Carnival Del Toros
My friends and I went to Ciudad Rodrigo for their annual Carnival Del Toros in mid February. Throughout this carnival, their main attraction is the man-made bullfighting arena in the middle of the town’s square. The carnival commences with the traditional running of the bulls. The town’s clock tower signals when the bulls were set free to run through the streets. Throughout this run, people egged on the bulls by running in front of them, or simply stopping right in the bulls tracks. Risky…yes but, this is not like the running of the bulls in Pamplona. Instead they let only a few bulls out and there was plenty of room for the thrill seekers to run away to safety. Only about 5 bulls ran, each of them running through the town into the square and back, accompanied by the fighters who had long sticks that poked them in the right direction. Then later on in the evening, there would be a bull-fight in the arena that lasted all night.
Watching a professional bull flight can be hard to watch to say the least. Many Matadors antagonize the bull until they slay it with a sword. I was warned that even though I want to get the whole Spanish experience, bullfighting is one I could miss out on. One person compared the legalization of bullfighting to the legalization of guns in the US “it’s the way it’s always been and something many people can’t imagine giving up.” My friends and I did not attend the fight but the party outside the arena lasts all night! I suggest getting there around dinnertime and be prepared to stay until the sun comes up. There is a huge beer tent that only opens after 12 and all kinds of food all night. The only problem is that it is about an hour away from Salamanca (where we stayed.) So we took a bus to the carnival and then a taxi back late at night, the taxi was about 80 euros but we split it 5 ways. We were definitely the only Americans at the carnival, which made it feel like we got an authentic Spanish experience.
Such a nice get away from Madrid! Salamanca was smaller and had a lot more charm with its old cobble stone roads and old cathedrals. The architecture in Salamanca was unbelievable, we walked around entire city in awe. Salamanca had more of a college town vibe, it has a lot of young people most studying abroad there.
Erasmus hostel I recommend staying here, it was walking distance to everything, super clean and had breakfast included.
Some sites include:
Plaza mayor de Salamanca Just like the plaza mayor of Madrid, it is one big square filled with restaurants and shops! We got ice cream and sat in the sun in the plaza.
Casa de las Conchas- This is a shell-covered Palace! We did not go in but it was beautiful from the outside.
The new cathedral of Salamanca – this you literally can’t miss it’s a huge cathedral with bells at every hour and the roman bridge of Salamanca.