the samos monastery

Two paths, two routes. Yesterday I had to make a choice.
Which path did I want to take?
After a week of somewhat long hikes, did I want to take the short path that was 13 miles or the long one, the road less traveled, that was 18 miles long?
The longer route to Sarria was the more beautiful path and would pass through the city of Samos. Samos holds one of the oldest monasteries in all of Europe.
As my group of 22 individuals departed, they all chose the shorter path, I was torn.
Did I want to visit the monastery alone or did I want an easier milage day walking in good company? As I was making my decision, one of my friends, Morgan, offered to join me on the longer route. So, the two of us set out, two other students also decided to take the route but they lingered behind us.

The monastery was about 10 kilometers from Triacastela, the town we stayed at the night before. The walk flew by as I conversed with Morgan and enjoyed the gorgeous hike. As I climbed the last hill that overlooked the grand monastery, I knew I had taken the path that was right for me.
The three other students that took the longer path with me didn’t want to stop and tour the building, so I decided to tour alone.
I got my ticket right in time for the 10am tour, which was filled with various adults, all older than I, but I didn’t mind. The monk who gave us the tour spoke in three languages, Spanish, Italian, and French. I loved hearing the Italian he spoke, as I have been studying the language this past year. I was shocked at how beautiful the monastery was and even though I could not fully understand the languages the monk spoke during the tour, touring the enormous neo-classical building was intriguing.

The tour began in the cloister, we then headed to the hallways to look at various frescoes and paintings afterwards we viewed the lab where the monks once made various medications.
We then toured the original library where many religious texts were copied down, we looked at various relics, then entered the gorgeous church, where our tour was finished. I am very thankful for the opportunity I had to see yet another historic building.

The hike towards Sarria was a very peaceful one, filled with intention and prayer. Walking alone and in silence enabled me to connect deeply with nature and with God.
I intently listened to the sounds of the various waterfalls I passed, I looked in amazement at the beautiful mountains that surrounded me. I felt the wind caress my face as the birds sang a sweet song to the earth that spoke to my soul. If I had taken the other path, I would not have had the chance to hear and see such things.

What kind of lives will we lead? Will we decide to take the longer, more difficult path with beautiful stops along the way or will we decide to take the easier route in life?
I definitely believe that everyone’s path is different. However, if taking the challenging route will cause us to grow in character and strength, will we decide take it?
I’ve learned that sometimes the longer path, the one walked in solitude, can have the greatest impact on a person’s life.
Stay true, live justly, and always travel on. Peace and love.

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