Road trip to Cantabria – visit to an Alpaca farm

Road trip to Cantabria – visit to an Alpaca farm

Soon, very soon, I will post more about the “why” – why did we drive all the way to the other side of the country just to look at some alpacas? For now though, these are just some pictures I took on our way there…

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On our way there, early in the morning & terrible weather: Zaragoza.

 

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The Rioja region is just FULL of bodegas and wine fields

 

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Bilbao in Bask country. No good pictures of the city itself, but you can see weather is clearing up & Euskera (the Bask language) is not like Spanish at all.

 

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The gulf of Biskaia – the ocean at the other side of the country. It’s a funny feeling to know we live quite close to the mediterranean sea, and in just a few hours we’re looking at the Atlantic Ocean.

 

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Cantabria is breathtaking.

 

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A bit wetter than Matarraña where we live… (see the rain coming)

 

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but very very beautiful and green.

 

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Ten little alpacas from Alpacas de la Tierruca & Alto Paso Alpacas, standing in the field outside the brand new (almost-finished) alpaca visitors & education center.

 

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The girls of Alpacas de la Tierruca. I was spit at by a very pregnant female, she didn’t like how I was taking close-up pictures 🙂

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Everything a farm needs – a barn cat, a dog and pretty stables – now converted and holding an artisanal alpaca fleece processing workshop.

 

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We took a special interest in this gentleman… He’s three years old and might end up on our finca some day soon.

 

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The one thing we’re missing on our finca – a river right outside the door

 

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Goodbye Cantabria… see you again soon!

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The 26 hour goat experience

“Let’s make our own goat cheese”. That sounds so nice, doesn’t it? To make goat cheese though, you need goat milk – and for that, usually, you first need a goat. And that last bit might be kind of a thing, as all over the internet (and in real life) people are telling us how hard it is to keep goats. Thankfully, our friends Mellissa and Dan happen to have a few of them. And they were willing to lend us some, for the sake of the experience.

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This is Billy

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This is Jojo

 

They arrived yesterday at about 3PM, and they left again today at about 5PM.

We learned a lot in those 26 hours.

  1. Goats will take you to places you’ve never been
    Climb every mountain? Yup, been there today. I discovered it wasn’t actually impossible to climb the ridge behind the house – and the view is beautiful.
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  2. Goats will take themselves to places you can’t even imagine
    Yes, this is the rooftop they’re standing on. They were just a tiny bit quicker than me… and went to test out the stability of the roof. It’s stable, all right. They also kept trying to get inside the house (where the guys are busy tiling, so NOT a good moment for goats to come and visit) (as opposed to other moments when it’s very convenient for goats to trot through your living room)
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  3. Goats are very gentle animals
    I grew up with ponies: they push you away, trample you, headbut you, if you give them a treat they’ll try and eat your whole hand – basically, they’re rude. I thought goats would be exactly the same, and was amazed at how gentle they were when taking treats, how they would walk around me instead of pushing me out of the way – generally, I found them more gentle than expected.
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  4. Goats need a lot of active supervision.
    And that’s where it all went wrong… I was expecting I’d be able to do stuff while herding goats. Like clean out the maset, answer a few e-mails, do a bit of yoga,… – None of that; as soon as I looked down to my phone, they climbed 3 terraces at the same time and I had to go running after them. Which only made them run faster.

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The original plan was to get an electric net-fence, so we could keep them confined a bit while we weren’t there; so I could go to that get-together with friends, clean up the house once in a while, go for a girls’ day out,… After watching them for a few hours though, I wasn’t counting on an electric fence being able to hold them for long.
Thankfully Dan wasn’t difficult about taking them back (which was the plan all along, only not this soon). We’ll finish the house first, then building a stable is first on the priority list… so we can get goats again. They really stole my heart!