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LIVE from the Camino Two donkeys, two dogs and my wife's cat

Nomad Pack

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
French, North, Original and from Andorra through the Pyrenees.
All With mi Burro
#1
So I've been having a small dilemma recently as to which direction to go. I've been waiting for my donkey foul to grow up somewhat before embarking on another long distance trek. He is now eight months old and turning out to have an excellent character like his mother. My plan was to take the Ruta de la Lana and head south to join my wife who has just started a mountain guide course but now the universe has conspired to keep me in the north by offering me another summer season of chasing cows around the Pico's. Its a shame for me as I was really looking forward to going somewhere new. But I now have a new house to live in just off the Camino Norte and right next to the Pico's so Monday or Tuesday I will be setting off on my shortest Camino ever. Roughly 150 kilometers. About 70 kilometers of making my own way through the mountains from Ramalas de la Victoria and the rest along the Camino del Norte where I plan to connect onto it just after Santander. This will be the third trek for our foal, I've taken him on several excursions already for him to gain some experience but this will be new for him as he will have his first new home at the end. Vannii the donkey, the dogs and Buddha the cat have already travelled most of France and half of Spain with me so everybody knows their role but now with an added donkey and my wife absent I'm sure that it will be interesting. I'll try to keep this updated as make my way, there's no chance of the solar charger doing much so depends what bars I find along the way to recharge the batteries. And get drunk of course, it makes the winter camping experience much more enjoyable.
 

Nomad Pack

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
French, North, Original and from Andorra through the Pyrenees.
All With mi Burro
#6
So I'm all packed and ready, just got to go and drop off the chickens to a neighbour and so long as the world doesn't suddenly end I will leave either this evening or first thing in the morning. Looks like its gonna be bad weather for the next week with plenty of clouds, some rain and colder temperatures. Just my luck but we will all face it none the less. I only expect to be on the road for a week or so but that will all depend now on how hard the rain decides to be. If it pours down then we usually find the nearest church roof to hide under. Pictures will start coming soon, forgive me if I don't write too much at first as I need the battery for the map on the first few days crossing the mountain's.
Wish the sun to stay shining for me
 
Camino(s) past & future
French, North, Original and from Andorra through the Pyrenees.
All With mi Burro
#12
Thank you kinky for the blue skies. Makes me dream. Sorry no photos today. It rained most last night and most of the day so we are all wet along with most of the gear. Sleeping bag and clothes excluded. Buddha is the only one dry and now curled up under the sleeping bag. Smoking a big joint, eat some food and sleep is all left for today. Goodnight lucky people in your warm, dry houses.
 

Anamiri

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances
#14
Definitely you, I love this thread. Im in awe of such an undertaking. Love these photos, cant belive how chill the cat is. I plan to walk the length of NZ sometime in the next few years. And wondering how to take my dogs along with me.
In the absence of a donkey I settled on the idea of a hiking trailer. (They are big dogs need a lot of food) . will that work?
 
Last edited:
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances 2005,2008,2010,2015.camino Portuguese 2007 .primativo2012.camino Norte 2009.sjpdp to finisterre and muxia 2007. Le Puy to jpdp 2006. Via francigena vercelli to Lucca 2014. Lucca to Rome 2016.
#21
More to come, found a bar for the night and a clothing cleaning house (can't spell it in Spanish). Will settle the animals then write about the past two days and get drunk at the bar which don't close till ten 😀
This really is a fantastic thread
Can't get enough of these photos
Beautiful animals ...more photos of the cat please!
Best wishes for your journey
Annette
 
Camino(s) past & future
French, North, Original and from Andorra through the Pyrenees.
All With mi Burro
#22
Definitely you, I love this thread. Im in awe of such an undertaking. Love these photos, cant belive how chill he cat is. I plan to walk the length of NZ sometime in the next few years. And wondering how to take my dogs along with me.
In the absence of a donkey I settled on the idea of a hiking trailer. (They are big dogs need a lot of food) . will that work?
Because my dogs are so big is one of the reasons I decided to get Vannii in the first place. My German shepherd Baissier doesn't like other dogs and Puppy my mastiff is very protective and doesn't like people coming too close. Although baissier always listens to me, Puppy being a mastiff will listen but is extremely strong and so is much easier to control whilst he's tied to Vannii. There is also the dog food, Puppy is now three years old and weighs just over 90kg. More than me. He carries up to 8kg of dog cookies when full which will last both dogs around 4-5 days if I share my food with them. I had baissier free and wearing her muzzle for the past two days, she's already had to chase away a couple of dogs but unable to harm them but the muzzle started rubbing her too much so I just tie her next to puppy when I see another dog now. She spends her day shepherding Nomad (the little donkey) and keep everyone together.
A hiking trailer may work. I suppose it depends on how strong the dog is and how likely he will pull it sideways. I built a cart during last summer for Vannii which I will be bringing to the new house this summer when my wife comes back. Perfect for attaching large dogs
IMG_20181114_152530.jpg
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances 2015;
Norte/Primitivo 2016;
Frances 2017;
Le Puy 2018;
Portuguese/FishermanTr. 2019
#23
How very interesting, but it all sounds like a lot of work taking care of your little & big
4-legged friends! Are you able to curl up and sleep in that cute cart if it's raining at night?
 
Camino(s) past & future
French, North, Original and from Andorra through the Pyrenees.
All With mi Burro
#24
OK, so our first day was high up along the mountain ridge, we left the house around midday, I usually expect to be off sooner than what's real. I had to close up the abandoned house I've been living in these past 18 months, turn off the water etc plus check everything one last time. Then saddle Vannii, put puppy's backpack on and strap everything on Vanni. The whole packing process takes about 45 minutes on my own from when I wake up so I'm always improving the process. I have to water everyone, takes the dogs for their morning toilet and Buddha too then I'll allow myself 10 minutes to smoke before starting the days walk. So we walked up to the top of the mountain to the path that goes along the ridge and after a five hour accent and many meetings with the local free cows we realised that we wouldn't find the flat spot I wanted so we put the hammock between a couple of ancient oaks. Vannii and nomad had a good spot a hundred meters away. During the night it rained and rained, several times cows came too close for the dogs comfort and the cows found out that wolves still live in the mountain. Everything and everyone was still dry by morning, the donkeys had hidden under a tree and the dogs under the tarpaulin. Buddha doesn't much like the hammock for it swings and makes him feel unnatural but the first splash of the nights rain had him jumping in for the night.
The next day we carried along the 15km of mountain ridge and within three hours the rain started again. Light at first but as we turned onto the other side of the mountain we were hit by the full force of the wind, rain and hail. The donkeys and dogs are tough and deal with it whilst Buddha hides under the plastic to stay dry and occasionally meows his complaints. We finally got to the road we were heading for by 4pm but we were all demoralized and lack off a good camping spot made it worst, the pegs wouldn't penetrate the ground so we had the tent erected by an elaborate display of bungee cords. Only my sleeping bag and clothes were still dry and the dogs were shivering until I sacrificed my only dry towel to dry their fur..... I finish writing after another beer
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances 2005,2008,2010,2015.camino Portuguese 2007 .primativo2012.camino Norte 2009.sjpdp to finisterre and muxia 2007. Le Puy to jpdp 2006. Via francigena vercelli to Lucca 2014. Lucca to Rome 2016.
#25
OK, so our first day was high up along the mountain ridge, we left the house around midday, I usually expect to be off sooner than what's real. I had to close up the abandoned house I've been living in these past 18 months, turn off the water etc plus check everything one last time. Then saddle Vannii, put puppy's backpack on and strap everything on Vanni. The whole packing process takes about 45 minutes on my own from when I wake up so I'm always improving the process. I have to water everyone, takes the dogs for their morning toilet and Buddha too then I'll allow myself 10 minutes to smoke before starting the days walk. So we walked up to the top of the mountain to the path that goes along the ridge and after a five hour accent and many meetings with the local free cows we realised that we wouldn't find the flat spot I wanted so we put the hammock between a couple of ancient oaks. Vannii and nomad had a good spot a hundred meters away. During the night it rained and rained, several times cows came too close for the dogs comfort and the cows found out that wolves still live in the mountain. Everything and everyone was still dry by morning, the donkeys had hidden under a tree and the dogs under the tarpaulin. Buddha doesn't much like the hammock for it swings and makes him feel unnatural but the first splash of the nights rain had him jumping in for the night.
The next day we carried along the 15km of mountain ridge and within three hours the rain started again. Light at first but as we turned onto the other side of the mountain we were hit by the full force of the wind, rain and hail. The donkeys and dogs are tough and deal with it whilst Buddha hides under the plastic to stay dry and occasionally meows his complaints. We finally got to the road we were heading for by 4pm but we were all demoralized and lack off a good camping spot made it worst, the pegs wouldn't penetrate the ground so we had the tent erected by an elaborate display of bungee cords. Only my sleeping bag and clothes were still dry and the dogs were shivering until I sacrificed my only dry towel to dry their fur..... I finish writing after another beer
This....and your life in The Picos would surely make a great book to read?

Beer!!.....are you carrying beer as well?
Still.....the load does get lighter as you move along!!
 
Camino(s) past & future
French, North, Original and from Andorra through the Pyrenees.
All With mi Burro
#26
The day after was just a 12km walk down the mountain road praying it wouldn't rain which fortunately it didn't. Nothing much to report, got a good view of Santander and my path for the next few days. We found the hermita around 4:30 so enjoyed a cosy roof to sleep under whilst it rained during the night. Now most of my things are dry again. I was giving some family entertainment for the house opposite whilst unpacking but they weren't brave enough to come and say hello or offer me water whilst they watched me dunk the bucket into the nearby stream. Buddha decided to wander off in search of females to impregnate and came running in during the night all excited, I had to jump the wall to catch him before he wondered off again so I put him on the rope for the rest off the night. He always comes back in the morning and I like him to have his freedom to hunt as after sleeping all day on Vannii he would be restless all night. He's very much a night cat and knows the routine when were travelling so I don't worry much about him. Today we only done 10km, we stopped for a coffee 2km from where we slept andI met a cyclist I know who was surprised to see me and we talked for a while then we found a roof with long grass next to it and a bar 50 meters away, with it raining again tonight such perfect circumstances are not turned down. Little by little we make our way, in the summer its easy to do 20km plus but with the early nights of winter we just don't have the time to walk as much as we would like. Had a cafe before leaving the bar and just spoke with a man who stopped his car to check the donkeys thinking they had escaped from somewhere. I'm now in the sleeping bag in my little unused building, Buddha is curled up on top of me, baissier lying beside me and puppy at my head. The donkeys are happy with all their grass and are not bothered by a little rain which has actually just stopped again. Tomorrow I'll be at the bar at 9am for a quick breakfast and then I'm taking a small road that goes round the northern part of the natural park below Santander. Then will we cut across country and pick up the Camino del norte before torrelavega. Im next to solares now, I could pick up the Camino from here but I would be adding a lot of kilometers just to walk through urban areas. There's plenty of churches along the way I've chosen so hopefully I can do the rest of the trip without having to use the tent. Once I'm on the Camino I expect I should make quicker progress without having to bother with stopping to check the maps. Buenas noches, I'll post some more photos soon
 
Camino(s) past & future
French, North, Original and from Andorra through the Pyrenees.
All With mi Burro
#27
My house for the night. There's a poor horse in a muddy field right out side the entrance, I was stroking him and in the dark I touched the fence and just shared a high voltage shock with him. Felt it travel from my leg through my arm and like an explosion in my fingers as the energy hit the horse. IMG_20190119_163827.jpg IMG_20190119_163938.jpg
 
Camino(s) past & future
French, North, Original and from Andorra through the Pyrenees.
All With mi Burro
#28
How very interesting, but it all sounds like a lot of work taking care of your little & big
4-legged friends! Are you able to curl up and sleep in that cute cart if it's raining at night?
I built it with that exactly in mind, just big enough to lie down in with some space. Had to build it as light weight as possible. I wanted a way to travel where I didn't have to pack every morning and look for a roof when it rains. I can and do camp in the rain but its so much extra work and with the wagon Vannii can pull much more than she can carry so I wouldn't be worrying so much about the weight. The animals aren't much work, they mostly behave themselves and know what's expected. We all have much experience doing this together so now its easy. All thanks to how perfect Vannii is.
 
Camino(s) past & future
French, North, Original and from Andorra through the Pyrenees.
All With mi Burro
#29
This....and your life in The Picos would surely make a great book to read?

Beer!!.....are you carrying beer as well?
Still.....the load does get lighter as you move along!!
Don't need to carry beer, here the bars are everywhere. Got 5 different types of cheese from the market though, salami, chorizo, boiled eggs from my chickens before I left. And a quarter leg of iberica ham, some chocolate etc etc. Me and the meat eaters of the pack never go hungry, and thankfully grass grows everywhere so vannii and nomad are easily fed.
If I had the patience to write a book plus someone to help I think I would. I'm autistic and spent my childhood in a special boarding school in Oxfordshire, I've tried writing about that before but I find it really hard figuring out how to express my feelings into words so end up getting no where.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances 2005,2008,2010,2015.camino Portuguese 2007 .primativo2012.camino Norte 2009.sjpdp to finisterre and muxia 2007. Le Puy to jpdp 2006. Via francigena vercelli to Lucca 2014. Lucca to Rome 2016.
#30
Don't need to carry beer, here the bars are everywhere. Got 5 different types of cheese from the market though, salami, chorizo, boiled eggs from my chickens before I left. And a quarter leg of iberica ham, some chocolate etc etc. Me and the meat eaters of the pack never go hungry, and thankfully grass grows everywhere so vannii and nomad are easily fed.
If I had the patience to write a book plus someone to help I think I would. I'm autistic and spent my childhood in a special boarding school in Oxfordshire, I've tried writing about that before but I find it really hard figuring out how to express my feelings into words so end up getting no where.
Well Nomad,
So far you're not doing too badly with the writing.....and the way you describe your love for the animals
And.....it's easy and interesting reading without being long winded

And as they say...if at first you don't succeed..then try, try again
Best wishes
Annette
 

KinkyOne

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
I'am not perfect, but I'm always myself!!!
#31
Because my dogs are so big is one of the reasons I decided to get Vannii in the first place. My German shepherd Baissier doesn't like other dogs and Puppy my mastiff is very protective and doesn't like people coming too close. Although baissier always listens to me, Puppy being a mastiff will listen but is extremely strong and so is much easier to control whilst he's tied to Vannii. There is also the dog food, Puppy is now three years old and weighs just over 90kg. More than me. He carries up to 8kg of dog cookies when full which will last both dogs around 4-5 days if I share my food with them. I had baissier free and wearing her muzzle for the past two days, she's already had to chase away a couple of dogs but unable to harm them but the muzzle started rubbing her too much so I just tie her next to puppy when I see another dog now. She spends her day shepherding Nomad (the little donkey) and keep everyone together.
A hiking trailer may work. I suppose it depends on how strong the dog is and how likely he will pull it sideways. I built a cart during last summer for Vannii which I will be bringing to the new house this summer when my wife comes back. Perfect for attaching large dogs
View attachment 51034
It reminds me of Guenther's cart. I met him just after Astorga.

0754-Dieter after Murias de Rechivaldo (San Justo de la Vega-El Ganso, 14.07.14).jpg

0757-Dieter coming to Sta.Catalina de Somoza (San Justo de la Vega-El Ganso, 14.07.14).jpg
 
Camino(s) past & future
Norte, Primitivo, Plata, Salvador Torres
#33
Just loving your journey and sensing the great feeling of freedom you are experiencing. I also love your attitude to it all, it makes me a bit envious as I think of all the planning I tend to do! Just go, will be my new Camino motto ' thanks!
Agree wholeheartedly!

But why are you going at this time of the year when later would be much easier? Have I missed something you said earlier?

Two more questions: When you sleep in the hammock in the rain how do you keep dry - you mentioned several times, I think, that everything was wet, but your clothes and sleeping bag.

And would it be possible - eventually, when you have finished - to have a map of the way you went in the mountains?

Thank you for detailed reports! And buen camino!
 
Camino(s) past & future
French, North, Original and from Andorra through the Pyrenees.
All With mi Burro
#34
Agree wholeheartedly!

But why are you going at this time of the year when later would be much easier? Have I missed something you said earlier?

Two more questions: When you sleep in the hammock in the rain how do you keep dry - you mentioned several times, I think, that everything was wet, but your clothes and sleeping bag.

And would it be possible - eventually, when you have finished - to have a map of the way you went in the mountains?

Thank you for detailed reports! And buen camino!
Travelling in the winter makes no difference to me, its not really cold or I'm just so used to it that it no longer bothers me. But for this little travel its the lure of a real house, I've been living in an abandoned house me and my wife claimed after our travel from Andorra through the winter of 2016. I've lived there for 18 months, no hot water, generator for power etc and done a lot of work repairing it but as I work as a shepherd and the picos are too far from the house my friend from Germany offered me his holiday house near Llanes.
I have a couple of nylon sheets so with the bungee cords I fashion a waterproof shelter over the hammock. That way I stay dry and the dogs as well.
Winter here in Cantabria is not really ever cold just wet. I prefer it to be freezing cold and dry. The dogs can't sleep in the tent if they are wet but if they are dry then everyone is curled up in the tent together. Takes some fighting for space as Puppy will try and stretch to claim more space. At least that way we are all warm. But I have good clothes to, a merino wool sailors jumper, and other specific winter gear. I also have my wife's sleeping bag with me as well so with two winter sleeping bags its impossible to be cold.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances 2015;
Norte/Primitivo 2016;
Frances 2017;
Le Puy 2018;
Portuguese/FishermanTr. 2019
#40
I am from the USA and here we would not be allowed to take over an abandoned house as it would still be someone's else's property. I am fascinated by your interesting life you have been writing about and wonder if you are living "under the radar" so to speak, have permisdion from property owner or if you must register with the Spanish government to do this. I'm just curious, not trying to be critical at all. ☺
 
Camino(s) past & future
Norte, Primitivo, Plata, Salvador Torres
#42
Travelling in the winter makes no difference to me, its not really cold or I'm just so used to it that it no longer bothers me. But for this little travel its the lure of a real house, I've been living in an abandoned house me and my wife claimed after our travel from Andorra through the winter of 2016. I've lived there for 18 months, no hot water, generator for power etc and done a lot of work repairing it but as I work as a shepherd and the picos are too far from the house my friend from Germany offered me his holiday house near Llanes.
I have a couple of nylon sheets so with the bungee cords I fashion a waterproof shelter over the hammock. That way I stay dry and the dogs as well.
Winter here in Cantabria is not really ever cold just wet. I prefer it to be freezing cold and dry. The dogs can't sleep in the tent if they are wet but if they are dry then everyone is curled up in the tent together. Takes some fighting for space as Puppy will try and stretch to claim more space. At least that way we are all warm. But I have good clothes to, a merino wool sailors jumper, and other specific winter gear. I also have my wife's sleeping bag with me as well so with two winter sleeping bags its impossible to be cold.

Thank you for the explanations! Will continue to follow you on your journey! Bon courage!
 
Camino(s) past & future
French, North, Original and from Andorra through the Pyrenees.
All With mi Burro
#43
I am from the USA and here we would not be allowed to take over an abandoned house as it would still be someone's else's property. I am fascinated by your interesting life you have been writing about and wonder if you are living "under the radar" so to speak, have permisdion from property owner or if you must register with the Spanish government to do this. I'm just curious, not trying to be critical at all. ☺
Hmm.. I don't even care about the "radar" anymore. The Spanish only seem to use the law for money and as I don't have any I guess that's why they leave me alone. Haha. And the inheritance system here is just stupid which is why so many houses are abandoned with the "owners" long gone. My house was on communal land so the law meant nobody could buy it. The roof was still OK but I had to strip the inside and rebuild. Made some good use of some of the local eucalyptus that plague's the north. I'll tell you more about it when I have power.
 
Camino(s) past & future
French, North, Original and from Andorra through the Pyrenees.
All With mi Burro
#45
So done quite well today, not much battery left so will be brief for now. I'll write more about it later. Polcia local stopped asking me for a photo. I love how the police in Spain are the complete opposite of my native English Constable's. He was completely casual, shook my hand then asked me the usual questions about my journey, took some photos then got too close for Puppy's liking and got barked at. They just laughed and said that's what mastiffs are for. I've gone past more than 50 mastiffs today barking at us. Camping on the side of a small road near parbyon, using the electric fence tonight to stop nomad sleeping on the road, little portable fence energizer that's weighs only a kilo. And I'm camped right next to them. I'll take a picture in the morning. Rain has been on and off so nothing that stops us. Picked up Camino signs in Liano and it seems to be an alternative route going to acre which was where I was going anyway so I guess I'm on the Camino now 😁 will update again when have more power. Good night
 

KinkyOne

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
I'am not perfect, but I'm always myself!!!
#46
So done quite well today, not much battery left so will be brief for now. I'll write more about it later. Polcia local stopped asking me for a photo. I love how the police in Spain are the complete opposite of my native English Constable's. He was completely casual, shook my hand then asked me the usual questions about my journey, took some photos then got too close for Puppy's liking and got barked at. They just laughed and said that's what mastiffs are for. I've gone past more than 50 mastiffs today barking at us. Camping on the side of a small road near parbyon, using the electric fence tonight to stop nomad sleeping on the road, little portable fence energizer that's weighs only a kilo. And I'm camped right next to them. I'll take a picture in the morning. Rain has been on and off so nothing that stops us. Picked up Camino signs in Liano and it seems to be an alternative route going to acre which was where I was going anyway so I guess I'm on the Camino now 😁 will update again when have more power. Good night
I'm following you with great interest although I would never undertake such a travel with (so much) animals. Too demanding, too stressful and waaay too much responsibility ;)

@Camino Chris is asking interesting questions so I'll ask something else. Did the dogs and donkeys at any moment get into "dispute"?

Stay well, Nomad!!!
 

Anamiri

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances
#47
Because my dogs are so big is one of the reasons I decided to get Vannii in the first place. My German shepherd Baissier doesn't like other dogs and Puppy my mastiff is very protective and doesn't like people coming too close. Although baissier always listens to me, Puppy being a mastiff will listen but is extremely strong and so is much easier to control whilst he's tied to Vannii. There is also the dog food, Puppy is now three years old and weighs just over 90kg. More than me. He carries up to 8kg of dog cookies when full which will last both dogs around 4-5 days if I share my food with them. I had baissier free and wearing her muzzle for the past two days, she's already had to chase away a couple of dogs but unable to harm them but the muzzle started rubbing her too much so I just tie her next to puppy when I see another dog now. She spends her day shepherding Nomad (the little donkey) and keep everyone together.
A hiking trailer may work. I suppose it depends on how strong the dog is and how likely he will pull it sideways. I built a cart during last summer for Vannii which I will be bringing to the new house this summer when my wife comes back. Perfect for attaching large dogs
View attachment 51034
Gosh I was meaning to tow the trailer myself. never thought about hitching it to a dog although my big one weighs more than me.
There's a thread somewhere on this forum about small hiking trailers
 
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