a bus schedule?
 

Camino Chrissy

Take one step forward...then keep on walking..
Camino(s) past & future
Frances 2015;
Norte/Primitivo 2016;
Frances 2017;
Le Puy 2018;
Portuguese/FishermanTr. 2019
I walked from Samos a few days ago after spending a wonderful night there and visiting the impressive and beautiful monastery. Out of Samos I walked completely alone for a couple of hours along lovely paths, until the path from Triacastela linked up. My visit to Samos was a very happy one and if you’re interested in visiting churches, monasteries, etc., this is a real treat. I loved hearing the bells too through the evening and along my morning walk. View attachment 65752
Gorgeous photo! Thanks for including it.
 

jsalt

Jill
Camino(s) past & future
Portugués, Francés, Le Puy, Rota Vicentina, Soulac, Norte, Madrid, Salvador, Primitivo, Aragonés
Oh but it's such a beautiful walk!
You might try movelia.es for a bus schedule?
Thanks Annie, I'll see if I can find a schedule.

Yes, it is a lovely walk, have walked it twice already, but I will be with my husband next time in Samos, and he can't walk long distances. We will walk from Triacastela to Samos and stay one night. But just in case he doesn't want to walk to Sarria the next day I would like to have the (if there are any) bus times, rather than have the expense of a taxi to get us to our next accommodation in Sarria.
 

Camino Chrissy

Take one step forward...then keep on walking..
Camino(s) past & future
Frances 2015;
Norte/Primitivo 2016;
Frances 2017;
Le Puy 2018;
Portuguese/FishermanTr. 2019
I hope to deviate and head over to Samos "one day".
 

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