Running With Los Toros Part 1: From Under The Roman Sun

The Adventures of Curious Joey: Day 1

It was yet another clear summer evening, and tonight I did not go to work. Rather, met friends for drinks in Campo De Fiori, the piazza below my apartment. This piazza, which served as a concrete park, was the pulsating heart of tourist night life. My current job demanded a fine hustle of any and every tourist whom dare step Rome’s cobblestones. This was in part reason to make the bustling square home.

Roads, sidewalks and parking spots all converged to be one sprawled beneath and between the shortly stacked buildings. This was the downtown of historic Rome. Most windows were draped with potted flowers or lines of linens. House keep for these galleries of living space was seemingly simpler. They possessed less of the non-essentials.

By the moment the sun first laid light upon the thousands of sculptures of Rome’s bygones, the piazza began to buzz. It was the very same sun that beat down upon the likes of Julius Caesar, Mussolini, and all of the Roman Papacy. Campo D’fiori was centered by a steel statue of the heretical Giordano Bruno. Bruno stood darkly stern, hooded and elevated from the market that appeared each early morning. Fresh fruit and vegetables for half a euro, seldom much more.

Biting into a nectarine, I can’t figure if the bursting flavors on my tongue and the juices dancing in a tingle was caused by dehydration. Quenching, refreshing, exuberayting everything from lips to tummy. Chills flashed up my spine.

Prosciuttos and cheeses, the best in all of the Old Country, were hooked and hanged on display for the public to purchase.

As we sat, chatting over drinks- it was not the early morning yet and there was no market at this hour. None of the market I mention will exist for a few more hours. The clock had just reset and sunlight was as far away as possible. The night was only a bambino.

Accordions romanticized the piazza’s patrons who’s stomachs were soaked with wines and hearts filled by fantasy. Love on their minds and delight in their voices, the piazza played theater and song dazzled the square.

After about an hour with our pub-crawl posse, skulling away the patruice that used to burden our cups, I was called out, and mocked, again. I did not go to Spain for the festival of San Fermin, to run with the bulls, as I swore I would. I thought I would, but I didn’t and my friends would not let me forget it.

Elaina, a gal I drank with occasionally, too was shamed to not follow through on the same San Fermin assertions. Our friends taunted us, and they were rankling. The ability to easily irk is in the blood of a good pub crawl worker. It wasn’t just an instinct but a product of perpetual practice.

One can argue the most compelling facts, but pubcrawl-workers used words as weapons. At will, venal homicide, a man unprepared will be left stoned, stunned, stuffed. But, no matter who utters what words, actions speak more.

Elaina and I gave up on giving excuses.
We’d soon smother the gut-wrenching regret. My pride spoke out for us both.

“We’re going to the festival” very matter-of-factly

“Yeah right mate, the festival is over in 60 hours. You’re here in Italy.
– no plane ticket
– no hostels reserved
– you probably don’t even know where in Spain the running of el toros is.

He was right… 100%

However, in the midst of our intoxicated excitement, we stampeded up to my flat and booked our flight to Spain. We will go to the festival of San Fermin.

Both with an 80 euro plane ticket now purchased, a final filling of our cups and a clock that cooed 2:30 A.M., the table was now fully set of an adventure de La’spagna.

Not until the blaring screams of my alarm at 6:10 A.M. do we realize what we had l actually committed to.

Our flight is paid for and cannot be canceled. We tossed some essentials together in my draw-string bag and the journey began. The first four hours were rough on the body, but flawless as far as travel is concerned. However, we haven’t the slightest inclination where the city of Pamplona (location of festival) is… still. we were flying into Barcelona. The good news is, they’re both in Spain. We knew this with confidence. And- we hadn’t committed to any accommodations, which is good for cash flow. I had about €300, cash. “It’ll work out.”: the inherent assumption of a backpacker.

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