Sunday, 15 July 2012

Barcelona, te quiero!

What a weekend! Up at the crack of dawn, Allison and I hopped on a flight to Barcelona early Friday morning, to join in the celebration of the Running of the Bulls in Pamplona. The trip was a weekend excursion so we arrived to party for the opening night and drive back to Barcelona the next day. Then we'd have a nice in the city before returning to Paris on Sunday.

In Spanish tradition, running of the bulls dates back to the 14th century. While framers were transporting their cattle to the market through the streets in Spain, young men would try to impress their friends, families and mostly the women by running along side the cattle. After many years of this, it turned into a competition! The men would risk their lives by running with the bulls which became the basis for this celebration. 

Dressed in the traditional colours of red and white, Allison and I joined a group of six and hit the ground in Pamplona at 11pm for the concert. It was an all night celebration, so we were in for the long haul! We danced, sang, drank sangria and I practiced my very rusty Spanish. Throngs of people were partying in the streets, and it was next to impossible to make your way through the crowds. It was probably the biggest party I have ever attended in my life. Around 6:30 am, we made our way towards the finish line of the race to find good seats, and perched on a statue we waited an hour and a half for the four minute race. Hundreds of men ran through the fenced of streets. It was pretty clear when a group was near a bull because those groups were always faster than the rest. The first few to go through the gate were almost walking, while the guys near the back with in all out sprints! 

Back on the bus at two o’clock Saturday afternoon, we slept the whole way back to Barcelona then Allison and I checked into our hostel. Walking the streets in search of a place for dinner, we stumbled across a tapas place with the nicest server and owner I have ever met. I was having difficulty with my phone, and the owner called the phone company trying to solve it for me! The food was fantastic - I have fallen in love with Spanish food. After we ate, we walked to the harbor front and saw all the lights from the boats along the water. The next day we made our way through the markets to the beach and saw a parade. Dragging our feet, we made our way back to the airport and returned to Paris.

The trip was fantastic, but far too short. I’m going to have to return to Barcelona very soon! ;)

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