Stage 13, Sep 16, Torres del Rio to Navarrete, 31.2km, total time 8:15 hrs.

As this is was expected to be a long stage with temperatures rising to the 30 Deg +, with my new occasional partner Mario from the Seriana valley, we decided to start quite early. He woke me up at 5:45 and by 6:15 we hit the road wearing our head lights. For a good hour we walked in the pitch dark under a canopy of stars. Then the day broke showing off an extraordinary color palette.

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My new partner Mario is a very reserved person, religious and very humble. I enjoy to watch him opening up to this new improbable relationship. As the kilometers unfold, he’s telling me about his family, his habits and his very simple life. In no other place I could have had the chance to share my thoughts and my life with this person. I am very grateful of this opportunity.

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My influence can be dangerous for him, since the first time I met him he was never eating or drinking anything else than what he carried in his backpack. Slowly I convinced him to have breakfast in some flamboyant pastry cafes, or even dining at a tapas bar.

This in particular is worth to mention. It is in Navarrete, the place where we are spending the night, and is managed by an Italian guy. The choice of tapas is irresistible: so what can be better than a cold beer and a selection if yummy tapas from Antonio?

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If any of you happen to be in Navarrete, do not miss to visit Antonio at his Bar Deportivo (941-441-065). I forgot to mention that as we entered the city of Logroño, we enteted also the province of Rioja, home of excellent wines and very warm people.

After a short prayer of thanks for the day and its treasure of secrets and discoveries, in the magnificent cathedral of Navarrete

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we headed back to Antonio for the dinner menu, where he surprised us with a specialty made of sweet Navarra peppers filled with baccalao (cured cod fish) and olives, with rice milk in a dark calamari sauce. Divine.

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The price still in accordance to the pilgrim’s dish menu (12 euro).

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