While looking at a map of El Bierzo we came across a monastery which we had not visited yet and was fairly close. We decided to make an adventure of it with Nikki, an intern from the US. Things got a little suspicious as the GPS guided us off of the paved road and on to a rutted gravel road. For about a kilometer we worked our way up the washed out path and then came around a bend to see a beautiful stone settlement tucked away in the valley. A man was out working in the field and upon our interrogation he explained that the monastery, or what was left of it, was private, but we could walk around and look at it – under the agreement that we not tell anyone where it is! So…consider yourself not told.
Not only did Domingo allow us to walk around, but he gave us a tour, explained the history as he heard it when his father purchased the property when Domingo was a little boy. He showed us the ways in which his farm is adapting to the monastery walls, and even gave Tanzen an antique cowbell that had been sitting in his work shed since he was a boy.
We finished the tour with a picnic in the upper meadow overlooking the El Bierzo valley. It was a great day of religious, historical, and cultural learning which I doubt we will ever forget.