Bendictines and blisters

Today we woke up in a gorgeous setting. The monastery is old (not sure of the exact age but huge gate, thick stone walls, formal knot garden, orange trees and echoing cobblestoned courtyards. Think of the early convent scenes in the Sound of Music!). We were offered breakfast by another pilgrim from the Basque country. It’s a tradition to share food on the way if you can. The monastery charges only a suggested donation of 5 euros for the night. We set off in sunshine through beautiful rural countryside. Stone walls, fields of spring flowers and tiny churches in the distance. Clare was frustrated by an unexpected painful blister but Noel was kind and we walked slow in the warm sun. Tonight’s albergue at Rates is an old monastery hospital converted to a pilgrim hostel. We have 2 Germans,  2 Brazilians and one Italian in our dorm. On the bunkbed we hung the prayer flags we’ve carried with us for the past year. Each new place we hang them up to feel like home. There were university student team filming a documentary about the albergue so our flags got filmed too! 

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