The other weekend we went to Pamplona and saw the running with the bulls with Kelly and Mitch who are on their European van tour. They started a few days earlier so we flew to Toulouse and they picked us up on the way. The festival in Pamplona was absolutely crazy - the Spanish are mad!!! We stayed in a tent city which was full of noisy drunken kiwis and Aussies but that was ok.
We went down to the opening ceremony in a little square, its hard to explain but basically you get dressed up in the traditional colours white and red and drink sangria and throw it over everyone (just one big party at 9 in the morning). By 12 it had turned into the biggest mosh pit I'd ever been in times 10, there was no escape and we were getting absolutely crushed and we were the only idiots in jandals, it was actually quite scary. So Lisa had cut her foot on glass and walked out at the end in one of my jandals and one of hers, and I walked out with Lisa's other one which we later found on the opposite foot and a random shoe that I found as there was glass from broken bottles everywhere!!!! I got a pair of new jandals though!!
That night we went to the bull fighting on horseback which was cool and entertaining, I was sitting beside a French man who was able to explain what was going on which helped. It cost us 28 Euros each to get in but of the 8 fights we only saw two as the girls walked out and couldn't watch any more, so of course we had to follow - expensive night out!
In the morning we went down to the bullring to see the bulls and runners enter the ring at the end of the run. There was a big screen with commentators etc it was just like a normal sporting event as it showed runners stretching and warming up - that's where the normality stopped!! It was crazy as we watched the run on the big screen and then seen them all run into the ring - it was carnage as they were so many nutters finishing the run - hundreds cramming into the ring - one guy finished, threw his hands up to the cheering crowd then got hit from behind by a rampaging bull, he eventually got dragged away (but he didn't die surprisingly) - One guy got trampled during the run and they put in it slow motion on the screen and replayed it heaps of times - not nice.
Once the run finishes everyone who did the run must stay in the arena, and then they let young bulls into the ring to run around and basically charge at people (plus people are teasing them), their horns though seemed to be designed that you could kind of hold onto them and they wouldn't pierce you. It's to tire the bull out, almost to die of exhaustion. They did this like 5 or 6 times but the girls left after one go and me and Mitch stayed for a few more, but it is really quite sickening to watch.
On the way home we got a train to Madrid for a flight which we were lucky to catch as on the train we sat on the track in the middle of nowhere for over an hour and a half. We only just caught our flight with minutes to spare. Not a nice experience to be in lost in a non English country with no maps etc - but that's all part of the experience I guess.
So it was definitely an eye opener, and I doubt we will be going again!!