Work in Progress

“In the best travel, disconnection is a necessity. Concentrate on where you are; do no back-home business; take no assignments; remain incommunicado; be scarce. It is a good thing that people don’t know where you are or how to find you. Keep in mind the country you are in. That’s the theory.”
–Paul Theroux

A human who loves the world, finds beauty in the unknown, and can't keep her feet on the ground. I like finding unique (and cheap) ways of making my way around the globe. Interacting with people while living, learning, and loving the culture I'm surrounded by.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Drunk in Spain - Running of the Bulls

After Madrid we were off to Pamplona. Thanks to the 40 Liters of beer I drank previously, I was the only drunk one of the group while boarding the trains. I got lucky with a first class ticket somehow but wasn't able to enjoy it because I passed out almost immediately. Once we arrived late that night we trekked our way to the hotel, which was quite a distance from the station. The boys who were running (from the bulls) still needed to go downtown to get their morning attire (white shirt, white shorts, red bandanna and sash) so I, along with the rest of the girls decided to accompany them. I had just jumped out of the shower and had my pajamas on but I was convinced it was going to be a quick trip so I wasn't bothered. 

We jumped on the bus and as soon as we hopped off it was apparent that we weren't going anywhere any time soon. It was past midnight at this point, and there were thousands of happy Spaniards drinking sangria and listening to music and having a damn good time. No way were we going to pass this up. We found our outfits for the next day (after first getting the largest cup of sangria I could find) and spent the next few hours walking in and out of bars,drinking as possible and making as many friends as possible. Everyone was drunk and happy and DRUNK. 

Some of the boys took the last bus back to the hotel to get sleep before they had to be CHASED BY BULLS. Who knew that a few members of the group were actually responsible. A few others, including myself, decided to go on a mission to find where the bulls were being housed before the run in the morning. We found them, and let me tell you - they were HUGE. The guy watching the pen explained that there were 6 calm bulls, and then 6 very scary and angry bulls. They all looked frightening to me. While planning my trip I had full intentions of participating completely in the run. I was going to be there, why not? But after consulting a few people and realizing I was more likely to get trampled by people than bulls considering how small I am, and the fact I was drunk - I decided against it. Being there was more than enough for me. 

View from the balcony - Pamplona, Spain

It gets a little foggy after this. All I know is I was still hammered drunk at 7am when we headed back to the hotel to chance quickly before we had to be at our balcony for the run. I am so lucky to have been able to watch the event from above, in a lovely Spanish woman's living room. There was food, which I wasn't interested in, and coffee - which I was very much interested in. After the bulls rushed passed (The whole thing lasted not much longer than a minute) the TV was turned on and we all crowded around to watch what was happening in the arena, which wasn't good. 

There was a blockade of runners clogging up the entrance to the stadium. The bulls ran right into this wall of people, and the miraculous thing is - they were not being violent. The sweet lady who owned the home was freaking out, exclaiming (in Spanish), that something like this has never happened. I am so thankful that my friends were not involved in this mess. It was one of the scariest things not knowing if they had been injured or not. 

We quickly gathered our things and went to the meeting place where we nervously anticipated their arrival. It felt so good seeing them walk up to us mostly unscathed. We made our way back to the hotel to get some well deserved rest, and then woke up and did it all again. My memory of most of this event is minimal with even less picture evidence. I remember having the damn time of my life though, and being in awe while watching the firework display later that evening. Despite my lack of photograph proof this is by far one of the craziest things I have ever experienced in my life. I would do it again. Over and over and over. 

I'm a big idiot and didn't think it would be necessary to book my train for the way out of Pamplona. We were all headed to Barcelona that Sunday morning, and I couldn't get a train there until Tuesday. The lovely man at the ticket counter also wouldn't help me get to another train station in which I could make a connection. All I got out of him was, "Zaragoza". So, I hopped on the next train there with no idea when I would be able to meet up with my friends again.

But that's okay, because I made plenty of (drunk) new friends on the train. Two were from Chile and were in the same situation as me. They were angels and agreed to help me once we got to the train station. They ended up being not as much of a help as I would have imagined - because somehow I purchased a bus ticket to Barcelona instead of getting on a train, which added about 3 hours to my travel time. BUT, the bus ride wasn't that bad and I was honestly just happy to be getting there. 

The majority of my new friends spoke literally no English. My new Chilean friends translated what they could but despite speaking the same language (technically), there were still communication barriers. Despite that, we still had a blast on the train and I am Facebook friends with most of them. Facebook - global connections at their finest!

Eric put together a video of their experience Running with the BULLS. Wild.

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