DRIVING down the concrete track towards my house I pass a girl thumbing a lift. She’s carrying a big bag and a plastic bucket that’s full of stuff. I stop and she clambers into the front of the van. She’s going to El Morreon, an alternative community down near the Rio Guadalfeo, below the town of Orgiva. I can take her about halfway, which suits her fine. “What’s your name?” she says in a German accent. I tell her my name and ask hers. “Carlotta,” she replies. Pleasant girl, Carlotta – early twenties I would say, been here in Andalucia a few months. Two minutes later I drop her off and she continues down the track with her bag and bucket.

Three days later, I’m driving out of Orgiva with my wife, heading for the coast, when up the main road towards town comes Carlotta with a donkey. She’s not leading it or riding it, she’s WITH it. She has her arm around the donkey’s neck, her shoulder against the animal’s side, and they are walking together up the busy road.

Today I learn, from a friend, that Carlotta bought the donkey in Motril, on the coast, and walked it back to El Morreon. It’s a half hour’s drive to Motril. It took Carlotta and the donkey two days to cover the distance. God knows where they spent the night, because there’s a lot of wild and hilly country between the two towns.

Carlotta plans to walk to Germany with the donkey. There’s a lot of wild and hilly country between Andalucia and Germany. Who says the age of adventure is dead?