A Travellerspoint blog

Vino tasting in Languaridia then off to Valledeloide

sunny 35 °C

Day 9 Languaridia-Valledeloide
Breakfast was traditional continental with the most delicious pastries! I am feeling so so sorry for myself for being so crook and all these beautiful sights and food to indulge on and all I feel like doing is sleeping and vomiting. None the less, I got to sample the culinary delights and get ready for the vino tasting/tour at 12:30.
The vino was so-so but the cellar the vino was stored in was darn cool! It was like a mini jail hosting the wine till maturity, some 5 years later. We got some video footage of the caves.
Valladeliode is a bigger town. Lots of museums, a few shopping centres and parks. We hit the shopping centre straight away after checking in to look for cold and flu tablets. Instead we bought beer, nuts and yakult (which I now remember we’ve left in the fridge as we’ve set off for Salamanca). We watched Topgear and feasted on our little normal snacks and rested till late evening. We asked the receptionist to advise us on a nice hotel as David wanted to eat more traditional meat. I was ready to throttle him for pulling me away from bed.
Without too much hassle we found the suggested restaurant. I ordered a salad (lettuce, tomato and onion) and David ordered the traditional dish which was a 35 day old suckling lamb stewed in a broth. It was tender and tasty. After we finished the delights it was back to bed (on a full stomach).

Posted by Shelle10 06:03 Archived in Spain Tagged living_abroad Comments (0)

Balcony Race Viewing

sunny 37 °C

Again, up so early! The 5:30 starts are killing us but they are now over. We got the first bus into the town with our guide Liz, and she took us to the balcony we were to view the race from. The owner of the house, a younger man, was on holidays in Africa with his family, so his parents hosted us. We had croissants, a heavy stale cake (which was lovely with jam) and the bread crackers! David had strong coffee and I had tea which had the leaves in the middle of the pot, infusing. The leaes were contained in a glass cylinder and looked so trendy. I’m now thinking, upon reflection, that it was herbal tea and didn’t require milk, but at the time it didn’t dawn on me. Still tasted lovely.
The run was over in a flash. One bull didn’t want to run. He kept looking at his reflection in the mirrors of the shop fronts. The police had to lock off the section of road we were on (just after dead man’s corner, on the way to the arena) and get the bull to move along. We watched most of the remaining action on the television.
Around 8.45 we left to collect the car to start our own adventure to Madrid. These 3 days by ourselves are so welcomed to me as it means proper showers, clean clothes and a real bed! My feet and fingers have been like sausage balloons so any chance to have a rest and put my feet up to reduce the swelling are totally welcomed.
The car wasn’t to be picked up till 10:00 and we were worried we’d be waiting in the heat as the car depot was only moments out of the city centre. Luckily we had this time up our sleeve as we were lost in the thickets of sangria cups, bags and gypsy debris from last nights celebrations. The GPS got us on track and ready for me to drive the crazy streets of Pamplona.
Just an informal note here to say that driving on the wrong side of the road is poop. Total poop. Not to mention the gear shift and controls. Whilst David and I were screaming at each other the window wipers were flicked with flailing arms, the car wasn’t in 1st gear and the lights were green, we just had to laugh.
Packed up and car loaded we set off for Languardia some 2 hours away. It was a picturesque drive to the little town, just what you’d read in history books. The bisque-fired brick house facades are adorned with red potted flowers, trimmed with black wrought iron balconies, backgrounded are the mountain ranges.
Our room wasn’t ready when we arrived at 14:00 so the manager gave us wine and snacks whilst we gazed upon the vineyard surroundings. We were in total awe at the gorgeous sights. Sadly we don’t have many great pictures. As soon as we got into the room we both hit the shower and epically crashed, only to wake up hours later with a stomach flu.
Unable to venture too far from the loo, we dressed for dinner and headed to the local restaurant. The waitress called reception to come down and translate for us. We ordered the traditional meat plate (just meat – 3 kinds. David loved it), an amazing salad (with a chocolate vinagerette dressing) and some blue steak. David thoroughly enjoyed it. I just wish I was able to stomach food as the salad was totally amazing. I highly suggest this town as a stop off point -you really couldn't go wrong anywhere here.

Posted by Shelle10 17:00 Archived in Spain Tagged living_abroad Comments (0)

He came, he ran, he conquered

Day #2 run

sunny 35 °C

Day 7. Pamplona.
David ran with the bulls today. I dropped him at ‘dead man’s corner’ appropriately named as this is where a lot of bulls skid out of control and crush the runners. I made my way to the arena which was packed out. Luckily I got a good seat next to an Aussie girl who chatted to me and got my mind away from David running with the big bulls.
Televised and foregrounded was a runner who had a major skittle. It looked like David. My heart sank. When all the runners made it into the arena Louise and I looked out for David and felt so relieved when we saw him, albeit dirtied, but sporting a grin of relief. He made his way upto where we were sitting and said a runner in front of him fell which caused a bit of a domino effect. Someone fell on David and caused some of his ailments. He said the bull ran closely to the person next to him and when David opened his eyes he saw a big hoof a foot away. None the less, he raced, and I’m sure is happy for the experience, despite grazed knees and sore ribs and a broken watch.
We went back to camp, had breakfast, looked over David’s injuries – I wish he got his ribs checked out, and got ready for our day trip to San Sebastian which was an hour away.
This lovely little town has a beach, fancy architecture and is crystal clean. We ate tapas hich were totally delicious and had more attention paid to assembling them than in Pamplona. We went to the beach which was full of old birds that looked like they were out of “there’s something about mary.” I can’t beiieve how freely they walk about with no swimmers on, having conversations with friends and tanning themselves! Old men were dangling about too. None the less, San Sebastian was so beautiful. I can't wait to go back in a few weeks time.
That night we went into Pamplona for the last we’d see of the night festivities. We went in with a few people from the camp grounds and had sangria and food from the muscle bar. zThey like patatas and sour cream here, not to mention their bread! We sat outside the Muscle Bar and dined on the ground  We then danced through the streets and chatted before eating more tapas and drinking beer. After this we followed the fire bull. Mostly for children, the big plastic bull sprays sparks of fire and runs up and down the street allowing children and their parents to chase it. I might state at this point that there is no regard for health and safety in Spain. David got burned by a shard of a spark. We split from the others and followed more bands while they saw fireworks in a massive park. Both these events were for competition. The more supporters/cheers announced the winners. Exhausted from our 5 am starts each day (you have to get into town ultra early to partake in the bull run/get a good seat), we called it a night around 12.30 and headed back to our little tent.

Posted by Shelle10 01:57 Archived in Spain Tagged events Comments (0)

The first bull run

sunny 35 °C

Day 6. Pamplona. First day of the Bull Running.
We got into the arena around 7:00 and surprisingly found good seats. We watched the marching band and the stats of the bulls to run. The bulls were between 550-650kgs. They were such docile creatures. The first rocket sounded which meant ‘run!’ The second rocket sounded and the remaining bulls in the pen, 6 in total, started running. The run was televised to us on in the stadium. It didn’t look brutal and most of the accidents were caused by people slipping. 3 minutres later the bulls started arriving into the arena. They made a quick exit once the hearding bulls came along. The runners packed into the arena not knowing what to do next. Moments later a charged up bullock came bucking into the arena, ready to do damage. Lots of spills and faces of terror in the arena while the bullock did it’s damage. It was pleasing to see them get their own back especially to the people who taunted it. The Spanish were quite happy to keep the crowd somewhat underwraps by throwing them off/away from the bull when they were holding their horns/tail or overtaunting it.

There didn’t seem to be too many injuries as the attacked people mostly got up and walked to the sides. Later we’d learn that they had busted spleens and what not else. One man crouched down at the bullock entrance (usually the locals do this as a sign of status. The bullock jumps over them) and got a hoof on the head. He has a big hoof bruise there. Another man was trodden on by the bull and tried to lift himself up while under the bull. He broke his back and ended up in hospital, needing an operation to repair his back.
When we got back to camp we spent some time trying to have a shower in the freezing water and searching for belongings that were crammed into our bags. That evening we went into town, ordered some salad (finally) at KFC and had a quiet night.

Posted by Shelle10 01:45 Archived in Spain Tagged events Comments (0)

Running of the Bulls opening ceremony

Sangria, agua and tapas :)

sunny 32 °C

Day 5 Pamplona. Opening ceremony.
We got into town around 11. We had an average camp breakfast of a piece of bacon, a fried egg and fruit. It got us going for the day which is really all we wanted. Finding a nice patch of grass in Plaza del Toro (main square) David bought a big French stick and we munched on that, drank our E3 bottle of champagne till 12, when the ceremony commenced. Cheers and cries of celebratory joy filled the air, along with sangria sprays and champagne corks popping. We were sprayed a few times, thankfully only by champagne. We did so well to avoid sangria.
Bands played and marched through the little streets so we followed the thousands of people to join in the communal festivities. It took us over half an hour to make our way along one street. But so worth it.
We found the Muscle Bar where lots of Aussie tourists tend to flock to. In the middle of the square, there is a monument. Aussie boys climb the monument and dive off it into the awaiting crowd. Not that it would be safe to do at the best of times, but especially today, as everyone in the crowd is drunk. Later we found out a 36 yo lady tried climbing the monument, slipped, broke her neck and died. The crowds were that thick, the ambulance took over 30 minutes to arrive. This was one of many similar incidents.
Dancing through the crowds was a lot easier than saying ‘scussi’, purely as I didn’t know how to say ‘move’ in Spanish. Not that it worked at any rate and at times it was welcomed to be caught in the gridlocked streets and assist the crowds in singing ‘aqua’ to the balcony owners and moments later to be showered in cool water. It was like this constantly. The ground became sticky and flooded quickly. I unfortunately turned around a little too quickly to see a man peeing in a cup. David saw too, and we were a barrel of laughs looking at this poor man’s makeshift loo.
We wandered onto the outskirts of the festival and found an open concreted area with a DJ surrounded by local kids. You were the odd one out if you weren’t dancing (to the English music). It was probably my favourite part of the festival, being in this square dancing about and drinking water out of our traditional water bottles.
Around 18:00 we were a bit tired after being on our feet for over 6 hours so we had a late siesta on a patch of grass and nursed a bottle of Sangria. Being afraid of the gypsies robbing us of what little gear we had on us I didn’t get much sleep, but David snored the avo away, awaking later hungry for tapas. Unfortunately, we never did find the little bar we first went to which we really enjoyed.
The rest of the night followed the same preceedings of the day; sangria, ‘aqua from balconies’, dancing, eating and sighting gypsies. We must have gotten back to camp around midnight, cautious of our very, very sore feet.

Posted by Shelle10 01:42 Archived in Spain Tagged events Comments (0)

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