Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Camino Eve

It's sort of a cross between waiting for a big trial to begin and going to sleep-away camp for the first time, with a dash of Christmas Eve thrown in -- a mixture of anticipation and anxiety. Happily, it matters a lot less than a big trial, and I'm better prepared to deal with new challenges than when I went to 4H Camp for the first time at age eight (and didn't change my clothes the whole week, despite my Mom's careful packaging of daily outfits; I promise to do better this time).
The first plaque to the right celebrates the Camino de Santiago for offer a path westward under the Milky Way to Santiago de Compestela ("field of stars") and the remains of Saint James, which were carried in a boat the length of the Mediterranean (in a week!) after he was beheaded by Herod and buried eight miles inland, where they were forgotten for 800 years until rediscovered and sanctified.
The second plaque, set in the stone wall of the narrow calle that runs downhill past the Plaza de Santiago, reports that several moments before the start of the Encierro or Running of the Bulls every July, the participants pause for a moment to pray for Saint Fermin, the patron saint of Pamplona, to protect them when the the bulls come thundering down upon them. Seems like an unnecessary imposition on San Fermin, who surely has more deserving supplicants in need. What ever happened to assumption of the risk? It's not reported what the participants pray for before the Running of the Nudes, an event just as the name describes which happens two days before the Bulls do their thing. PETA sponsors the event to promote awareness of animal rights. But shouldn't they let the Bulls chase the Nudes, if they really want to maximize animal happiness?