2) Don’t Touch

Jun 23, 2011
Outside Magazine
The 'pastores,' or herders

The 'pastores,' or herders, walking down CalleEstafeta with their long sticks as they inspect the "encierro" course.    Photo: Copyright Jim Hollander, not to be reproduced in any form

In T.V. footage you may have seen men stationed all along the course wearing green, three-button, collared shirts with Pastores written across the back. Pastores translates to shepards. Like shepherds, they carry thin, 5-foot-long willow canes in their hands. Those canes draw blood in bright explosive spatters. If you touch a bull the Pastores will not hesitate to swing that cane down and splay open your hand. Unfortunately, that probably won't be the end of it. It isn't unheard of for every Spanish runner in the general vicinity to stop, turn around, and beat someone down to the cobblestones. This is their tradition. You are a guest at their party. The bulls are sacred to these men. Respect the bovine.

Filed To: Culture, Travel, Spain

More at Outside

Elsewhere on the Web

Not Now

Got Wanderlust?

Escape your daily grind with Outside’s best getaways.

Thank you!