What a morning! Today, students and staff woke up and met for 4:30am in order to make the drive to Pamplona. Why? So we could witness in person the famous Running of the Bulls tradition held in the city of Pamplona! Surprisingly, by the time we arrived in Pamplona, we were all wide awake and ready to go! But first, we had to make sure we fit in by wearing the traditional colours of the event- red and white. Most already had on their red and white attire, but chose to buy a red neck kerchief as well. Once we arrived inside the stadium, we were met with fanfare and a sea of other red and white spectators. The actual running of the bulls was fascinating to watch. A group of large bulls were released into cordoned off sections of the streets outside of the stadium and men were seen on the jumbo screen trying to outrun them. Some were successful, others, not so much. After a few minutes, the runners burst into the centre of the bull ring, with the bulls entering sporadically as well to get back to their pens. Following this, we watched 6 younger bulls enter the ring with all of the runners to engage in some more running. Coming from Canada, many traditions such as these remain so foreign. Many of us reflected upon what we witnessed after the events came to a close and the consensus amongst many seemed to be that although we are against animal cruelty and/or do not enjoy watching animals get teased, we can also appreciate that not every culture is going to be uniform in their traditions and beliefs. The event that we went to today opened many doors for discussions on this topic.
After the Running of the Bulls, we had a couple of hours to wander the city before leaving at noon. Most went to eat, while others ventured over to the old church and palace, or simply sat in one of the squares to people watch.
We had a pretty mellow bus journey back to Bilbao- most of us were exhausted from our early morning wake up call. Once back in Bilbao, a small group came with us onto the Bilboat water tour. While the photography class had gone the day before, it was nice for us who didn’t go to get to spend an hour listening to the history of the industrial city. It wasn’t as sunny as yesterday, but the fresh air on the boat was so refreshing!
Our small group met up with the rest of the students and staff at our dinner restaurant where we enjoyed our final meal in Bilbao. We also took a moment to celebrate Julia’s birthday! With everything going on today, I think Julia was a bit surprised that we remembered! Of course we did! And we hope her night out with her friends was as lovely as she is!
Tomorrow, we look forward to heading to San Sebastian!!! Finally, we’ll be on a beach!
Thanks for reading!
Laura and Kyle