CAMINO INVIERNO Day 6 Monforte to Chantada:
Another memorable day on this most delightful Camino. Beautiful scenery, wonderful encounters, and delicious food and wine. We left the new and very comfortable Albergue Santiago 15 at 6 while it was still dark, enduring a long tough walk with 2 tough ascents through the lush forests and steep river valley.
Approaching the River Miño
2 years ago I missed a turn in Castrotañe and was redirected by a friendly local, an English woman, Penelope, and her American friend Sue Duffy. But not before a memorable Camino chat about the Invierno and the Ribeira Sacra Wine Region. Sue’s Suvi Travels offers wine tours of this up and coming Region and gave us some wine and restaurant recommendations that were all excellent. 
Today, Penelope invited Mika and I in for a lovely mid-morning tea break. Good strong English Tea with homemade gingerbread. We could have stayed all day, but being pilgrims departed after an hour. But not before receiving a copy of Penelope’s book, Gardening Tips For The Soul. I found it to be a sensitive, Buddhist like approach to connecting gardening with the journey into our souls. Wonderful post Camino read.
River Miño from the Belesar Bridge[/caption]

We continued on through pleasant forest land and just before reaching the Rio Miño we passed through Diomondi and its beautiful 12th Century Romanesque Church of San Pelagio coming to Manuel’s house where he offered us a chair to rest. Then we got to talking and he was soon offering us his homemade ham, chorizo, and wine.  Another wonderful stop with fun conversation. We stayed a good 45 minutes bantering back and forth on the art of making your own ham and wine with Manuel and his wife.

Friendly Manuel and his wife.

Then a descent down the steep valley to the small village of Belesar, named after the Roman Captain who built the original bridge on the River Miño. The River Miño Valley along with the River Sil Valley form the Ribeira Sacra Wine Region. 

Unfortunately what goes down must go up and we had an equally steep up the valley and another K or so to Chantada making today a 30K walk. We stayed at Hotel Mogay which was nice enough. The adjacent restaurant, A Faragulla, recommended by Sue Duffy, was fabulous with a smoked salmon and apple starter and a main of leg of lamb. Their wine list was diverse with over 200 selections and their excellent sommelier, Humberto Louriero, helped us choose a delicious local wine.
salmon with diced apple in a vinaigrette sauce
Fabulous leg of lamb
Kind Manuel packing up some chorizo for a later snack for the 2 always hungry pilgrims.
Leaving Monforte


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