Pamplona, Spain

Trip Start May 14, 2006
Trip End Sep 29, 2006

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Saturday, July 8, 2006

Well let me tell you, all of the stories are true. The running of the bulls turned out to be one of the craziest things I have ever seen and probably will see. We left Barcelona at 10 PM on the 7th and arrived in Pamplona at about 530 in the morning on the 8th. When we first arrived we were amazed to see how many people were actually still up drinking at partying. During the running of the bulls the party doesn't stop. You can find people to drink and party with at any time of the day or night. Originally, we planned to watch the running of the bulls that first morning but we actually missed most of it because it took us much longer to check in our bags than we had first thought. Instead we went and bought some beer and just walked around the town trying to get acclimated to our new surroundings. Another thing, this city is the dirtiest thing you will ever see during the festival period. Their is so much trash that you cant even describe it, people peeing and puking everywhere, crime is horrible and it smells like ass, but what does that all spell, FUN!!! This past weekend has got to be one of the longest of my life, with only about 3 hours of total sleep over a 72 hour period. Eric and I both took a nap in the park later that day for about an hour and that was about it. That night we just walked around and would hang out with small groups of people for short periods of time and then move on. I was very surprised at how few foreigners there were at the running of the bulls and very few Americans so this made it somewhat difficult to find people to hang out with. If you had a large group of people this would be the best party to go to. I tried to find some people from a backpacking Europe web site that I belong to but they were all a no show. That night, the 8th, we tried to get some sleep in the park but it was freezing cold and very hard to sleep. I may have gotten about an hour and a half but not much more. During the middle of the night, some guy started going through Eric's pockets looking for valuables but luckily we had locked them all up prior to going to sleep.

We woke up that morning to go and figure out what we wanted to do. I hadn't decided at that time whether or not I was going to run with the bulls but I eventually decided not to because of my medical condition and the fact that I still have 3 months to go before returning home and that if I got hurt, that would most definitely mean returning home the trip would be over. Eric found the place where he wanted to start his run and I headed to the arena where the bulls end their run. I found a spot inside the arena and I was surrounded by some of the craziest people ever. One thing about the Spaniards that were there was that they would do drugs everywhere. I pretty sure that the guy next to me was snorting coke next to a couple and their 2 kids. I didn't really know what to think about that. It was a little funny though because a lot of people say that they have run with the bulls, but in all actuality have not. People were entering the arena from the bull run like 2 or 3 minutes before any bulls had even arrived. Once the bulls arrived they just went straight through the arena and exited out the other side. This does not mean the fun is over. After a minute or two, they let smaller and younger bulls out into the arena to try their best at catching the daring people remaining in the center of the arena. This was very fun to watch from a spectators standpoint. Everybody was always rooting for the bulls and when they would get somebody down or flip somebody in the air the crowd would go crazy, it was great. One thing that a lot of people don't know is that to the Spanish people, any touching of the bull is incredibly disrespectful. Their was one Austrialian that thought it would be a good idea to grab the horns of one of the bulls and attempt to tackle it but it didn't take long from him to figure out that this was wrong. As soon as he lost his grip, other people were kicking and punching him in the face.

All in all the festival was great but I couldn't handle much more. It would have been a lot more fun had I been in a larger group but it was still a good time. We are in Biarritz now and their is a small chance that we may go back to Pamplona for a night but Im not sure at this point. Staying here and laying on the beach sounds much more appealing to us right now. Most likely we are going to head to southern France and just take our time until we meet my mom in Nice on the 20th. We both love France because of the food and people and I think that is probably what we are going to do.

PS We went to the casino last night and I was up 400 euros but gave it all back in 3 hands. Oh well, my professional gambling career is going to have to wait.
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mcchief on

Watch out for the bull.
Nice to have you back. Sounds like you had a good couple of weeks. I think I told you about the worst and best rounds of golf in a three day period. We have had our summer. Ten days of sunshine and now back to the rain. Your mom and I have a golf tournament this Saturday. She shot a 91 at Legion on Sunday so she can carry the team on Saturday. It is a Camano Island Fire Dept Tournament so we should be ok. We play at Camaloch which could be interesting. All is well at home. Riley is happy and we see Acacia very rarely. Your mother got all of the slides and 8mm movies from her grandmother and is going through them to make CD's for everyone. There have to be a thousand slides and 40-50 movies. She has it all set up in your room. You may have to stay in Europe a few extra months so she can finish the project.
I think I told you we the RYAN D. LACEY COUCH bronzed. It looks real good but is not too comfortable.
Riley is trying to play tug-o-war as I type. He misses you coming up the driveway everyday.
Good plan with the bulls. If you change your mind, run like the wind.
Love you and miss you,

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