Pamplona brings back a few very straightforward memories: shopping, bulls, and cold weather.
A large stress of the beginning of our trip was the fact that a member of our group’s luggage got lost. Not only was it delayed on being sent to Spain, but it was accidentally shipped from our layover airport in NYC to Dallas, then from Dallas to God knows where, then from God knows where to Spain… Special shoutout to American Airlines for managing to be the most complicated airline out there. Anyway, we had a girl stuck in Spain for 4 days without the necessities. But, luckily for her, American Airlines paid for whatever she needed, and I, along with other sympathetic girls, decided she needed a lot, a lot of Calvin Klein. Long story short- she is probably very thankful for her new designer closet. So, American Airlines, thank you so much.
So after hours of tiresome shopping (and yes, shopping is very tiresome, no matter the occasion) we toured the path of the infamous running of the Bulls. How this tradition derived? Well, the tour guide explained it as this: “They needed a way to get the Bulls from where they were raised to the bull fighting ring… So what better way than getting them to run after volunteer human bait?” The corner of death, a sharp curve in the road where the most deaths happen, was most definitely a memorable part to walk by.
Before the trip, I thought that all Spainards believe strongly in Bull Fighting. But what I realized is that it is extremely controversial: Barcelona/ the rest of Cataluna doesn’t allow bull fighting and the family that I stayed with in Madrid, along with many other Spainards, doesn’t believe in it as well. Mostly for reasons such as the fact that it is somewhat life threatening to man to have a raging bull with sharp horns charge after a human 1/3 its size, and that the bulls are beaten until their ribs are broken, drugged until they can’t see straight, then put into a ring to get stabbed to death in front of an audience. But contradicting this, many Spainards still embrace that aspect of their culture with pride, considering it has always been a part of Spanish tradition. After watching a video at the dinner table of my host family’s home of a man getting trampled and tossed by a bull, hearing them say “yeah, now he’s dead,” then watching the newly dead man get dragged off to the side so the bull can continue with other runners, I tend to lean slightly towards the side that believes this isn’t such a grand idea. Maybe the rest of Spain should follow in the footsteps of Barcelona, who turned their bull fighting ring into a three- story shopping mall.
My jean shorts and tank tops left me unprepared for the chilly temperatures of northern Spain- I couldn’t go on with my ventures without proper attire. So, here came another excuse to go shop for Spanish clothes- I didn’t buy THAT much, I promise. Luckily, Spain had great deals on jean jackets. That day allowed me to perfect saying in Spanish “I don’t need a bag, I’m just going to wear it now.”
The jean jacket crew, today’s purchases! (Claire, me, Robin, Taggart)