Days 12 and 13 In Spain: El Encierro, Running of the Bulls

Yesterday was the first day of the running of the bulls, also called “encierro” (from the verb encerrar, meaning to fence in) of the 2012 year, here in Pamplona Spain. Each year, the opening ceremony commences on July 6th and the 7th marks the first of a seven-day celebration, otherwise known as the festival of Sanfermines. The festival is from July 6th to 14th every year, and the first bull run of the festival is always the most crowded and anticipated one. Spectators line up hours before the run to get a good spot (similar to the dropping of the ball every New Year), and at 8:00 a.m., a rocket is set off to alert the runners that the gate containing the bulls has been opened. A second rocket is then set off to inform people that the bulls have been released to run. A third and fourth rocket are later set off to inform people across town that the event has concluded, seeing as the bulls made it to the bull ring. The runs don’t usually last more than four minutes, and those who stand by to watch the run don’t get a chance to see more than a few seconds of it since it is so high paced.

My friends and I took a two and a half hour train to a city called Soria, and then from there took a three-hour bus to Pamplona, where craziness was residing. Swarms of people were dressed in all white clothing with red bandanas around their necks and red scarfs around their waists. By this time (one in the morning), everyone was beyond drunk, partying in the streets, inside and outside the bars, and anywhere else where there was room to party. My friends and I walked around for a while to acquaint ourselves with the city (meaning we weren’t sure where we were and didn’t know where to go), but eventually found a place to change into the proper attire, bought whatever food we could, and bought containers of sangria to join the party. By the time we accomplished all of the above, it was already 2:30 am, so we made our way over to the start of where the run takes place to get a good spot for the morning. We sat on the side of the street from 3:00 am until the start of the run, 8:00 am. and two hours before the run commenced, the streets were getting even crazier than the night before. Spectators were lining up where we were to watch the run, and people were crowding the streets, preparing themselves to run as fast as they could from numerous bulls who would soon be close behind.

At around 7:50 am, prayers were being conducted throughout the town, and people were getting ready for this incredible event. When 8:00 hit, the rockets were set off, and before we knew it, the bulls had been released and ran right past us! Not to mention, the whole crowd on the street was running for their lives! Before we knew it, the bulls had turned the corner and we saw all that we could.

Once the bulls left our vicinity, we were allowed to walk on the streets again, and tried scouting out restaurants, but everything was packed and people began drinking again, so we decided to go back home. Of course there were plenty of injuries, and I don’t think I have ever seen so many EMT’s in my life, but seeing as I didn’t get injured and I got to experience a once in a lifetime event, I had a blast!

The first run of 2012 that we were at: 

Give Thanks On This 5th of July!

As many of you are aware, yesterday was the fourth of July; a day dedicated to our country’s independence; a day in which we give thanks to the heroes of country; and a day in which we honor those who sacrificed their lives for us to be where we are today. Throughout the country, people wished each other a happy holiday and gave well wishes to one another, myself included. But once midnight struck and the holiday came to an end, that was that. Now we wait until next year where we will follow the same routine and celebrate once more.

Why is it that there is only one day designated to thanking brave souls for their hard work and dedication to our country? Why is it that we only have one day to recognize our teachers, secretaries, mothers, fathers, veterans, presidents (well that’s a different story), etc. Why do the people who work so hard and do so much for us only get one measly day to themselves? I guess one day is better than none, but what happens when that day is over? We forget about appreciating the important people in life and move on with our daily lives. Today is not a holiday, at least none that I’m aware of, so I’d like to take appreciate those who work so hard on a daily basis but never get the spotlight and attention they deserve, thank family members because one day to thank my parents and grandparents for everything they have done for me surely isn’t enough, and I’m sure for those of you with kids, they feel the same, and thank everyone else who has made some sort of impact in my life.

I know I’m not winning an Academy Award over here, so these thanks may seem a bit dramatic, but smiles are contagious, and so is appreciation. If we can appreciate the little things in life as well as all that we have, you’ll find that life will become so much greater than it already is. Say “thank you” to the people who got you to where you are today, to the waiter who serves you, to the masseuse who has the courage to touch your feet, to the ones you love for being there for you. A simple “thanks” will go a long way in life and will definitely put a smile on the faces of the person you are appreciating. Try it and you’ll notice the immense ripple effect it will have, and the positive impact it will have on that person’s day. So I’d like to start off by saying Thanks! to all my followers and friends here on WordPress who have made my blogging experience amazing thus far. I wouldn’t be able to feel as though I am making some kind of difference without you all, and I wouldn’t have met such incredibly inspirational people and friends, and for that, I thank you all! 🙂

Fourth of July Blogging Celebration!

On this great day of Independence, we give thanks to those who served and continue to serve our country, those who fought for our freedom, those who got us to where we are today, and those who blog about life and interesting topics to keep us entertained. Huh? Okay so maybe not everyone gives thanks to us bloggers on a daily basis, and maybe we don’t have our own holiday, but why not? We deserve a little bit of credit for our hard work keeping each other entertained, reading stories about one another’s lives, and purging our emotions and stressors and shoving them onto our readers for them to deal with. I would say that we deserve a bit of credit (of course nothing compared to the heroes of our country) but why not take a second after thanking those for our independence to thank each other for our entertainment and for continuing the track of literacy not only in our country but the countries of our followers as well.

For those of you who have no idea where I’m getting to with this post, just follow me for a second because you’re going to like this. In honor of everyone’s hard work, in appreciation for my followers, commenters, readers, those who “like” my work, favorite it, repost it, and those who just click “like” it without reading anything I have to say, I thank you. And for all your support, I want to give something back to you. I ask that anyone who reads this comment with the link to your blog in addition to a brief description of what your blog is about. Let’s open new doors to new followers and get ourselves more connected with each other. I owe whatever blogging successes I have had thus far to you all, my fellow bloggers and friends, so let’s have a blogging celebration of our own on this Fourth day of July in celebration of our independence as well as our blogs.

Day 7 in Spain: Los Campeones Del Euro Cup!!!

Yesterday was the Euro Cup finals, and for those of you who aren’t familiar with the tournament, it’s when all European play each other in “futbol” (known to us as soccer) to win this prestigious cup. One of the host moms of a girl on my trip owns a bar by our university, so she invited us to watch the game, and as we had just arrived, Spain scored their first goal which was insane! Various bars on the street set up big screen TV’s outside for the locals to watch, and everyone was covered in red (because not only is it the team’s main color, but their nickname is “la furia roja,” meaning “the red fury,” so the excitement and enthusiasm throughout the night was beyond unbelievable. Spain went on to defeat Italy with the final score being 4-0 and as you can imagine, the streets were packed with fans, the bars became even more crowded, seeing as people were looking to celebrate, and the pride that everyone had for their country was overwhelming. It was so great to see so many people come together for a mutual cause and really cheer their country on.

After the game, our friend’s host mom invited us into the bar where the real celebration began. Drinks were flowing, music was blasting, and everyone was dancing! People came inside from the streets and danced as if they just won the lottery! I had such a great time seeing this firsthand, and even though I’m only a temporary resident of the country, I couldn’t help but feel pride in being here in Spain and being a part of the country; especially after just winning the Euro Cup!