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Very impressive walk for a peregrino but I wonder if his companion thought it was a good idea

The focus is on reducing the risk of failure through being well prepared. 2nd ed.
one can also feel sorry for the donkey
Yes, I do feeel that way. I’ve come across people using donkeys and horses as pack animals on the Camino - thankfully very few. If one chooses to walk a long distance but is unable to carry their belongings, or have them transported, there is the option of pushing or pulling a trolley.
 
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The first edition came out in 2003 and has become the go-to-guide for many pilgrims over the years. It is shipping with a Pilgrim Passport (Credential) from the cathedral in Santiago de Compostela.
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Many years ago, I walked with a woman for about a week who brought her donkey to carry her load on the CF. By the time they got to Zubiri, the donkey said," Nope. I've had enough of this," and refused to continue any further. They got to one or two more towns, then the woman rented a horse trailer and drove back to France with her donkey.
*sigh*
 
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The peregrino started his walk in Burgundy, France and passed through Burgos recently. He would like to return home from Santiago following Camino del Norte. While one can appreciate his resilience, one can also feel sorry for the donkey.
I often wonder the same thing when I see this and the uncharitable thought that springs to mind is "oh look, a donkey and an ass". But I'm trying to be less judgie these days 😂. He does look healthy and well cared for though and presumably this owner knows his donkey's limits. I hope so anyway. :)
 
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I agree with you @Shaz Celeste - good points. I too pull myself up sometimes and make best efforts not to be ‘judgie’ as you put it. 😞

I rarely post anything remotely negative or controversial on the forum. I’m more interested in being encouraging and offering information on routes I’ve walked where it might be helpful

In this case it’s something that I find upsetting and I think it’s unnecessary. But … I am also able to understand that many others feel very differently and I respect that. I dont think for a moment that this pilgrim or any others are intending harm to their animals who they probably care for greatly. I don’t judge them to be bad people in any way. These are alll just choices based on our personal views. 🙏
 
Before feeling sorry for the donkey, or even fashionably judging a fellow pilgrim, it may help to inform oneself.

Here goes, in translation:

https://www.leprogres.fr/culture-lo...-de-son-ane-vers-saint-jacques-de-compostelle

On the way to Santiago de Compostela, 4,300 km at the pace of his donkey

At the beginning of November, Hervé Godot left Saint-Symphorien-de-Marmagne (Saône-et-Loire) with his donkey, Compagnon, for a journey of several months towards Santiago de Compostela. He made a stopover in the commune, at the home of Jean-Yves Godart, a pilgrim to Santiago who welcomes pilgrims.


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Why leave at this time?

"I didn't want to walk on a tourist highway. And then it is also a less hot period and more practical for the donkey and for me. I slowly worked on this project, linking the religious, the spiritual and the physical. The age of the retirement allowed me to finalise it.

Who is Compagnon?

"I bought Compagnon for this adventure and to be autonomous. He carries 50 kg and I carry 15 kg in my backpack.

How do your days unfold?

"I had planned to leave for seven months. But I quickly realised that I had to take the donkey into account. I erased all the parameters. I go at the pace of my donkey, respecting a rest day every fortnight. Every evening, I look for a green meadow for my companion and for myself, just the cover of a roof to protect me from the rain. I sleep outside. I guide myself only with the shells that show the way. I eat as often as possible a hot meal in the evening thanks to a small stove.

What about your meeting with Jean-Yves Godart, a pilgrim from the Jenny station?

"I stayed with him for two nights. He gave me some advice from his experience of walking to Santiago with his donkey. It is beneficial and inspiring. He gave me a taste of the good local products, such as the fourme cheese. Just before Saint-Thomas, I stopped in Champdieu for the night, at the Régis family's house. Simple people with a very nice welcome.

How do you feel about the start of your journey?

"Good. The human encounters are magnificent. The landscapes I have crossed are captivating. And I'm not going to complain about the things I've chosen to do.
 
I’ve often wondered how pilgrims with their donkeys fare on the Camino. How difficult is it to find secure overnight accommodation in the form of a stable or barn, farm shed or field, so the donkey is safe, sufficiently fed and watered? At times I imagine it could be a bit difficult, especially near the bigger cities.

It’s a wonderful thing to see them though - a real treat - they’re such beautiful animals.

Back in 2019 on the CF I met the gorgeous Zebulon, a French donkey who walked the CF with his owners Bernard and Christine. We crossed paths several times and it was such a joy to see him and to talk with his owners. He was a working donkey on his owners’ farm. Here he is:

D5B1E3C9-A5A3-4235-A77E-F8F71B77A5DA.jpeg

Cheers from Oz -
Jenny
 
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Hi! I have met this French guy (Hérve) at a bar at Longrono some days ago and I had an interesting conversation with him.
He is very kind and gentle with the donkey: his donkey is a his true friend who lived with him for a long time.

They don't walk many km a day, like 20 km and sometime also less than 20 km, just because the donkey can not walk so much km carrying stuff. About sleeping I admit I don't fully understood what he said (he speaks only french and I was lucky because there was a third person who know French and English and tried to translate).

I would like to remember that donkeys were used for a very long time before machines took hold, so they are used to carry stuffs.
 
TRAVELS WITH MY DONKEY, one Man and his Ass on a Pilgrimage to Santiago by Tim Moore is a delightful account of his frustrating experiences with a willful donkey on his pilgrimage. Mr. Moore humorous experiences and his reflections on the pilgrimage and the history of the pilgrimage are fascinating.
 
TRAVELS WITH MY DONKEY, one Man and his Ass on a Pilgrimage to Santiago by Tim Moore is a delightful account of his frustrating experiences with a willful donkey on his pilgrimage. Mr. Moore humorous experiences and his reflections on the pilgrimage and the history of the pilgrimage are fascinating.
I second this review. A great book and truly respectful of donkeys
 
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Yes, I do feeel that way. I’ve come across people using donkeys and horses as pack animals on the Camino - thankfully very few. If one chooses to walk a long distance but is unable to carry their belongings, or have them transported, there is the option of pushing or pulling a trolley.
I have seen people with donkeys and riding horses and both were a lot of trouble for everyone. Always a boarding problem and a difficulty in big towns.
 
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Waaaay off topic. Maybe. My sister and I once had a donkey and his dog pal keep us company on the Sanabres. The dog took lead and would wait at each junction and make the turn ahead of us to show us the way. The donkey took the back position and would pretend he wasn't there when I turned to look at him. This went on for a LONG TIME. Eventually the owner showed up in his little truck and made the donkey turn back. Imagine our surprise when the dog was not called back, obviously not belonging to the donkey's owner. We still laugh about the dog and donkey who made their own Camino for an afternoon!!!
 

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I have seen people with donkeys and riding horses and both were a lot of trouble for everyone. Always a boarding problem and a difficulty in big towns.
This comment makes me sad. Horses and other pack animals are ancient companions on pilgrimages and it always warms my heart to see caballeros and folks with donkeys on the way. People rushing for and reserving beds make a lot more 'trouble for everyone' than these gentle animals and the folks who lovingly care for them as they move through the experience together. The spirit of animals is a nice reminder sometimes to those of us who carry our rushed and entitled mentality with us when we depart - may we leave it on the trail as we learn and grow.
 
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In general, I think that people who worry about the welfare of donkeys and horses who are walking on Camino are well intentioned but probably don't have much experience with equines and so don't understand the partnership between equine and human and the care that each has for the other.

Certainly I have seen equines abused but fortunately it is rare and the two that I had the good fortune to meet while on my Camino were magnificent and were obviously very well cared for and enjoying the journey.
 
I would like to remember that donkeys were used for a very long time before machines took hold, so they are used to carry stuffs.
Yes, every time I have felt sorry for donkeys and pack horses carrying huge loads up mountains and around precarious rocky trails, I remind myself of this.

I second this review. A great book and truly respectful of donkeys
I also read this book and had some laughs. Donkeys are often called stubborn, but they can also love their owners and I hear make often great pets. I think they are adorable and cute. I am lucky to have one boarded near the trail by my home. Her name is June and comes to the fence when I call. I'm sure it's had nothing to do with the carrots or apples I've given her in the past.🙄
 
A few years ago I met a family, walking to Santiago with two donkeys - parents and two small children, ages I think about 2 and 4. Each donkey had a side pander - a deep basket in which a child could sit when not wanting to walk. The donkeys also carried a tent, but did not look at all overloaded. The parents both had backpacks. The family used lodgings when available and when there was somewhere suitable for the donkeys overnight. The father said they had settled upon doing about 12 or 15 km a day, as that was what suited everyone. It gave the donkeys plenty of time to graze, the children to play and the adults to organise food and washing. Everyone, including donkeys, looked happy and healthy.
 
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I second this review. A great book and truly respectful of donkeys
This book is the motivation for walking my first Camino. I picked it up as part of a bundle from a thrift shop, having run out of books on a holiday many years ago. I had never even heard of the Camino. It is a funny, heartwarming read and I would recommend it to anyone with an interest in the Camino. It is also published under the alternative name 'Spanish Steps'.
 
As someone who lets dogs pull a sled sometimes, I would never judge a person who lets an animal do the work it is bred for as long as he takes proper care of the animal and knows the limitations. All domestic animals have originally been bred for a purpose. It always depends on how you treat the animal and if the breed (and the individual) is up for the job.
A donkey taken care of in the proper way by someone who understands the needs and psychology of his animal will have a very enjoyable life – in fact a much much better life than most cows bred for semi-industrial milk production or chicken on almost every chicken farm on every continent.
Most animal misery lies not where we think we see it, but where it remains invisible to us as consumers.
And no, I am far from being vegan, I am not even vegetarian - just in case you wondered.
 
Many years ago, I walked with a woman for about a week who brought her donkey to carry her load on the CF. By the time they got to Zubiri, the donkey said," Nope. I've had enough of this," and refused to continue any further. They got to one or two more towns, then the woman rented a horse trailer and drove back to France with her donkey.
*sigh*
To be fair the descent to Zubiri is one of the most difficult on the whole CF even for humans but equines are very bad at going downhill. And this road to Zubiri is all down for most of the day. Ad up and down over Pyrenees the previous days. No wonder the donkey rebelled.
 
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Yes, every time I have felt sorry for donkeys and pack horses carrying huge loads up mountains and around precarious rocky trails, I remind myself of this.


My inclination to support the example at the top of the post is based on someone who reportedly takes good care of his donkey and does not ride it or overload it. I’ve seen too many examples of very large people riding imperfectly cared-for animals to believe that it’s always a good thing. Walking with a pack-animal just feels better to me.
 
Hi! I have met this French guy (Hérve) at a bar at Longrono some days ago and I had an interesting conversation with him. He is very kind and gentle with the donkey: his donkey is a his true friend who lived with him for a long time. They don't walk many km a day, like 20 km and sometime also less than 20 km,
Great to read that you met pilgrim Hervé and had a chance to chat with him. I guess that's him in the videoclip in Pamplona?

One can see how slowly they walk - a news article in French says that they walk at 2 km/h, that the pilgrim does indeed carry a backpack and that he has some difficulties with walking, he seems to limp a bit ... for some older Spaniards this is probably not such an unusual sight as they may still remember the time when they saw pack animals like this on their country roads.

 
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This is apparently a reference to a song called Con mi burrito sabanero, voy camino de Bélen. Known apparently to everybody in the world who grew up as kid since the 1972 Christmas season. Or, I guess, everybody in the Spanish-speaking part of the world. I've never heard it before but once you listened to it, it is difficult to get out of your mind ...

 
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