This is slightly out of sequence, but since I was already writing about the poor mule who carted me most of the way up to the Monastery and back down again, and since I have several friends who for some reason find the idea of me on a mule hilarious and have asked for pictures, here he is: the stalwart Suzo.
And the much less than stalwart Kathleen clinging to his back. Don't be misled by the nice smooth pavement in this picture -- most of the time we were scrambling up or down very steep rocky paths, and ancient stone steps worn to nubs by a couple of millennia's worth of travelers. At a few points I had to lie flat on Suzo's back to pass under archways, and in some of the steeper sections staying in the saddle was like trying to ride a very rickety roller coaster without a safety bar.
But the most drama came unexpectedly at the end of the ride, on the road near the back gate, when Suzo was anxious to get home and eat his dinner, and kept breaking into a gallop. You'd be amazed by how fast a hungry mule can go.