Wednesday, 4 November 2020

Modern Day Muleteers

Pilgrims with mules, Indre et Loire, France. Photo by Loire Valley Time Travel.

On 10 October I heard clip-clopping down our street and looked up to see a pair of mules and a pair of what I assumed were pilgrims passing our front window. I rushed out and snapped a photo of them disappearing down the street.

Pilgrims with mules, Indre et Loire, France. Photo by Loire Valley Time Travel.

The next day, returning to Le Grand Pressigny at the end of a 10 kilometre walk with the hiking club, I was thrilled to discover the 'pilgrims' and their mules at the café on the market place. The mules were snacking idly on linden tree leaves and the 'pilgrims' were drinking coffee.

Pilgrims with mules, Indre et Loire, France. Photo by Loire Valley Time Travel.
 

They are clearly well used to people coming up to them and wanting to know who they are and what they are doing. It turns out that they had started in the Pyrenees and were walking to Brittany. They aren't really pilgrims, at least not in the religious sense. I didn't manage to get to the bottom of why they were doing it, nor did I catch their names. 

Pilgrims with mules, Indre et Loire, France. Photo by Loire Valley Time Travel.

The mules, on the other hand, are called Amulette and Flora. Amulette is smaller than Flora because Flora's mother was a big Breton draught horse breed. The mules will require reshoeing four times over the course of the journey. I wish now I had asked all sorts of other questions about how they managed to find places to stop, how they found food for the mules and how many kilometres they did per day. The mules were charming creatures, very well behaved and placid.

Pilgrims with mules, Indre et Loire, France. Photo by Loire Valley Time Travel.

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9 comments:

Le Pré de la Forge said...

What a lovely idea... they look young enough for a bold adventure!

Ken Broadhurst said...

Our new neighbors keep goats — two of them. Yesterday for the first time they took the goats on a walk out into the vineyard. I don't know why.

chm said...

Do they ride the mules or do they use them as "porte-baggage?

Susan said...

I think they are just pack animals.

Susan said...

I would assume in their thirties.

Susan said...

I went on one of these big public randonnées once and someone brought their goat.

Simon said...

They are saddled with stirrups, so I assume they could be ridden.

bonnie poppe said...

An elderly vigneron friend told me that mules were the best in the old days to work the vines, better than donkeys or horses, because they were strong and calm. In my old village, Roquebrun, there was a woman who regularly took her sheep (1) and donkey for a walk, what a sight.
bonnie now in provence

Susan said...

Now that you mention it, it is interesting that horses are making a comeback in the vineyards, but I've never seen anyone using mules.

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