A donkey trekking isn’t exactly the birthday gift of every girl’s dreams but for me it was just the perfect gift.
When I glimpsed the “Burrotrek” sign (burro is the Spanish for “donkey”) on Panos’ present, the excitement brought a twinkle to my eyes!
Our starting point would be Garriguella.
The previous night we went by train from Barcelona to Vilajuiga where we booked a bungalow in this Vell Empordà camping. We even convinced the camping’s owner to pick us up at the station.
Since it was raining cats, dogs and donkeys, it was the right decision.
We spent the night in a bungalow with the pleasant sound of thunders and lightnings.
The next day we wake up and start up. We slept in Vilajuiga, but the donkey was waiting for us in Garriguella. After a 49 minutes route we reach our donkey. His name is Mosquito, and it’s love at first sight!
They illustrate us how to fix the lashing, how equally distribute the weight on it, how to handle his tantrum, how to brush him, what is he supposed to eat, how much should he drink, how to convince him to walk, how to clean his paws, how to activate the shepherd at night (at this point I weirdly thought it was an actual shepherd instead of an electrical device).
I don’t need any further explanation because I will speak with it the language of love but I still listen carefully.
While they keep on with their guidelines, I fall in an imaginary world of me buying a donkey all for myself, mentally arranging a way to park it at my place, maybe on the terrace, or just next to the bike. I then think of possible ways to convince Panos that this is a great idea, to convince Panos that we should dedicate our life entirely to donkeys. Then I create a mental vision of a house with cats, dogs and donkeys and I imagine a pacific cohexistance of all of us together. I think of possible donkey-sitters for when we are on holidays, and I eventually consider if I prefer French Pyrenees or Catalan Pyrenees as a location to settle our donkey farm.
Fact is, at the end of our explanation I am already a donkey expert, as you may see from the following video
After we had the itinerary clarified, we get a map and a GPS since we might get lost in the mountain. Let’s start our field trip!
The donkey can’t actually carry us, he will just bring our stuff, so we have to walk all the way.
The plan is to do 15 km on the first day, then sleep at Espolla. I sent the following special request to the hotel we had booked for the night: Please be informed we will bring a donkey with us.
The next day, we would make 15 km more to go back.
We start up and we take 3 hours only to make the first kilometer.
Mosquito does not have the slightest intention of walking. He hates the puddles. He hates us. And while hating us, he eats 36 billions tons of grass.
We are stuck.
After countless attempts of taking it by fair means, we bump into an old lady who nudges him with a walking stick and he starts moving fast. Nice move grandma!
Initially we think of getting a stick as well but then we feel too guilty to touch him, he is too sweet so we inexorabily accept the idea he will do what he wants with us for the entire weekend.
At some point it starts raining and Mosquito puts on a very sad face.
We have a solution: we put a raincoat on him.
We get to Espolla in late evening. Right out the front door of our hotel, Mosquito celebrates the arrival with a 20kg poop.
The not-too-nice owner gives me a plastic bag and asks me to find a solution.
Panos runs away with the donkey, I am left alone in a sea of shit that I shovel by myself in the rain.
(That could be an interesting indie movie shot.)
We manage to leave Mosquito in a kind of stable, we activate the electrical shepherd.
We go to have dinner, alone and confused, donkey-less.
We get up very early (11 AM) and reconcile with the hotelier using up all his cheese stock for the winter.
We go find Mosquito that welcome us, walks literally towards us and even rubs his head on our shoulders.
Panos is also falling in love with Mosquito. I imagine a future full of donkeys.
We start again our route.
On the second day we get bog down in a pond.
Mosquito again doesn’t have the slightest intention of moving on. The water reaches the top of my knees.
I manage to shoot 6 video of Panos democratically explaining (in Greek) to the donkey all the good reasons to proceed.
We give up and change our route.
I find out bamboo leaves are addictive for Mosquito, so I attract it until the end this way.
We even manage to cross a big puddle, in which the donkey throws me without hesitation, at the first feeling of danger.
I end the day covered in mud, but happy. When we get to this house, Mosquito starts braying like crazy.
We say goodbye hoping, from our side, to see him very soon, and from his side, to see us never again.