Taking the Bull by the Horns

Today was epic! Today’s blog is cow themed. 

We started late again after a night in a beautiful new albergue. Breakfast was layed out for us to help ourselves and joy of joys, we had sliced bread instead of the usual hard rolls and biscuits. We ate toast with honey and Colleen was really excited to sit down with a real cup of English tea. 

It was again a little difficult to find our way out of town because the markings are so sparsely placed, but we soon found ourselves out on a country path and waiting for the sun to rise again. Each morning has been such a treat and it is so hard to put the camera away as the sun tosses its golden blanket over the grass and catches its threads in the branches of the trees. It is the highlight of each day for me.​​

​​Enjoying the crisp morning air​, we jaunted along, chatting away and not paying attention, and we found ourselves confronted by two very large dogs. They circled us and Colleen went into panic mode, hastening the pace until we got to the top of the hill. We turned to see that there was an arrow pointing in the other direction, and we had to go back and pass the dogs again. I coaxed Colleen through it (she is terrified of dogs)and when we were on the right path, the dogs just turned and went back where they came from. Our first Camino angels for the day!…. They were telling us we were going the wrong way! Amazing!

So we resumed our brisk pace. Every morning I’m like a bull at a gate for the first couple of hours but then I slow down as the sun warms up. It was another beautiful walk in dappled shade and warm sun with a gentle breeze.  We climbed steadily and followed the old Roman pathways, past huge granite rocks and ancient Roman markers.

All was well with the world until we reached the paddock full of bulls. I discovered that Colleen has a phobia about cows. She copes with looking at them in the distance but this was different. A large black bull with very pointy horns locked eyes with her and she froze. I grew up on a farm and I was quite happy to walk over and shoo him away but fear had gripped poor Colleen and she was fully engaged in a massive panic attack. She wouldn’t let me leave her behind the tree and she was retching, sweating, shaking and almost crying with fear, clinging onto my backpack. It was awful!  I tried to get her to quietly walk past the bull but it was impossible so we retreated to the shade and waited until he moved to the other side of the path. She rolled her red t shirt up to her underarms fearing the bull would charge at her and I led the way slowly past, advising her to look at her feet and not the bull, and soon the crisis was over. We reached the gate and she was absolutely white and so embarrassed at her irrational but very real fear. 

BUT….OMG. More bulls in this paddock too. I looked at Colleen and realised she was truly gripped with fear, so we took the long route and walked around the boundary fence behind them all, Colleen almost breaking a speed record as she sure footed her way across the uneven ground towards the exit. 

With a huge sigh of relief, we went through the next gate and were confronted by an even larger bull of immense proportions, larger horns, and eyes of steel. It was almost the end of Colleen! She ran, crying and retching towards the next gate and we made it to safety. She could barely talk as her mouth was so dry and her heart was racing. Poor Colleen. Hence the name of my blog and the way she faced her fear. So proud of my poor friend for dealing with it and not running away! She took this photo after we got to safety as she was in survival mode at the time!

The official markers all show the iconic Roman arch with the Camino path going through it. This was our destination today. For us it was like reaching Santiago! 

Surrounding this arch are the ruins of the Roman city of Capara. It is fenced off as the archaeologists are digging it out and I’m sure it will be quite a spectacular site to visit in the future we walked on Roman roads today and saw lots of Roman way markers. This place is fascinating!

6 Replies to “Taking the Bull by the Horns”

  1. Hello Moo Two!! Holy cow (s!) what an experience! Poor Colleen, i feel a bit like that about pigs!! ( i think its because of a connection with “Lord of The Flies”!! ) immensly detest their bristles and teeth and beady spooky tiny blue eyes!!
    Glad u made yr escape! -what ? ! Three times!!!! But i guess dogs and bulls are all integral parts of the country side of Spain- yr handling of the situation was wonderful- always a great and caring friend Stotty…her fear sounds so terrifyling- poor Colleen.. hope she s recovered by now…
    Am so loving these photos, had no knowledge that the Roman s footprints were in Spain like this, amazing just doesnt cut it, does it.. those landmarks are gobsmackingly wondrous..
    Okay, keep on keeping on, but i know you will.. love, meg xxxx

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  2. Oh, how I identified with Colleen’s fear and her panic and terror…..I also had a very similar experience just recently whilst walking The West Highland Way – I was absolutely terrified, even of the cows and, at one stage, one of my walking mates, Bettina, who is much younger than me and whose occupation is that of VET, had to come back and take my hand and lead me through field after field of these, as I thought of them at the time, ‘wretched animals’……To say that I was a quivering mess was to put it mildly. Anyway….just loving your posts and hope to see these in book form on day???? My favourite photo from today is the picture of the acorns with their little hats on.

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  3. Thank you Maggie. I’m surprised you weren’t subjected to a torrent fo F….’s, that’s the usual reaction to bulls and heights and dogs and …..

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  4. Superb: to Colleen for the triumph over her nemeses, dogs and bulls, and to Margaret for another string of achingly beautiful photographs, and the narrative, straight off the hip. Keep this up, and I am sure to run out of superlatives.Oh, how enjoyable the days of the Camino.

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