Today, on Gaudete Sunday, I finally walked to the village with one of the foals. I set off with Rubi and Morris shortly before midday on the long winding road up the hill from Elca Seriu. They were expecting us at the Bar Moli in Finestrat, and I hoped to get there. After weeks of attempting short walks with the foals, this was the first real trial. Rubi and Morris are easier to handle than Matilde and Aitana, so I hoped we would be able to do it.
The first two kilometres were a real struggle. Although Morris foal is used to doing short walks, he is not yet used to the headcollar and spends his time leaping! Rubi was getting fed up with being held back by him, so she refused to go any further. I had to encourage her with the whip, which is not very nice but some firm management was needed today. I managed to get Rubi to pull Morris up the hill and eventually we were all trotting along happily. The rest of the walk was a dream!
A yellow arrow! A magic moment! For the first time since training these burros for the Camino de Santiago, we are momentarily on a spur of the Camino de Levante, marked by yellow arrows. Rubi is thrilled (!)
Just outside Finestrat, we paused and I tidied up the pack saddle arrangements to get Morris tucked in on a short leash beside Rubi, attached to the pack saddle. It was important to keep him safe when we got into traffic and people for the first time. He has known only a quiet field for the past two months of his baby donk life. This was going to be ‘the Big City’. By the way, for blog followers, the pack saddle is the usual one worn by Matilde, but Rubi cannot manage the big leather pannier bags as she is too small. They thud against her legs and may cause bruising. So I have used my bicycle pannier bags today for the first time. They are quite handy for a day outing.
Finally we arrived at the Moli in Finestrat for a well earned pint of beer and lunch. Jeremie the French chef at the Moli is delighted when I tell him my blog will be great publicity for the Moli. I get at least thirty seven hits on a good day, most of them from Australia. He gets twelve customers in the Moli on a good day, so obviously he is thrilled that Australians will see the advertisement for the Moli.
Blogging aside, the presence of my donkeys attracts more customers. He loves the donkeys. While we are there at least five people who stopped to pat the donkeys also stopped to have a drink at the Moli. Job done. The donkeys support the local economy.