It seems a lot of travel bloggers have taken donkey rides recently! Perhaps donkeys have become *the* new cool (albeit smelly) way for us to get around?
Take for example, Ayngelina from Bacon is Magic who just took a trek that landed her on a beautiful beach in Hawaii. Then there was myself and a bunch of others who did the exact same thing while attending a post TBU conference “Sport and Nature” themed blog trip in Umbria, Italy.
Yet instead of riding through a hot, lush, tropical paradise like Ayngelina, our tough group of travel bloggers woke up early (despite suffering from
hang-overs exhaustion) to “brave” a cold, dark and windy spring day in Monti Sibillini National Park.
As our bus drove us along the long winding road up to our destination within the park, we were treated to stunning views of the Norcia Valley. Finally we reached Castelluccio Plateau which sits at 1500 meters above sea level.
It felt like we had reached the ends of the earth! Stark, beautiful, lonely, surreal. Is it a mere coincidence that the “Gorge of Hell“ is one of the primary attractions within the park?
We stopped for a mandatory photo opportunity and then continued on to meet-up with Roberto from La Mulattiera and of course his crew of donkey friends.
Oh and there were horse and sheep too!
It tuned out that a young donkey named Daphne was to be my trusty companion for our excursion. This is me getting ready to jump on board for the ride.
Why the camera you ask? Well, when on blog trips like this you have to be prepared to be treated like the star you are and it may happen that paparazzi follows you everywhere. Even when you are wearing no make-up, suffering from lack of sleep and wearing several layers of clothes.
Finally I was set to go! Daphne and I were going to conquer the world …
Or maybe not! While I might have been ready to conquer the world, Daphne wasn’t game. She preferred to stop and eat grass!
Check out Daphne being led ahem … astray for food indulgence by the hilarious Peter Parkorr of Shock and Orr.
And Annalisa, a journalist who joined us on the blog trip.
As it’s hard to attempt to snap photos from the back of a donkey (as Laurel from Monkeys and Mountains can attest), I hopped off Daphne to walk and embark on an extreme photo shoot.
Sadly, the time passed by all too quickly and we then had to head back and move on to our next activity. It was hard letting my cute Daphne go …
If you’re looking for yet another beautiful place to visit in Italy, do consider a visit to Monti Sibillini National Park. It’s even better in the summer when the plateau is painted with the color of the local flora and fauna! And of course, take a ride with Daphne, Mozart and the rest of their donkey posse.
Another cool attraction in the area? Visit Marmore Falls, Europe’s tallest manmade waterfall!
* Disclosure – My ride with Daphne was complimentary as I was taking part in a TBU blog trip. Any opinions expressed are entirely my own.