So the virtues of living on the trail.. Patience ! One must wait - if the other has to stop get off & adjust their load, one must be patient & then Tolerance ! - when this happens time & time again.. & humour ! - when whilst one is waiting you think, well I might as well put my so & so in the thingamy & the other says Ok I'm ready & you say hang on ! & we dont get anywhere !
But once were in the zone & the horses have taken to a comfortable jog, heads down, us in our own dream lands..we can lap up the K's. The track & road routes we've moved onto instead of the GR7 obstacle course are wonderful at first... you know Spanish mountain/countryside roads are all like that opening scene in The Italian job (where he gets blown up in the tunnel) long winding & picturesque, like gliding, with no other cars on the road... But now we kind of miss the wilderness.
Our next stop was near the town of Millares, where
we became quickly famous, having hidden our packs in undergrowth & riding free of saddlebags up to find the local bar (an exciting new development in tactics !) every single person - and I'm talking about maybe 10 of them, as they arrived at their daily local said ' Wow ! Horses, we haven't seen horses here for, let me see, at least 10 years ! Not kidding, they all said exactly that. In Spanish of course.. But we were like, astonished - incredulous! But it had to be true, cars stopped, people got out, phones, photos etc etc, but hardly anyone dared to actually touch the horses - one woman stood nearby ish holding her dog which by facial expression was clearly petrified !!
As we rode away through town after coffee in the same bar next morning, the streets were lined with smiling faces in doorways.. Wierdly royal type feelings again, but it's nice to bring something different along !!
We had to plan a delivery of Scoot boots, timing our arrival in Buñol to collect them & we got here too early ! We are camped just across the river from the town, lots of grass here for the horses, a few friendly passers by..
Yesterday I was invited into our temporary nieghbours house by the lovely Harmonia, she wanted to show me the house & share a coffee with her - first her patio with natural waterfall & beautiful plants, then through a door & a massive function room, another door another huge room (I mean hanger size) up a level, a massive pool, half empty & green - giving me a flashback feeling to my childhood where Nana lived at Copthorne house.
I followed as she beckoned me all over the incredibly decieving massive property - she was quick & agile along an open asequia in a dark tunnel with a slippery edge, up & down steep metal stairways - whilst I struggled to keep up (still slightly lame).
All the while at every far point before we turned around she was calling 'Copi wohoo Copi !' with no reply, a dog ? a husband ? She hadn't said. She didn't stop saying all sorts of other things though & repeating herself so it was hard to get a word in ! Until she said 'How old do you think I am ?' to which I thought quicky how to reply with a compliment & said '65? '..She's 78! Over did it slightly ! ..But an amazingly youthful & stunning old lady she is. Still no Copi & I was beginning to wonder if there was one.
Finally, after seeing every corner & running out of spanish words for saying 'Wow !', a shout came from the far end of the olive terrace & a while later Copurnicus appeared, husband of 85 yrs..
Mark was invited down & we sat together in their courtyard discussing almost everything over a very strong shot of coffee with loads of sugar.
They offered their Olive terrace for the horses as it's completely fenced in, but on inspection I pointed out that they'd eat the grape vines - 'Oh sod the grapevines' Copi replied !
Still we've left the horses where they are, which is a lovely big grassy paddock with 3 natural borders & a double line of pretend electric fence.
In the corner there's a small shed belonging to a nice hunter man.. Every night he's been out to shoot wild boar & come back empty handed 😉. Last night we heard the shot & then galloping hooves ! Too light for a horse, so I guess it was the lucky boar. He keeps rabbits in the shed, stinks to high heaven, but even so, he invited me in & put a cute baby rabbit in my arms, how long until it's dinner I asked ?.. 6 months.
So we've found ourselves stuck here for 4 days waiting for the boots & after being a bit annoyed at the hold up, we now see it as perfect for the horses - nearly half way up the aisle, its a great time to stop & properly rest & fill up with grass.
We are mostly cleaning & repairing things.. We've got a lovely set up, tent & tarp under a wide fig tree on the terrace above the horses. It's raining on & off, but when off, it returns to full sun, so kind of perfect really !
As is usual here, none of our temporary nieghbours actually live in their farmhouses, they just come daily to tend to the land & trees.. They tell us to let the horses eat all the grass & where best to get the water, they have offered us much more than we could accept.
Copi bought us a loaf of bread this Sunday morning, just as we were serving up our omelette !
Last night we actually left horses & camp and went to town where they were having a Medieval market & fiesta with bands etc.. Alas we couldn't stay out long (which means you miss everything, as here nothing starts til midnight) & returned to find all was well & just as we sat under our tarp it began to rain.
Our luck this time around is (almost !) as good as it was bad last time.
- After riding away from Bicorp a few days ago we pushed on to make it here for the boot collection, finding ourselves out in the open as far as the eye could see & a storm was coming.. It was getting late & we were looking to stop - rounded a corner to find a picnic area with fuente, grass & a shelter big enough for all of us !
Finally we left Buñol without the boots ! We tipped the post office gal to send them three towns onward because we had to get on.
But we had such fun there ! Had a laugh with Copi & Harmonia over more cafe & sugar, extra funny when 80 year olds surprise you with a naughty joke about the only instrument Copi plays is the Harmoni(c)a..In Spanish you tocar to touch & you tocar to play an instrument.
Hey on Sunday we just went for a ride ! No packs light as feathers happy bouncy horses, naughty horses - Rayo making fun of everything & lets gallop all the way back to Las Alpujarras! But what a place we rode to ! La cueva de Turche with a natural clear lake infront of a cave below a greeny grey rock face, the water aqua-marine. A few people were there to swim & some climbers/absailers were starting off from the cliff top, following the line of the waterfall & splashing down into the lake.
I decided I'd take Rayo in, the lake was big & clear, so you could see the depth, but it was going to be a bit of a show whether I liked it or not & I sat there worrying about doing it.. Then stripped off Rayos tack & my lower half & took centre stage riding in for a swim. People stood up, cameras clicked & there was even clapping! I shrieked when he first launched into a swim ! It took me by surprise, a whole new thing to ride, like being on the merry go round ! - Next time, the sea ! - and Mark & Tio are coming in too.
Last night however, having left our comfortable place in Buñol, we were late & complacent finding a good overnight stop - the locals in told us there was grass at at the Vista Alegre above town, so we had another beer, but when we got there, there wasn't a blade ! And the fuente wasn't running. We went on past as it grew dark finding next to nothing, infact we were on rocks & gorse.. We stopped & I walked off to scout - found a Santiago walking home & then a Vincente, the boss, who more than happily let us stay on a small terrace where the only cover of green grass exsisted, he told us the rest had been poisoned. They gave us more water & we muddled on through in the dark. Can't tell you how difficult & tiring this can be, we're tired upon tired, but I'll tell you what..It is worth it !
Here in this region it's all Carob trees, the ground is littered with dark brown chocolaty treats & the branches are heavy with fat green runner bean looking things, beautiful trees ! I looked them up as a horse fodder (fearing Rayo getting another sugar rush) & they are sugary but high fibre..I kept him from eating too many..they were a god send for Tio on the small terrace, but he kept me awake crunching.
The next morning we had coffee in a bar on the edge of town, we arrived at 10am & all the tables outside were full & had eaten meals & bottles of wine on them ! At 10 in the morning ! Needless to say everyone was very friendly..
Roll on the good times !