Not my favourite Spanish tradition by a long way. Before I came to Spain I thought that matadors fought bulls in bullrings while people ran with bulls in Pamploma. Not quite...
While matadors still fight bulls in a diminishing number of bullrings (Barcelona closed its 'Monumental' bullring to bullfighting in 2011), people run with bulls in a great many more towns than just Pamplona. Imagine our surprise when within a week of our arrival in our own small, (sleepy?) Spanish town, bulls were loose in the streets.
Notice the TV camera, top left.
It's all a bit tawdry, if you ask me. Local lads (it is mostly lads) taunt a bull, then run like sissies when it turns on them. I can't quite 'get' the macho bit when they're running like stink for the safety behind the (steel) bars.
Particularly distasteful are the 'burning bulls', where lighted balls are attached to the poor creatures' horns during night-runs.
|The guy in the checked shirt, trakkie bottoms and rolled-up newspaper misjudges his run...|
|Not quite such a 'macho' pose as you tip past the horizontal...|
It usually goes on for the best part of a week, so I guess you can see how it brings trade to local businesses. But, believe me, Spain has many, many other types of fiesta which are more worthy of your patronage. Even the 'tomato people' (see the 'Not the Tomatina' blog) seem to have more taste...
And yes, I was standing safely behind the thick, strong steel bars all the time (you can use the word 'hiding' if you wish), with a very long lens on my camera.