Fri 17 Sep 2010 18:52
40:21.3N 00:24.2E

G: Today we arrived at Peñiscola which, how much you try to pronounce it differently, sounds like 'Penis-Cola'. 

We anchored close to the beach and had a nice view of the beach and the town. We noticed that the beach and streets were fenced off, so when we heard a start signal (in the form of a loud explosion in the air) we were waiting for marathon runners or bikers through the streets and over the sandy beach. Some people were indeed running, but they were not wearing shorts and had a fearsome look in their eyes, something you expect to see near the finish line, but not at the start... A minute later it all became clear when a big black bull was running on the beach and a brown one through the streets! 

Later, when we went ashore for dinner, we learnt that there was a local yearly festival. This night was the last night of a week's feast and would be 'celebrated' by lighting up a bull's horns(!?). It did not sound like much fun, but the waitress promised that it would not be killed and there would be no harm done. At 23:30 the whole village was grouped in an arena, and those who had no seats (like us) would stand under the tribune, only protected and separated from the bull by a few iron bars. 

They brought a big bull in the arena and placed torch-like things on his horns and lit them up. The bull went nuts and people tried to attract the bull's attention and have it chase them. 

... Part of traveling is to learn about other cultures. Although they might seem strange and go against what you believe, the alternative is to live in a world filled with McDonald and H&M on every corner.