Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Summer in Spain - Day 3

Stop 4 - Running of the Bulls: In order to save money on our hotel, we booked a hotel about a half an hour outside of Pamplona which meant we had to get an even earlier start the morning of the run. I was still debating whether or not to run because it had always been an item on my bucket list but as soon as we saw the crowds in the city, I knew there was no way I could leave Ryan with 3 kids under the age of 4 all by himself in those streets. As we began searching for a spot to watch the run, we quickly realized that there was no way it was going to be a pleasant experience for any of us if we watched it from the streets. It was obvious that the best place to watch was on a balcony above the race. We hadn't reserved a balcony but figured it was worth a shot to offer money to some of the owners to try and get a better view. The first woman we asked took pity on us with our "hoard" of kids and agreed to let us up for a discounted rate. 

Once we got up to the apartment, we had about 45 minutes to kill before the run started. We did our best to entertain our tired, hungry kids by pointing out all of the craziness going on below. Once the horns blew signaling that the bulls were on the street, the race was over before we knew it. The owners of the apartment had the race on tv so we could watch the race in its entirety - even when the bulls weren't outside our balcony. The apartment we watched it from had a pretty good location allowing us to see a good stretch of the run. After the run was complete, we watched the paramedics bring a guy to the ambulance on a stretcher. It was amazing to see all of the crazy reporters climbing on fences trying to get a good picture of the guy. 

The bull run was an item that we specifically planned our trip around and it was truly one of the craziest things we have ever experienced. The energy in the city of Pamplona was amazing and the bull run itself was an experience that we will never forget.

Stop 5 - La Rioja Region: After watching the bull run, we got a quick breakfast in Pamplona and started our journey towards Zaragoza. On our way, we took a detour through the La Rioja region which is known to be some of the beautiful Spanish wine country. It was amazing to see fields of grapevines for miles.

Stop 6 - Parque Grande, José Antonio Labordeta: Since we ended up getting to do all that we wanted to do at the San Fermin Festival the day before, we were able to get into Zaragoza earlier than expected. Randomly, we ended up eating lunch at an American-style mall and found a Southern California taco shop for lunch. While that may not sound exciting to most, having not had Mexican food in a LONG time, we were excited for this unexpected surprise. After the mall, we dropped our gear off at the hotel and headed to Parque Grande. The kids were excited to run free and explore the park. After exploring for a bit, we rented a 4-person bike and finished our excursion with some ice cream cones and duck-watching.


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