Death in the Afternoon

I mentioned in an earlier post that good fortune often comes my way on my travels. I should have suspected something was amiss this morning when I boarded my bus to Logroño and a minute later another bus coming into the station crashed into my bus, breaking the gull wing mirror and sending cracks propagating though the windscreen. But not so bad that we did not make the trip. Then on arrival in Logroño I realized I had fallen for the “hotel looks like it is in the center of town but is actually two miles away“ trick again. After a complicated process of front desk discussions, phone calls, website visits and chatbot messaging, I cancelled it for a hotel that actually was in town.

Going back to Logroño was like a trip back in time. I went through many of the towns I trekked through on the Camino and saw many pilgrims on the trail. It was like watching my hike in reverse. By the way, you need a mask to ride the bus in Spain. Luckily, I had one. But the poor old fellow in front of me did not and the driver harassed him but eventually gave him one to wear.

The reason I came back to Logroño was to go to a bullfight, particularly the one today which featured Roca Rey, a bullfighter from Peru. And as luck would have it (my luck turned for the good again), I sat next to a couple, of which the woman was from Peru and the man was from Barcelona. We had a great chat this afternoon. There was also a fellow who was oenologist from Bodega Beronia with a friend who is an ex-rugby player. I have already planned a trip to Logrono to visit the bodega while attending the Rugby World Cup next year!

The bullfight was about as good as it gets. Morante de la Puebla struggled with the first bull, which lacked all instinct, and mercifully, but poorly, put it away. Diego Urdiales had a good bull and fought well, but the kill was long and messy. Then came Roca Rey who fights in the extravagant style that I remember of Espartaco many decades ago, though Roca is not quite so daring. He had a good fight but could not place the sword. Morante was up again, but upon a few charges it was evident the bull was cojo, or weak-kneed, so he kept stumbling. After hoots from the crowd, the President allowed a substitute bull. Too bad, because the crippled bull had a lot of fight in him. The replacement bull was an outstanding animal and Morante knew it. He fought him very well and the kill was good. He got an ear.

Diego Urdiales was up for his second bull and put on a very good show. The kill was good. He got two ears, but deserved only one and a half. However, he is a Rioja local and so has the home field advantage. Then it was up to Roca Rey to justify his position as the top billed fighter of the day. The fight made the day. It was a great bull, maybe a bit to heavy, the picadors professional, banderilleros efficient, and Roca Rey dominated the bull. The kill was clean. The bull did not give up his life quickly. Roca Rey was awarded two ears.

The grape harvest fiesta de San Mateo was in full swing and I would have loved to party the night away. However, I got my bullfight fix and am anxious now to get back on the Camino. I love the early morning departures and sunrises, followed by breakfast on the trail and walking and encounters while walking, and the arrival to a new town. It is all good.

6 thoughts on “Death in the Afternoon

  1. How will you ever settle into ‘normal’ again, el peregrino? The space between before sunrise and after sunset has become so textured with faith, feast and hard working feet….
    Your blog has become a lovely part of our day!


  2. I have indeed – praise be to God – attained my desire in this world, which was to travel through the earth, and I have attained in this respect what no other person has attained to my knowledge.

    – Ibn Battuta

    Enjoy your journey Pops! Love reading the adventures you share!


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