Hiking with a donkey
There are four important rules on the way to an adventure with these headstrong companions. First: Don't let the animals graze at the beginning, otherwise they won't go any further at first! Second: Talk to them in a friendly and encouraging way. Thirdly: If donkeys stop, simply ignore them. They will soon move on. And fourthly: Never lose your patience, just smile away any resentment that may arise.
So much for the theory. But what does the practice look like? First of all, very inviting: Düsel (5) and Günter (8) look out into the sunny morning with ears perked up and a gentle gaze. The two donkeys are big buddies, belong to the host of the Romantik Hotel Markusturm in Rothenburg (Tauber), are a familiar sight in the town with its medieval old town. But they feel most at home when they hike with hotel guests once a week through the nature outside the town walls.
How far do you get with the four golden rules? In terms of sheer distance, not very far, but in other respects they do. Düsel eats on the right side of the path, Günter chews on the left. A well-rehearsed team that doesn't let any rule in the world stop them from feeding for even a second. After five minutes, as if on a secret command, they suddenly continue leisurely. Along quiet country lanes through the Tauber valley, past vineyards, forests, meadows and ponds. Interrupted again and again by breaks to eat. But sometimes they just stop. Only the two of them know the deeper reason.
The slowness is irritating at first, but then it does you good. Let go, get involved with the animals. Discover nature, just sit down lazily in the grass. It doesn't matter that they don't cover long distances! Donkeys are supposed to be stupid and stubborn? Okay, they are stubborn. Our donkeys are descended from African wild donkeys, and they simply stood still in danger, looking for a firm footing - that was the safest thing to do in the stony, hilly landscape. And our long ears have inherited this steadfast behaviour from their ancestors. But stupid? They don't let themselves be rushed, are not constrained by any rules, are relaxed and self-determined. Doesn't sound particularly simple-minded, but rather clever.
Rothenburg ob der Tauber
The view of medieval Rothenburg from the green surrounding countryside. Probably Germany's best-known historical town, Rothenburg has existed since the 12th century and has been able to preserve its originality to this day. Winding alleys, old watchtowers and half-timbered houses characterise the picture along the Tauber river valley. As the southernmost town in the Franconian wine-growing region, Rothenburg is also known for its excellent wines.