Running of the Bulls Festival
Trip Start Jun 06, 2009
48Trip End Aug 31, 2009
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Crazy Opening Ceremony-
More to follow..
This place is CRAZY CRAZY CRAZY!!! Yesterday was the opening ceremony and it was insane. A guy and I got there about an hour early and tried to sqeeze our way into the middle. We made it there just in time before the crowds really surged. For the ceremony, you are in the little plaza in front of a building that the mayor comes outside of and declares the festival underway at 12 noon. The build up to that point is nuts. Everyone is dressed in white with a red scarf around their waist and a red scarf. Once noon hits, you take your scarf and tie it around your neck for the festival. During that hour up to it people are drinking, singing, and going crazy. People are pouring and spraying sangria, wine and champagne everywhere. Then the people on the balconies around the plaza are throwing buckets of water on the people below. About 15 minutes before noon hit, people starting pushing and shoving like crazy. Then the waves started to commence in the crowd. We were standing there then you would just get pushed really hard and so does everyone around you. Since you are touching the 10 other people around you, you canīt really fall. And if you did fall, all the glass from the champage bottles would have not been good for your hands or knees. There were a few couples that were crying and pushing their way out because it was too hot and crazy. I was fortunate enought to see the Mayor come out and announce the start
Iīm staying in a Spanish familyīs house here with 6 other Americans. Thankfully 2 of the people have a good handle on Spanish because they donīt know any English. We have a balcony right over the bull run street and all the madness. It is a pretty sweet spot that we were lucky to get. But if youīre a light sleeper, then it might be hard to sleep because we have a bar right below us and for some reason the marching bands and street performers like to stop right in front of the house at all hours of the day and night. Fortunately last night my friend Sangria helped me sleep through some of it.
Today will be an easy day because tomorrow morning I will run with the bulls. 4 of my roommates ran it this morning and had a great time.
I went to a bullfight on the first night. My tour guide in Barcelona described what a bullfight was like so I kind of knew what would happen
Funny story: As I was leaving the bullring, I saw the matadors in a van and people around them trying to get autographs. I could see one of the matadors through the window and I gave him a wave and a smile that said "I just slept with your sister." And after about a second, he gave me a "whatīs up" head nod that says he was in a bad mood or he didnīt like me.
Update to house: We all donīt have keys to the house so we have to get buzzed in from whoever is in the house. In the house weīre in lives grandma, mom and a 14 year old son who is shy around us. The boy probably speaks the best English but not really. The grandma is always in the house and I have yet to see her leave. I donīt think she has ever left the house because she keeps trying to talk to all of us but only a few of us speak Spanish. She is always trying to talk to us about random stuff and I have to keep saying that I donīt understand in Spanish. I think she is just really lonely and wants someone to talk too. Poor granny!!
Bull Run: The running is a really big deal here. All the balconies are filled with people, police, EMTīs everywhere, and cameras rigged on high-wires to catch the drama unfold. The way the Running of the Bulls works is, they have 12 bulls in a pen on one end of the stretch and then at 8 am they open the door and let off a firework to let you know they opened it. 6 of the bulls are wild and the other 6 are tame and are used to help guide them to the bullring at the end. The people running it have to meet up in a small plaza at 7 am and then they lock you in. Then the police clear the streets of remaining drunks and of all the trash from the previous night. They they put up the wood gates to keep you in and also the bulls. At about 7:30, the people are released to go as they please. They can go to the start or the end of the run. There is no way that you can run the entire thing because there is just too many people in your way. I woke up at about 6:30 and just layed there for a bit because I wasnīt feeling too well. My stomach started to hurt the previous night and now felt worse-not from drinking. And I was extremely tired from my 4 hours of sleep. So I layed there debating to run or not. Some of the house momsī friends and family started to show up to watch from the balcony. I must say, I think that balcony is one of the best for the festival. You can see all the way down the longest street of the run and you can see Dead Manīs Corner
Ease for Americans: Easy. My 2 years of Spanish 10 years ago finally payed off. I think I learned more Spanish in 10 or however many days Iīve been here for. The Spanish love to fiesta! My original plan was to do Spain and Portugal for a week a piece but I had to cut out Portugal all together because I stayed here too long.
Fun Factor: Awesome! There are so many things to do here.
Security: As long as you are smart, you are fine.
THUMBS UP: I enjoyed my time here. Iīm even going to really learn Spanish now when I return to school in January. La práctica hace la perfección
Thatīs all she wrote for now. I have 6 hours or so until I head on a plane for Rome. Adios!