Terceira - Running of the Bulls

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June 24th 2014
Published: August 27th 2014
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First running of the bulls for us today. This one is for the kids. It was held on the beach so harder for the bulls to run. The bulls are smaller, and are ‘contained’ by a long rope. It was strange as the bulls really wanted to run into the water and swim, but the guys on the rope kept pulling them out. I watched a few but then as both bulls and people had not been hurt, went for a walk up the street so that I didn’t risk seeing anything or one get hurt. It’s not really my thing to watch, but so very steeped in tradition here – they don’t kill the bulls anymore in the Azores, and don’t poke and prod them with spears (out here in the streets, but think they still might in the arenas) and all the kids are encouraged to join in (especially the teenagers – almost like a rite of passage) There are fireworks here – very loud, but nothing to see, just a big explosion in the sky. One blast announces that the bull is out and running and two are set off to sound the all clear!!

24th June

Second running of the bulls. This time it was far more serious!! There was a set path for the bulls to run – about a couple of kms of road with side streets blocked off and they ran in a circle around and back to the start. We were told just to ask someone with a balcony if we could join them as it had the potiential to be very dangerous –and we’d seen the video footage (in every single shop in every street) of running of the bulls in Azores. Someone was going to collect us and take us there, but with only an hour to go, we decided we better find our own way. As it was, the place was already packed when we got there. Not being able to find a spare balcony, we found a thin wall to stand on with a very wobbly fence behind it that moved every time someone leaning against it moved. The wall was probably 8ft high, but I’d seen the footage – and that was not high enough!! The bull running lasted a good 2 hours, and my heart was pumping fast that whole time. I wrote another little story re the Running of the Bulls but won’t include it here for now. I still don’t like this event for myself, but hey, I’m not going to criticize another person’s culture or customs. This one at least was more fair as the bulls weren’t restrained and no one was allowed to hurt the bulls.

28th June

There was another bull running today just down at the end of the marina – we could see it from the boats which was good as I didn't feel like going anywhere. They had bigger bulls this time and had them tied back with a rope, however, this time, there were 4 men about after about 50m of rope and then another 4 men 50m behind them. I only watched the first bull running as it was quite controlled with the ropes. This time they had stacks of tyres for the bulls to attack, and floating pontoons in the water that the men stood on and the bulls attacked. I didn't see it (thankfully) but apparently the bull ran up the road and actually got a man. The guys didn't see it properly, but saw him flung 2-3m in the air.

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