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Parres
All Year: Yes
Area (ha): 8
Persons: 5
Category: Non Organic Farmstay
Host ID: 31464
Country: Spain

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Last Updated: August 5, 2014

The "donkey paradise" is a home for old, retired donkeys. There are also several horses and mules, 4 dogs and 4 cats.

This project, set up by Dutch Marleen, welcomes volunteers preferably for longer periods (minimum stay one month) as getting to know the 20+ donkeys does take some time. The vast area of land and the stables also need attention.

Accommodation: Spare bedroom in the main house, caravans for volunteers.
Tents in summer. Marleen can accommodate up to 4 or sometimes even more volunteers

We speak Dutch, English and Spanish.
Bienvenidos tambien los voluntarios de Espana u otros pai­ses de habla Hispana!

Volunteers must like the outdoor life as the finca is quite remote (3 km from the village).

Asturias is in the North of Spain, between Galicia and Cantabria (West of the Basque country). This region is called the Costa Verde and as you can imagine it looks more like Scotland than what most people expect when thinking of Spain.
It's an ideal area for hiking, mountain walking (Picos de Europa, Redes, El Sueve..), mountain climbing, canoeing and of course we also have beaches (no sun guarantee though).

Oviedo is at 55km and Gijon at 70km. Of course you can arrange to take a few days off to go hiking in the Picos or walk part of the Camino de Santiago - we are very flexible.

Often our volunteers combine their stay with the foster home for dogs at Ceceda (25 km away), also on HelpX.

Activities here are mostly outdoor and centered around the retired, but sometimes still very lively, donkeys. You will have a stable to look after and the donkeys will need grooming and feeding.

This is what one of our volunteers wrote about her stay:

'' My time at Marleen's with the donkeys was truly a transformational experience. I arrived a complete novice and really terrified of the donkeys, and now upon leaving, I feel like I've been managing donkeys all my life.

It's important to note that the working hours here are a bit different than some volunteering sites I've been to. Because you are caring for animals, the work days can be varied and long. There's always plenty of break times, but you should expect to stay busy with some aspect of animal care.

Days usually started at 8 with the donkey breakfast, followed at 9 by the helper breakfast until 10. Marleen makes a very delicious porridge with fancy toppings of nuts, dried fruits, and seeds, which you will dream about after you've gone.

After breakfast, it's back out to muck out stables and give straw. Then it's coffee break time around 11:30. After coffee, there is usually some work project to participate in (building fences, digging in the camping area) or just brushing and being with the donkeys. Lunch is usually around 1:30 or 2, and after lunch, we have free time until the evening donkey feeding around 5 or 6.

Marleen tries very hard to make sure helpers get time away to relax and see Asturias. She is also interested in letting helpers spend time doing the work they most like doing or encouraging work on projects they've come up with.

The landscapes around the DP are really beautiful and there's plenty of opportunity to walk the dogs (or just walk yourself) around the back woods of the property. I was lucky to get to go on quite a few walks with the donkeys, which I highly recommend.

Food was always plentiful and delicious. Everyone lends a hand with cooking from time to time, which is a nice way of getting to know the food of other countries. "

* We cook vegetarian and vegan food.

* Please note this is a NON-SMOKING environment

* we are near to Arriondas which has good bus and train connections to the cities of Santander, Oviedo and Gijon.

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