Pilgrims have two options today, signposted at the trail’s departure from Triacastela.
The shorter one proceeds from the detour to the right, crosses the valley of San Xil, and passes through traditional villages such as A Balsa, Montán, Calvor and San Mamede do Camiño. There some steep stretches during this walk.
The other alternative on the leftward fork is a bit longer. It heads towards Samos, site of a renowned monastery erected in the 6th century, and one of the most important of its kind in Galicia. It is both a pilgrim hostel and a tourist site with grounds open to the general public Monday to Saturday from 10 to 12:30 and 16:30 to 18:30. Sunday and holiday hours are 12:45 to 13:30 and 16:30 to 18:30. You can enjoy the monastery’s beautiful, spacious cloisters, its library, medieval pharmacy, and vestry. This place is also full of stories and curiosities. One of the cloisters has a fountain with four mermaids showing their breasts, which was the cause for much uproar. There is also a thornless bramble, said to be the one that hid its thorns when Saint Benedict fell over it to avoid prickling him. The vaults also feature a key on the ceiling with an inscription reading: “What are you looking at, fool”. Some people claim that in the murals decorating the large cloister they see faces of celebrities, such as Sofia Loren in the body of a nun or Sara Montiel (a Spanish actress) as an angel, perhaps because the painter, from Coruña, also did billboards.
Samos was a hospital for pilgrims and also a place to bury walkers who had passed away on the Way to Lugo. The monastery lies adjacent to a riverside area where you can take a break, and there are some nice restaurants in the vicinity where you can eat trout caught from this very river.
During the last 4 kilometres both routes meet in A Guiada and lead to Sarria, where notable sites include the churches of Santa Mariña andthe Capilla del Salvador, the Mercedarian Convent of A Magdalena and the Torre de Sarria, also called Castillo de Batallón.