In the middle of the forest there was a crystal clear river, straddled by an old stone bridge. There was river water welling up through a small fountain in the stone wall. And an ancient, weather-blackened monastery. Absolutely in the middle of nowhere. I hear it is more than a thousand years old.
Galicia is full of small and sometimes surprisingly large monasteries scattered about the forests and mountainsides. As I stood on the tiny inner courtyard overlooking the Eume river valley I could not help but wonder how and why sites for monasteries were once chosen. Was it the result of a spiritual experience of the founder, on-site? Or simply strategic, to keep an eye on the locals? In any case it must have been incredibly difficult to start from scratch, and not just carry up and install the granite bricks, but to create an infrastructure with water and food delivery to uphold survival of sometimes dozens of monks.(San Xoán de Caaveiro, Fragas do Eume, Spain; September 2019)
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