Plus ça change...

By SooB

Load of bullocks

The biggest event here annually is the bullfighting feria over the Bastille Day weekend. I might as well get out of the way that I'm not very happy with bullfights, and have never been to one. But I'm hypocrytical enough to go along to the preamble, where they run the bulls through town on the way to the arena.

This is no Pamplona run though: the men chase the bulls rather than the other way around. Here you can see the horsemen (very skillful) keeping the bull going in the right direction (that would be NOT into the crowd) while local rugby teams and other crazy types chase the bulls and try to bring them to a halt. There are always several injuries - usually when a bull gets away from the horses and starts going the wrong way or when someone rather pointlessly lies down in the road and gets trampled by a horse.

This year I made a slight technical error and forgot all about ISO settings (it was on 100) and was too focussed (if you'll excuse the pun) on not getting trampled by bulls to be doing too much reviewing between shots. Hence everything's a bit blurry - but then that's kind of how the occasion feels when you're behind a rather flimsy metal barrier (when my daughter leant on it it nearly toppled over) with bulls, horses and rugby players careering towards you at top speed.

After the running, half the town heads off to the arena for the main event, while the rest of us enjoy the relative peace and have a few beers listening to the local brass bands. The drinking continues usually from the Friday afternoon through until the Sunday night (this year the Monday night as Bastille Day fell on a Monday) and the aftermath is quite something to see. But the streetcleaners are out at dawn and everything is sparkly new by 9 am as if it never happened...

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