Two mornings after watching the encierro, I watched the show in Plaza de Toros which starts right after the last toro arrives from that morning’s bull run. I was accompanied by my Spanish friend María Luisa. I met her during my English conversation group conducted by the government of Navarra (INAP) as detailed in Tuesdays with Grizelle.
After the said program finished, we meet weekly to practice her English and my Spanish or what is called an intercambio. A fun way to learn a language!
And so that cold morning we found ourselves seated in one of the bleachers inside Plaza de Toros. It was hard getting up believe me, cos the previous night I was also with her partying with two of her work colleagues. Quite the the norm during Sanfermines.
After the last of the toros have exited the bull ring and back to their corarrillos (bull pens), the crowd gathered for the start of las vaquillas.
Which is this game boys play where they dare the young toro or vaquilla to attack.
Only to run away once the vaquilla comes charging haha!
These young toros have what they call bolitas by their horns so it won’t pierce. But still, he can fork you in between the horns and in the process break a part of your body, ribs perhaps.
I’m sure this guy didn’t enjoy the ride much.
Around five vaquillas did the rounds of giving these men a good scare. After each toro’s time is up, a pastor would come in the bull ring with a manso which is this big fella of a bull that serves as guides to these toros bravos.
The show is really entertaining. The crowd is participative and reacts to what happens in the bull ring. Like when a guy fell down right after the toro came charging, another guy distracted the toro from attacking that guy who was still on the ground. The heroic deed has been rewarded with cheers and applauds by the crowd. A separate incident was when this guy grabbed the toro’s tail and spinned it around. This didn’t go well with the crowd so a mix of boos and real-hard Spanish cussing were thrown his way. What he did was not only prohibited but is also considered cowardly. Good thing the toro missed him when it tried kicking him from behind.
Another Spanish culture seen and experienced! You’ve not fully experienced Spain without the toros!
– my own words of wisdom 😉