Toro Loco and Hemingway


No, I am not swearing.  Bull, it’s exactly  the first thing that greeted me at the hotel in Bilbao. It can be an imposing figure for a foreigner like me.

Bull at Hotel Bilbao

Speaking of bulls, Pamplona is famous with Running with the Bulls.  It is a traditional seven-day festival celebration in honour of Saint Fermin.  The practice consists of group of men running in front of the six bulls that have been let loose.  Some literally get hurt or killed in this run. The men are dressed in white with red bandana tied to their neck.  Maybe they had something to drink to give them enough courage to do such silly things.

Crazy or what?

In the end, the bulls goes to the bullring where they would be killed by the bull fighters.  In the olden days, the dead bulls were actually sold off to the market for human consumption.  As for the current practice, I have no idea whether they still carry this tradition or is it just another game of bravado.

Pamplona people are “loco” (crazy) about their bulls.

As for “loco”, apparently a famous writer was crazy about Pamplona.  This person has put Pamplona on the map not because he ran with the bulls but due to his writing.  Ernest Hemingway.  Here, he wrote his book The Sun Also Rises.

Outside the bullring, it is easy to find him.  A proud looking sculpture head figure of Hemingway stands and I discovered that he once worked for Toronto Star.

Not only that.  In one of the restaurants, the first thing I see as I enter is a full brass figure of him standing at the bar.  At the bar, he is chasing the “bulls” of his soul away or to adjust his way of thinking.  To quote:  “I drink to make other people more interesting.”

No kidding.  I wonder if this is what he saw after a drink or two: Toro Loco.

“It is good to have an end to journey toward but it is the journey that matters, in the end.”  ~ Hemingway.

“You can’t get away from yourself by moving from one place to another. There’s nothing to that.'” ~ Chapter 2, The Sun Also Rises, Ernest Hemingway

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14 thoughts on “Toro Loco and Hemingway

  1. I’m so jealous! I am a HUGE Hemingway fan. Would love to visit there some day. (Hmmm, just had a post idea.) Not sure about the bulls, though. Seems cruel. I don’t think that would fly in the States! Enjoyed this post!

  2. Great post, P! I like the way you put everything together … fantastic, as usual! And indeed, loco is the perfect word! This is one of those sports that I really don’t understand! 🙂

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