Feb 9, 2018: Day V

Route: Torres del Rio – Navarette

Distance: 35 km (Total: 120 km)

One of the benefits of a long, solo trek is that life can be very unpredictible for those who like spontaneity. Having exceeded the plan by over 8 km the day before and after a quiet night in Torre del Rio along with Henry we set out to continue our Camino.

This joint trek turns out to be a nice experience for me. The time flies faster. We walk at similar pace and understand each other well.

One of the benefits of staying off the beaten track is that there are hardly any other pilgrims there. Apart from one other person from Hungary we had the whole albergue to ourselves. Quite a luxury! Silence, no snoring. You could get extra blankets from other beds. The were quite useful that night as it was very cold both outside (-5 C) and inside (15 C). Despite popular belief certain parts of Spain can be very cold in winter.

After about 12 km of marching we reached a nice city of Viana. It was around lunch time. We stopped in front of a beautiful church and listened to an interesting story shared by one of the locals about the ups and downs of one of the famous people who pershied there in the Battle of Viana, Cezare Borgia. Our impromptu guide with visible satisfaction told us that Borgia’s remains were moved from the Cathedral to a place just outside. What gave him particular pleasure was the fact that many people walk on the tombstone and animals pee on it from time to time. This Borgia guy is not remembered well.

When asked about the recommended place for eating he directed us to a place just opposite the tombstone. We had a great lunch there enjoying La Rioja wine. This was a well-time overture before entering La Rioja region 6 km later. Despite the fact that we had plenty to eat I planned to take Henry in Logrono, which we were to reach in about 2 hours, to one of my company’s (AmRest) restaurants called La Tagliatella.

And that’s what we did. We reached downtown Logrono around 3:30 pm. I was not sure if the restaurant would still be open before siesta. Luckily it was open. We had a wonderful visit there. Henry was very impressed! He encouraged us to open La Tagliatella concept in Canada. This is a double compliment as it comes from somebody who is rather careful in what he eats.

After such a calorie injection we could either stay in Logrono for the night as most pilgrims do, or continue our journey to the next town, Naverrete, 10 km away without any accommodation guarantee. Walking at our average pace we would reach Naverette well past the sunset. Undeterred by that and the fact that we might lose our way in darkness we decided to walk on.

Upon reaching our destination at around 7:00 pm admiring the old town by night we were also looking for an open albergue. According to my guide two of them were supposed to be open all year round. But the reality was different. At the second one by a nice name of El Cantaro (Singer), undaunted by complete darkness in the building, I decided to call the phone number of the hostel. After all the Holy Scripture says:

Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened.

Mt 7, 7-8

Dialing the number I heard the ringing signal in my phone and outside the building. After the third beep a friendly voice answered and soon the owner came downstairs to show us into a very nice hostel apartment.

Being spontaneous opens us up to kinds of wonderful things. Today the main reward for us have been great food on the way, covering a super long distance in good shape despite the rain and wind and the best albergue so far with just the two of us.

Medition IV: Break down the wall of hostility

For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility by abolishing the law of commandments expressed in ordinances, that he might create in himself one new man in place of the two, so making peace, and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby killing the hostility

Eph 2, 4-16

Walking with Henry and enjoying our time together I was meditating on today’s excerpt from the Letter to Ephesians. I thought I would not enjoy such a joint walk with just anybody. It is so easy for us to like those, who are like us and who recipricate our sympathy.

Jesus could unite everybody, remove the wall of hostility between people. The Cross is the quintessence of it. How I wish to develop this wonderful skill to build bridges between people!

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