Monday, July 11, 2016

Spain, Day 3

This morning we got up, had another very acceptable hotel breakfast, and took a short cab ride to the train station.  Trains in Spain are easy and straightforward and we followed what appeared to be a giant group of middle schoolers through what passes for security and onto the train.  Our ticket agent didn't get us seats together, which was a tiny bit annoying, but since at least half of us slept the whole way, not a major problem.  Lyle reports he was unable to sleep because the beastly woman sitting next to him (reminder, we were NOT sitting together) kept elbowing him in the side the whole trip.  So far, the only Spanish Lyle reliably knows is:  "My wife is very, very crazy."  He says this whenever he finds English insufficient to his task.

The only drama we had on the train was that the exit we'd lined up by didn't seem to open, and we we (and a bunch of other people) had to hustle back through the train car to another door before we accidentally went on to the next stop.  We walked out of the station and immediately saw a guy sitting on a fence holding up a "Spyns" sign.  He already had a Canadian family with him, and he picked us out with no trouble.  "Henry" walked us over to the van, gave us ice cold waters, and drove us to our hotel.  He went over our package with us, reviewing our agenda, and then left us to settle in until our walking tour later.

We had enough time to find the local supermarket and buy pastries and water for lunch before the van picked us up again and drove us from our hotel (which is situated a ways away from the part of town where the partying goes on) to the headquarters hotel right in the middle of it.  The festival feel was immediately apparent.  If Barcelona smells like NYC, Pamplona smells like RAGBRAI.

We met the rest of the group and Ryan - Spyns' owner - took us on a walk around the bull run and festival area.  The bulls will start in the holding pens and then make the approximately half mile run to the bullring for the fights that evening.  Here's us at the pens.

The walk ended at the entrance to the bull ring, where he left us with these instructions, "Give me a five minute head start and then find your way back to the rendezvous bar.  This is a test."  After the runs, everyone has to be back to this bar by 9am for a headcount.  Not being able to find it is not an excuse.

We wandered back through a small taste of the partying that is to come.  Still wall-to-wall white.

At the rendezvous, we did the beer and sangria thing.  Lyle managed to get sangria on himself, so now he looks like an official festival goer.  Rob and Rebecca decided to stay and actually enjoy the festival while the sticks-in-the-mud went back to the hotel.

After a nap, we had dinner at the hotel restaurant.  Although Ryan actually recommended the restaurant here, and although we are in no way above eating in hotel restaurants, this one was only so-so and we probably wouldn't eat there again.  Oh well.

Tomorrow we'll be watching the bull run from a balcony above it.  The shuttle picks us up at 0645, so goodnight for now!

No comments:

Post a Comment