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A Bovine Incident - todo toro

timr

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Several and counting...
I'm separating this, but I'll link to it from my Live from the Camino thread.

Two bits of background.

First, I'm a city person at heart. From Liverpool. I love the sound of the bin lorry as much as the dawn chorus. I live in a very rural part of Ireland. It's like parts of the Camino, but with less bars and less Internet. And more rain. I live with >200 cows. I don't like them though they may not know this. It may be that cows like me. Last year, near to Santiago, as I sat outside a bar,with 80 others, a passing cow left the pack and picked me alone out for several big licks. Maybe I smell of cows.

Second, I've been learning Spanish very intently since February. I go to a class once a week. Where I live (see above) there are no hispanohablantes. For conversation practice I talk to myself while running or while driving. At length. I talk out loud. There is no one to hear. I'm past being embarrassed if anyone does hear me. As I walk along in Spain I've continued practising. Remember after five days I haven't set eyes on any other pilgrim.

I also practice pronunciation as I walk along. I say jara/jarra. Jara, I learned from Ray y Rosa, is broom (the plant), jarra is a pint (of beer), I learned with my nephew a couple of years ago in Astorga. I say pero/perro - I guess everyone knows that one. And I say todo/toro. To me they sound very alike. I'm trying to make them sound different. (Todo - all; toro - bull).

So on Sunday morning after a brisk, er...invigorating, knackering climb to Puerto Fuenfria, and a rest, and 20 mins real-life conversation practice with a young climbing lady from Bilbao, I was off. (In my defence I would add that my strategy for learning Spanish is working well.)

After 10 solid kms downhill I decided it was time for a break. I saw a shaded big concrete 'bunker' in a bit of a clearing in woodland and sat on it. I had a banana, some water and a barro energetico.

I felt at peace. I closed my eyes for a moment and listened to deafening birdsong and the distant tinkle of cowbells. I was having a moment. Suddenly I felt warm breath on my face. Very nice. I opened my eyes and looked up.

'Holy Mother!' as they say where I live. There was a bull, about 6 inches from my face. Not 6 feet, 6 inches. Not a cow. A bull. He didn't have a bell, but he lacked nothing else. One of my fields of expertise is human anatomy, but I have friends who are vets. This was a bull, not a bullock, nor a cow.

I really didn't know what to do. I did nothing but look into his large inscrutable eyes. He looked back.

By an astonishing coincidence the most unsympathetic man in Spain passed by on a mountain bike at this point. Older even than me. In Lycra. Past his personal Lycra sell by date, I felt. "¡Mire! ¡Un toro!" He roared with a cheery wave as he sped by.

I looked at the bull and the bull looked at me.

I run a lot around country roads and have twice met a bull on the road which does frighten me a bit. We have a farm manager where I live. Two years ago one of our prime bulls attacked him. The bull had great genes. Next day he was shot! Bulls are serious. The fact that a cow, of which we have >200 could 'sit on me to death' doesn't detract from the menace of bulls.

I looked at the bull and the bull looked at me.

Did I mention he had horns?

Slowly, after what seemed like a lifetime, he turned and moved on. In all honesty I was not paralyzed with fear, or overly shaken. But I was a bit more than uncomfortable.

I have mentioned before, discussing Baztan route, that I'm realistic about the finite risk of taking little-travelled routes. Strictly I have no dependants. If I fell off the road on the Baztan route and broke my leg, with no mobile coverage, I may not be found. I'm not a one for sawing off my arm with a penknife (though I have the training), however fashionable. I wouldn't eat my foot to stay alive. At the bottom of my pack there is a bar of superior chocolate. Quite separate from the barros energeticos. Without being overly morbid, it could make a nice last meal.

When the bull moved off on Sunday morning I ate half to celebrate, as I watched him set off in pursuit of his be-belled harem. I was fine.

I carried on and took off on a whim, off piste, to get to Valsaín. A beautiful restaurant in the little Plaza Major. Linen tablecloths. 120 seats. Estamos completo said the sign. Only 4 people eating? Ah! Spanish Mother's Day. I had the same experience in Campiello exactly a year ago. The lovely maitre d' saw my dusty, bedraggled, hot state and ushered me into the empty, closed comedor. An Argentinian restaurant. We discussed what I'd have. 'Pido' (I think) he recommended. 'You can't get it in a butchers.' Cow's diaphragm. Cooked as rare as can be. Metaphorically, to die for. I like to think it came from a close relation of my bull. It was stunningly good. Todo. Toro.

No animals were treated cruelly in this entirely true account.

Some days later there was an unrelated ovine incident.
 
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peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
Terrific story. I would have been frozen with fear. I have had to navigate my way through fields with bulls on the Vdlp, Salvador, Olvidado, and surely others I can't remember now. Once I just stopped walking and stood there, for at least a half hour, till he decided to move on. Another time I climbed up a sharp drop from the road, and wound up with a lot of scrapes and bruises. Your approach was much more intelligent and rational, @timr.

A Spaniard did once try to reassure me by saying that there is no way in the world that a "toro bravo" would ever be left loose. For one thing they are just way too valuable and expensive, and for another, the regulations on this are quite strict. I don't know why, but it really didn't calm my fears.

This incident makes our "dog events" seem trivial.
 

jerbear

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino de madrid, camino francis, camino inverino (2012, 2013,2014)
CdM, Francis, San salvador, primativo june 2015 CDM , francis, inverino 2016
Camino madrid, via de Plata. Santiago.
Coast of the dead malpica to muxia
I carry a small bell. When I encounter the bulls or cows for that matter. I ring my bell and the bovines scatter away from me.. You see they put the bell on the mean ones. So ring a my bell. It works great. Thank Angel. May you rest in peace.
 

notion900

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
>
@timr you have the soul of a poet. How I wish I was meandering the bovine infested byways of Spain with your good self.

I have been charged by a bull (next to the temple of Mithras on Hadrian's Wall, spookily). I charged right back and he turned to the side and stopped dead still. So I yelled and charged again and he ran away. Later I found out that showing the side is a bull's way of seeming bigger. :eek:

As a Doctor you must have enjoyed the diaphragm.
 

peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
@timr you have the soul of a poet. How I wish I was meandering the bovine infested byways of Spain with your good self.

I have been charged by a bull (next to the temple of Mithras on Hadrian's Wall, spookily). I charged right back and he turned to the side and stopped dead still. So I yelled and charged again and he ran away. Later I found out that showing the side is a bull's way of seeming bigger. :eek:

As a Doctor you must have enjoyed the diaphragm.

You know, I was already in awe of your cool calm collected-ness when confronted by the perv, but this story tops that by a mile!
 

bernhugo

Active Member
A long long while ago when I was still at school, a friend and I hitch hiked round Ireland. When we got to Galway Bay,we found a nice quiet field in which to pitch our tent.
Early the next morning we heard heavy breathing outside the tent Through the flap we saw a large beast and everything was intact. We lay as still and quiet as possible till he wandered away.
Then we ripped the tent down and threw all of our things over the wall going round the field, into the lane . we were sitting on top of the wall , getting our breath back.
The farmer appeared from a nearby house and remarked that we were leaving early, did we have somewhere to go?
We told him that we thought that his bull didn't want to share his field with us.
He laughed and said " -He's a dozy old sod, wouldn't hurt a fly. We let the local children come in and ride on him".!
 
Camino(s) past & future
CF SJPdP to SdC
(May 2015)
CF Sarria to SdC
(May 2016)
CF SJPDP-SdC
(May 2018)
VdlP (2022?)
I carry a small bell. When I encounter the bulls or cows for that matter. I ring my bell and the bovines scatter away from me.. You see they put the bell on the mean ones. So ring a my bell. It works great. Thank Angel. May you rest in peace.

Hmm ... Another item for the packing list !
Does anyone make 'Ultralite Hiking Bull Bells'? :oops:
 

jerbear

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino de madrid, camino francis, camino inverino (2012, 2013,2014)
CdM, Francis, San salvador, primativo june 2015 CDM , francis, inverino 2016
Camino madrid, via de Plata. Santiago.
Coast of the dead malpica to muxia
I carry a small size if a dime bell works well for me.
 
Camino(s) past & future
CF SJPdP to SdC
(May 2015)
CF Sarria to SdC
(May 2016)
CF SJPDP-SdC
(May 2018)
VdlP (2022?)
In Canada, we have Ultralite Hiking BEAR Bells. They might work.

I thought these looked rather fetching.........
I wonder if the size of the Bell has any bearing on its effectiveness? :oops:

 
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H

HighlandsHiker

Guest
You put that together beautifully. Hikers are probably like big salt licks to cattle, and a barro energetico probably has grain in it. Or maybe it was your zen state. What a story.

The first time across the Pyrenees, there were 146K winds and the livestock were all over the roads sheltering next to embankments. There was a herd of white, massive beasts in the road that were probably oxen, with horns. There was a steep hill on the left with no room to pass, and a sheer drop off of - oh, say, a few hundred feet on the right side. Never tried so hard to exude calm and goodwill while tiptoeing through them just hoping they kept that impassive bovine attitude for a few moments longer.
 

m108

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
2011-2016
Face it - animals loves you. Your self-esteem of "city person" is at stake :D!
(I enjoyed reading, glad I'm not in your place)
Buen Camino!
 

timr

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Several and counting...
A great story well told, Tim! I'm reading it on the bus to Dublin airport, en-route to my Camino. Couldn't have asked for better reading material - thank you!

And well done on staying so calm. I'd definitely have panicked.
Your great day has come. So you start Norte and then Baztan yes? Have a wonderful time! Weather has been brilliant. Greetings to the others when you meet up. T
 

David

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Moissac to Santiago Spring 2005 was the first foray.
Great story, really great.
I am scared of large animals - was attacked by a cow once ( a cow!), lifted up and thrown onto a barbed wire fence - the cow was so big and heavy there was nothing I could do to stop it - so am really nervous around them now. In the UK five people are killed by cows each year .. so I am wary.
Last year I went into a foot-pathed field and four cows with their young saw me and charged at me - protecting their calves I guess - I was so instantly scared that I ran straight at them, shouting - they stopped and, unlikely on a bovine face - looked quite bemused, turned away and walked off.
But I am still afraid - they are just too big and heavy and fast to be able to repel an attack.
 

timr

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Several and counting...
Great story, really great.
I am scared of large animals - was attacked by a cow once ( a cow!), lifted up and thrown onto a barbed wire fence - the cow was so big and heavy there was nothing I could do to stop it - so am really nervous around them now. In the UK five people are killed by cows each year .. so I am wary.
Last year I went into a foot-pathed field and four cows with their young saw me and charged at me - protecting their calves I guess - I was so instantly scared that I ran straight at them, shouting - they stopped and, unlikely on a bovine face - looked quite bemused, turned away and walked off.
But I am still afraid - they are just too big and heavy and fast to be able to repel an attack.
Yes David, it really isn't funny. Your own experience sounds horrible. I'm amazed you come back for more! But it's interesting how resilient we are,as a species I mean. We DO recover from frightening experiences. Take care!
 

timr

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Several and counting...
@timr you have the soul of a poet. How I wish I was meandering the bovine infested byways of Spain with your good self.

I have been charged by a bull (next to the temple of Mithras on Hadrian's Wall, spookily). I charged right back and he turned to the side and stopped dead still. So I yelled and charged again and he ran away. Later I found out that showing the side is a bull's way of seeming bigger. :eek:

As a Doctor you must have enjoyed the diaphragm.
Charging BACK at a bull really seems like advanced level stuff.:eek:
Diaphragm was lovely indeed.
I went to Sardegna once to meet up with two peregrinos I had walked with. Wonderful food. Astonishingly good. Including the intercostal muscles of cavallo. I've nothing against horses and none has ever treated me badly, but I did enjoy!
 
Camino(s) past & future
CF SJPdP to SdC
(May 2015)
CF Sarria to SdC
(May 2016)
CF SJPDP-SdC
(May 2018)
VdlP (2022?)
@tmr You might be from Liverpool, but at some stage you have certainly kissed the Blarney Stone :D

For those who have not yet kissed it...... ;)
http://www.blarneycastle.ie/pages/kiss-the-blarney-stone

My family (Father) originates from Co Wicklow by the way...... :eek:
I had a 'memorable' stint at High School in Dublin trying to learn Irish....... A lost cause.......
 
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notion900

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
>
Charging BACK at a bull really seems like advanced level stuff.:eek:
I didn't consciously decide to do it. Something in me was just absolutely outraged, like 'Damn that cheeky livestock! Get away!' But looking at it afterwards, there wasn't much other option, my friend and I had a barbed wire fence behind us. She will still gleefully tell the story now - she knew about the turning to the side thing, and tried to hide behind me when he did that. It was very like the scene in Withnail and I where he gets threatened by a bull - the farmer says 'Run at it, shouting!' Worked for me.
 

notion900

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
>
I ran straight at them, shouting
There you go. It does work. If cows have calves, they can be dangerous, especially if you have a dog with you. Not so much for goring, as for crushing / trampling. If the cows come at you, you are supposed to let the dog run away. I tend to make noise when I approach a herd so they have plenty of time to rearrange themselves so I am not between a cow and her calf. I learned this in Africa, where we were charged by a lady elephant when we accidentally got the jeep between her friend and the friend's calf.
 

Trude

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Francais 2013 Finnestere, Muxia 2013, 2017
Norte 2014, Francais, 2015, 2016, VDLP 2017
I'm separating this, but I'll link to it from my 'Live on the Camino'.

Two bits of background.

First, I'm a city person at heart. From Liverpool. I love the sound of the bin lorry as much as the dawn chorus. I live in a very rural part of Ireland. It's like parts of the Camino, but with less bars and less Internet. And more rain. I live with >200 cows. I don't like them though they may not know this. It may be that cows like me. Last year, near to Santiago, as I sat outside a bar,with 80 others, a passing cow left the pack and picked me alone out for several big licks. Maybe I smell of cows.

Second, I've been learning Spanish very intently since February. I go to a class once a week. Where I live (see above) there are no hispanohablantes. For conversation practice I talk to myself while running or while driving. At length. I talk out loud. There is no one to hear. I'm past being embarrassed if anyone does hear me. As I walk along in Spain I've continued practising. Remember after five days I haven't set eyes on any other pilgrim.

I also practice pronunciation as I walk along. I say jara/jarra. Jara, I learned from Ray y Rosa, is broom (the plant), jarra is a pint (of beer), I learned with my nephew a couple of years ago in Astorga. I say pero/perro - I guess everyone knows that one. And I say todo/toro. To me they sound very alike. I'm trying to make them sound different. (Todo - all; toro - bull).

So on Sunday morning after a brisk, er...invigorating, knackering climb to Puerto Fuenfria, and a rest, and 20 mins real-life conversation practice with a young climbing lady from Bilbao, I was off. (In my defence I would add that my strategy for learning Spanish is working well.)

After 10 solid kms downhill I decided it was time for a break. I saw a shaded big concrete 'bunker' in a bit of a clearing in woodland and sat on it. I had a banana, some water and a barro energetico.

I felt at peace. I closed my eyes for a moment and listened to deafening birdsong and the distant tinkle of cowbells. I was having a moment. Suddenly I felt warm breath on my face. Very nice. I opened my eyes and looked up.

'Holy Mother!' as they say where I live. There was a bull, about 6 inches from my face. Not 6 feet, 6 inches. Not a cow. A bull. He didn't have a bell, but he lacked nothing else. One of my fields of expertise is human anatomy, but I have friends who are vets. This was a bull, not a bullock, nor a cow.

I really didn't know what to do. I did nothing but look into his large inscrutable eyes. He looked back.

By an astonishing coincidence the most unsympathetic man in Spain passed by on a mountain bike at this point. Older even than me. In Lycra. Past his personal Lycra sell by date, I felt. "¡Mire! ¡Un toro!" He roared with a cheery wave as he sped by.

I looked at the bull and the bull looked at me.

I run a lot around country roads and have twice met a bull on the road which does frighten me a bit. We have a farm manager where I live. Two years ago one of our prime bulls attacked him. The bull had great genes. Next day he was shot! Bulls are serious. The fact that a cow, of which we have >200 could 'sit on me to death' doesn't detract from the menace of bulls.

I looked at the bull and the bull looked at me.

Did I mention he had horns?

Slowly, after what seemed like a lifetime, he turned and moved on. In all honesty I was not paralyzed with fear, or overly shaken. But I was a bit more than uncomfortable.

I have mentioned before, discussing Baztan route, that I'm realistic about the finite risk of taking little-travelled routes. Strictly I have no dependants. If I fell off the road on the Baztan route and broke my leg, with no mobile coverage, I may not be found. I'm not a one for sawing off my arm with a penknife (though I have the training), however fashionable. I wouldn't eat my foot to stay alive. At the bottom of my pack there is a bar of superior chocolate. Quite separate from the barros energeticos. Without being overly morbid, it could make a nice last meal.

When the bull moved off on Sunday morning I ate half to celebrate, as I watched him move off in pursuit of his be-belled harem. I was fine.

I carried on and took off on a whim, off piste, to get to Valsaín. A beautiful restaurant in the little Plaza Major. Linen tablecloths. 120 seats. Estamos completo said the sign. Only 4 people eating? Ah! Spanish Mother's Day. I had the same experience in Campiello exactly a year ago. The lovely maitre d' saw my dusty, bedraggled, hot state and ushered me into the empty, closed comedor. An Argentinian restaurant. We discussed what I'd have. 'Pido' (I think) he recommended. 'You can't get it in a butchers.' Cow's diaphragm. Cooked as rare as can be. Metaphorically, to die for. I like to think it came from a close relation of my bull. It was stunningly good. Todo. Toro.

No animals were treated cruelly in this entirely true account.


Rather you than me......
 

owms2323

Credential question
Camino(s) past & future
Camino de Frances (2014) Camino Frances (2016) Camino Finisterre/Muxia (2017)
I'm separating this, but I'll link to it from my 'Live on the Camino'.

Two bits of background.

First, I'm a city person at heart. From Liverpool. I love the sound of the bin lorry as much as the dawn chorus. I live in a very rural part of Ireland. It's like parts of the Camino, but with less bars and less Internet. And more rain. I live with >200 cows. I don't like them though they may not know this. It may be that cows like me. Last year, near to Santiago, as I sat outside a bar,with 80 others, a passing cow left the pack and picked me alone out for several big licks. Maybe I smell of cows.

Second, I've been learning Spanish very intently since February. I go to a class once a week. Where I live (see above) there are no hispanohablantes. For conversation practice I talk to myself while running or while driving. At length. I talk out loud. There is no one to hear. I'm past being embarrassed if anyone does hear me. As I walk along in Spain I've continued practising. Remember after five days I haven't set eyes on any other pilgrim.

I also practice pronunciation as I walk along. I say jara/jarra. Jara, I learned from Ray y Rosa, is broom (the plant), jarra is a pint (of beer), I learned with my nephew a couple of years ago in Astorga. I say pero/perro - I guess everyone knows that one. And I say todo/toro. To me they sound very alike. I'm trying to make them sound different. (Todo - all; toro - bull).

So on Sunday morning after a brisk, er...invigorating, knackering climb to Puerto Fuenfria, and a rest, and 20 mins real-life conversation practice with a young climbing lady from Bilbao, I was off. (In my defence I would add that my strategy for learning Spanish is working well.)

After 10 solid kms downhill I decided it was time for a break. I saw a shaded big concrete 'bunker' in a bit of a clearing in woodland and sat on it. I had a banana, some water and a barro energetico.

I felt at peace. I closed my eyes for a moment and listened to deafening birdsong and the distant tinkle of cowbells. I was having a moment. Suddenly I felt warm breath on my face. Very nice. I opened my eyes and looked up.

'Holy Mother!' as they say where I live. There was a bull, about 6 inches from my face. Not 6 feet, 6 inches. Not a cow. A bull. He didn't have a bell, but he lacked nothing else. One of my fields of expertise is human anatomy, but I have friends who are vets. This was a bull, not a bullock, nor a cow.

I really didn't know what to do. I did nothing but look into his large inscrutable eyes. He looked back.

By an astonishing coincidence the most unsympathetic man in Spain passed by on a mountain bike at this point. Older even than me. In Lycra. Past his personal Lycra sell by date, I felt. "¡Mire! ¡Un toro!" He roared with a cheery wave as he sped by.

I looked at the bull and the bull looked at me.

I run a lot around country roads and have twice met a bull on the road which does frighten me a bit. We have a farm manager where I live. Two years ago one of our prime bulls attacked him. The bull had great genes. Next day he was shot! Bulls are serious. The fact that a cow, of which we have >200 could 'sit on me to death' doesn't detract from the menace of bulls.

I looked at the bull and the bull looked at me.

Did I mention he had horns?

Slowly, after what seemed like a lifetime, he turned and moved on. In all honesty I was not paralyzed with fear, or overly shaken. But I was a bit more than uncomfortable.

I have mentioned before, discussing Baztan route, that I'm realistic about the finite risk of taking little-travelled routes. Strictly I have no dependants. If I fell off the road on the Baztan route and broke my leg, with no mobile coverage, I may not be found. I'm not a one for sawing off my arm with a penknife (though I have the training), however fashionable. I wouldn't eat my foot to stay alive. At the bottom of my pack there is a bar of superior chocolate. Quite separate from the barros energeticos. Without being overly morbid, it could make a nice last meal.

When the bull moved off on Sunday morning I ate half to celebrate, as I watched him move off in pursuit of his be-belled harem. I was fine.

I carried on and took off on a whim, off piste, to get to Valsaín. A beautiful restaurant in the little Plaza Major. Linen tablecloths. 120 seats. Estamos completo said the sign. Only 4 people eating? Ah! Spanish Mother's Day. I had the same experience in Campiello exactly a year ago. The lovely maitre d' saw my dusty, bedraggled, hot state and ushered me into the empty, closed comedor. An Argentinian restaurant. We discussed what I'd have. 'Pido' (I think) he recommended. 'You can't get it in a butchers.' Cow's diaphragm. Cooked as rare as can be. Metaphorically, to die for. I like to think it came from a close relation of my bull. It was stunningly good. Todo. Toro.

No animals were treated cruelly in this entirely true account.
Hahaha
 
Camino(s) past & future
Us:Camino Frances, 2015 Me:Catalan/Aragonese, 2019
I've enjoyed reading all these bovine adventures. I have none of my own to report but I want to pass on that T.S. Eliot, who is known for his light verse about cats, was afraid of cows. This fact became better known to the world at large when this poem was published not too long ago: The Country Walk
 

Pelegrin

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Primitivo June 2013
SJPP - Logroño June 2014
Ingles July2016
This bovine episode is extremely unusual in Spain. I have been walking Sierra de Madrid for more than 30 years and only three times I have been near free bulls, but not so near.
In the three ocasions, all of them were Limousin. That race is very tame so I didn´t have any problem. I think that in Tim's episode the bull was also Limousin (light brown color).
Talking about the famous Spanish black bull, I have never seen a single one free. I have seen some black cow herds free but without a bull.
I think that this one must be dangerous but I really don´t know. I mean the "toro bravo" for bullfights is a product of selected aggressive black cows. I think that "normal" black bulls must be tamer but anyway I wouldn´t like to find one in front of me, just in case.
 

timr

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Several and counting...
This bovine episode is extremely unusual in Spainr. I have been walking Sierra de Madrid for more than 30 years and only three times I have been near free bulls, but not so near.
In the three ocasions, all of them were Limousin. That race is very tame so I didn´t have any problem. I think that in Tim's episode the bull was also Limousin (light brown color).
Talking about the famous Spanish black bull, I have never seen a single one free. I have seen some black cow herds free but without a bull.
I think that this one must be dangerous but I really don´t know. I mean the "toro bravo" for bullfights is a product of selected aggressive black cows. I think that "normal" black bulls must be tamer but anyway I wouldn´t like to find one in front of me, just in case.
Definitely brown. I have a picture but have *never * succeeded in attaching one to a post.:( It's slightly reassuring to hear what you say, but only the same as when a dog is looking menacing and the owner says "he's just playing"!:);)
 

Oravasaari

Helsinki, Finland
Camino(s) past & future
2015 SJpdP to Fistera, 2016 Leon to Fistera, 2017 CF-Salvadore-Primitivo, 2018 CF run/walk
There were bulls loose on the Primativo up in the Hospitales in April this year. They did not seem interested in sweaty walkers at all. Light brown and cream colouring.
 

David

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Moissac to Santiago Spring 2005 was the first foray.
Can you recommend any particular song we might all learn?;)
[/QUOTE]

If you stand still in a field and continuously make the Aum sound aaummmmmmmmmmm they will all amble over, stand round you in a circle, and gaze at you - I found this out (in the uk) as part of my experimenting to get over this silly fear of them and it really works! (I will NOT be trying this in a Spanish field of black Toros!!!! ;) )
 
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susanawee

susanawee
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances-(2013/14/18
Camino Salvado Perth -(2015)
West Highland Way (2016)
Lyon France 2017
A Lovely story indeed.....you are obviously, even though you mentioned that you don't really like them, 'An Unconscious Bovine whisperer". All good wishes for a great walk as you continue along life's pathway
 

timr

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Several and counting...
I've enjoyed reading all these bovine adventures. I have none of my own to report but I want to pass on that T.S. Eliot, who is known for his light verse about cats, was afraid of cows. This fact became better known to the world at large when this poem was published not too long ago: The Country Walk
That's terrific. Thanks. Very interesting. I too am 'a timid town bred child'!
 
H

HighlandsHiker

Guest
Holy cow, David! Tested, verified, and wondrous strange. I pass herds of them everywhere out hiking and today decided to give it a go.....before I ran out of breath on the first long Aum, they all had their heads up and had started moving toward me. Instead of the circle (Crawling through that barbed wire fence just wasn't happening today....), they formed a perfectly straight line about 10 feet behind the fence all facing forward and stock-still. Even the calves. Maybe it really IS the sound of the universe:0)) .

Just for fun, I tried it later on a few horses, but I know their natures well and they aren't as easily enraptured as cows. Thanks for that interesting bit of information!
 

timr

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Several and counting...
Holy cow, David! Tested, verified, and wondrous strange. I pass herds of them everywhere out hiking and today decided to give it a go.....before I ran out of breath on the first long Aum, they all had their heads up and had started moving toward me. Instead of the circle (Crawling through that barbed wire fence just wasn't happening today....), they formed a perfectly straight line about 10 feet behind the fence all facing forward and stock-still. Even the calves. Maybe it really IS the sound of the universe:0)) .

Just for fun, I tried it later on a few horses, but I know their natures well and they aren't as easily enraptured as cows. Thanks for that interesting bit of information!
I'm going to have to try this with the 200 at home, when I get home. Even though I don't like them! I'll report back......
 
H

HighlandsHiker

Guest
I'm going to have to try this with the 200 at home, when I get home. Even though I don't like them! I'll report back......
I got a big laugh out of your saying that you didn't especially care for them, though they might not know that. I'm happy not to be in the middle of a close herd of them, especially if they're known to "sit on people to death". Will be interested to hear how it goes with the herd at home.... hopefully they won't just surround you and lick you like the cows in ?A Reboleira?
 

David

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Moissac to Santiago Spring 2005 was the first foray.
Holy cow, David! Tested, verified, and wondrous strange. I pass herds of them everywhere out hiking and today decided to give it a go.....before I ran out of breath on the first long Aum, they all had their heads up and had started moving toward me. Instead of the circle (Crawling through that barbed wire fence just wasn't happening today....), they formed a perfectly straight line about 10 feet behind the fence all facing forward and stock-still. Even the calves. Maybe it really IS the sound of the universe:0)) .

Just for fun, I tried it later on a few horses, but I know their natures well and they aren't as easily enraptured as cows. Thanks for that interesting bit of information!


Hahaha! Excellent! Brilliant isn't it .. makes you wonder about Hindus and cows in India .. I have tried it on horses too, also with no effect whatsoever! - though peppermint can get them onside, especially Polo mints! (doesn't work if they are charging right at you)
 

volleyjanice

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
08/2013 St. Jean Pied de Port-Belorado, 08/2015 Burgos- Santiago/Finisterre/Muxia, 08/18 Portugese
I'm sure we all appreciate you taking your life in your hands...or is that putting your life in it's hooves(?) so that we might enjoy the telling of this tale. Quite frankly I think my favourite part is your description of the lycra wearing cyclist! My husband is forever referring to the "wannabe peloton" cyclists that whip passed us on local trails. Now I know where they disappear to when they have reached their best before date!
 

timr

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Several and counting...
I'm sure we all appreciate you taking your life in your hands...or is that putting your life in it's hooves(?) so that we might enjoy the telling of this tale. Quite frankly I think my favourite part is your description of the lycra wearing cyclist! My husband is forever referring to the "wannabe peloton" cyclists that whip passed us on local trails. Now I know where they disappear to when they have reached their best before date!
It's extraordinary. At home, people put on a pair of old shorts and a T shirt to go cycling. Here 'everybody' looks like they are in the Tour de France or, indeed, La Vuelta.
I have to say though that cyclists in particular seem a pretty fit bunch. Trail cycling is hard work!
But still.........:p;)
 

Carlos Santiago

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
2018
It's extraordinary. At home, people put on a pair of old shorts and a T shirt to go cycling. Here 'everybody' looks like they are in the Tour de France or, indeed, La Vuelta.
I have to say though that cyclists in particular seem a pretty fit bunch. Trail cycling is hard work!
But still.........:p;)

I have stopped riding my bike. I still cannot imagine myself in Lycra; as a picture of a fat python halfway through shedding always comes to mind. :rolleyes: I am also of the put on a pair of old shorts and a T shirt genre, but like there, mountain bikers here look like they are in the Tour de France too. Oh, well...
 

Pelegrin

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Primitivo June 2013
SJPP - Logroño June 2014
Ingles July2016
You put that together beautifully. Hikers are probably like big salt licks to cattle, and a barro energetico probably has grain in it. Or maybe it was your zen state. What a story.

The first time across the Pyrenees, there were 146K winds and the livestock were all over the roads sheltering next to embankments. There was a herd of white, massive beasts in the road that were probably oxen, with horns. There was a steep hill on the left with no room to pass, and a sheer drop off of - oh, say, a few hundred feet on the right side. Never tried so hard to exude calm and goodwill while tiptoeing through them just hoping they kept that impassive bovine attitude for a few moments longer.

"There was a herd of white, massive beasts in the road that were probably oxen, with horns"

Interesting point . I've been thinking about this and I don´t think they were oxen because today in Spain and South France there are only two economic benefits from oxen. One of them is meat and the other is helping to conduct bulls in encierros (San Fermin) and bullfights.
Regarding meat, this is demanded by good restaurants especially in the Basque country that offer true "chuletón buey" (beef steak). In Spain, you often see in restaurants cheap chuletón de buey but for sure it is old cow. The true one must necessarily be very expensive.
There are only a few oxen for meat in Spain (most of them in Galicia) They stay most time indoors eating corn and their price for restaurants is between 5000 and 6000 euros (more or less the same as a toro bravo).
About the function "bull guide" I think that they must have some sort of training and therefore they can´t stay loose in the mountains either.
 
H

HighlandsHiker

Guest
"There was a herd of white, massive beasts in the road that were probably oxen, with horns"

Interesting point . I've been thinking about this and I don´t think they were oxen because today in Spain and South France there are only two economic benefits from oxen. One of them is meat and the other is helping to conduct bulls in encierros (San Fermin) and bullfights.
Regarding meat, this is demanded by good restaurants especially in the Basque country that offer true "chuletón buey" (beef steak). In Spain, you often see in restaurants cheap chuletón de buey but for sure it is old cow. The true one must necessarily be very expensive.
There are only a few oxen for meat in Spain (most of them in Galicia) They stay most time indoors eating corn and their price for restaurants is between 5000 and 6000 euros (more or less the same as a toro bravo).
About the function "bull guide" I think that they must have some sort of training and therefore they can´t stay loose in the mountains either.

Here we go. This looks just like them. Blonde des Pyrenees? Maybe just a garden variety cow, but they are massive, and it seemed as though they regarded me as a nuisance:0)).
 

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HighlandsHiker

Guest
Very handsome animals! I have a photo of mine but still don't know how to add it. It keeps asking me for a url.
You took a picture of a bull who was breathing on you........ I'm at a loss for words. Will look forward to seeing that beast when you get the upload worked out. I'm leaving in 3 days and am not sure I understand how people are using this forum from the road. I could get on from my iPhone, but it seems really unwieldy to navigate between sections and typing seems like it would take forever. Maybe people have their iPad minis with them?
 
H

HighlandsHiker

Guest

If you stand still in a field and continuously make the Aum sound aaummmmmmmmmmm they will all amble over, stand round you in a circle, and gaze at you - I found this out (in the uk) as part of my experimenting to get over this silly fear of them and it really works! (I will NOT be trying this in a Spanish field of black Toros!!!! ;) )[/QUOTE]
It's weirdly like being the master of your own cult following for a minute, isn't it:0)). As if they're expecting to be beamed up at your command.
 

timr

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Several and counting...
You took a picture of a bull who was breathing on you........ I'm at a loss for words. Will look forward to seeing that beast when you get the upload worked out. I'm leaving in 3 days and am not sure I understand how people are using this forum from the road. I could get on from my iPhone, but it seems really unwieldy to navigate between sections and typing seems like it would take forever. Maybe people have their iPad minis with them?
I've used iPhone and I have to say it is pretty hard work!:( But I wouldn't bring anything bigger myself.
 

Mike Savage

So many friends to meet . . . so little time
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Francés,Inglés
Muxia/Finisterre
Português Coastal
Português Central
Sanabrés
Wonderful story Timr, thanks for sharing. I hope you share it for years to come!
 
Camino(s) past & future
I live next to the Grand Châtenet section
I thought these looked rather fetching.........
I wonder if the size of the Bell has any bearing on its effectiveness? :oops:

The cows round here have what I'd say are fence stakes hanging of a chain around their neck. Not all just one in the field.
 

Marria

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
parts of Camino: Frances, del Norte, Finisterra, Mozarabe
I'm separating this, but I'll link to it from my Live from the Camino thread.

Two bits of background.

First, I'm a city person at heart. From Liverpool. I love the sound of the bin lorry as much as the dawn chorus. I live in a very rural part of Ireland. It's like parts of the Camino, but with less bars and less Internet. And more rain. I live with >200 cows. I don't like them though they may not know this. It may be that cows like me. Last year, near to Santiago, as I sat outside a bar,with 80 others, a passing cow left the pack and picked me alone out for several big licks. Maybe I smell of cows.

Second, I've been learning Spanish very intently since February. I go to a class once a week. Where I live (see above) there are no hispanohablantes. For conversation practice I talk to myself while running or while driving. At length. I talk out loud. There is no one to hear. I'm past being embarrassed if anyone does hear me. As I walk along in Spain I've continued practising. Remember after five days I haven't set eyes on any other pilgrim.

I also practice pronunciation as I walk along. I say jara/jarra. Jara, I learned from Ray y Rosa, is broom (the plant), jarra is a pint (of beer), I learned with my nephew a couple of years ago in Astorga. I say pero/perro - I guess everyone knows that one. And I say todo/toro. To me they sound very alike. I'm trying to make them sound different. (Todo - all; toro - bull).

So on Sunday morning after a brisk, er...invigorating, knackering climb to Puerto Fuenfria, and a rest, and 20 mins real-life conversation practice with a young climbing lady from Bilbao, I was off. (In my defence I would add that my strategy for learning Spanish is working well.)

After 10 solid kms downhill I decided it was time for a break. I saw a shaded big concrete 'bunker' in a bit of a clearing in woodland and sat on it. I had a banana, some water and a barro energetico.

I felt at peace. I closed my eyes for a moment and listened to deafening birdsong and the distant tinkle of cowbells. I was having a moment. Suddenly I felt warm breath on my face. Very nice. I opened my eyes and looked up.

'Holy Mother!' as they say where I live. There was a bull, about 6 inches from my face. Not 6 feet, 6 inches. Not a cow. A bull. He didn't have a bell, but he lacked nothing else. One of my fields of expertise is human anatomy, but I have friends who are vets. This was a bull, not a bullock, nor a cow.

I really didn't know what to do. I did nothing but look into his large inscrutable eyes. He looked back.

By an astonishing coincidence the most unsympathetic man in Spain passed by on a mountain bike at this point. Older even than me. In Lycra. Past his personal Lycra sell by date, I felt. "¡Mire! ¡Un toro!" He roared with a cheery wave as he sped by.

I looked at the bull and the bull looked at me.

I run a lot around country roads and have twice met a bull on the road which does frighten me a bit. We have a farm manager where I live. Two years ago one of our prime bulls attacked him. The bull had great genes. Next day he was shot! Bulls are serious. The fact that a cow, of which we have >200 could 'sit on me to death' doesn't detract from the menace of bulls.

I looked at the bull and the bull looked at me.

Did I mention he had horns?

Slowly, after what seemed like a lifetime, he turned and moved on. In all honesty I was not paralyzed with fear, or overly shaken. But I was a bit more than uncomfortable.

I have mentioned before, discussing Baztan route, that I'm realistic about the finite risk of taking little-travelled routes. Strictly I have no dependants. If I fell off the road on the Baztan route and broke my leg, with no mobile coverage, I may not be found. I'm not a one for sawing off my arm with a penknife (though I have the training), however fashionable. I wouldn't eat my foot to stay alive. At the bottom of my pack there is a bar of superior chocolate. Quite separate from the barros energeticos. Without being overly morbid, it could make a nice last meal.

When the bull moved off on Sunday morning I ate half to celebrate, as I watched him set off in pursuit of his be-belled harem. I was fine.

I carried on and took off on a whim, off piste, to get to Valsaín. A beautiful restaurant in the little Plaza Major. Linen tablecloths. 120 seats. Estamos completo said the sign. Only 4 people eating? Ah! Spanish Mother's Day. I had the same experience in Campiello exactly a year ago. The lovely maitre d' saw my dusty, bedraggled, hot state and ushered me into the empty, closed comedor. An Argentinian restaurant. We discussed what I'd have. 'Pido' (I think) he recommended. 'You can't get it in a butchers.' Cow's diaphragm. Cooked as rare as can be. Metaphorically, to die for. I like to think it came from a close relation of my bull. It was stunningly good. Todo. Toro.

No animals were treated cruelly in this entirely true account.
 

mlhhome

Really new member
Camino(s) past & future
Various (‘12, ‘13, ‘15, ‘16, ‘18 & ‘19)
I loved your story - as for me......On the VDLP- this friend walked with me for about 2K. The road between to fence lines force him to walk 50 ft in front of me before finding a path for him to scurry into until I passed. I kept wondering when he was going to run passed me and force me to make the leap over a fence, but just snorted and walked unto the path. Like most confrontations, a calm voice, no sudden movements and a steady slow pace kept the situation in control until it was over. This is another reason why the Camino calls me back. Life was rich in those moments.
 

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amorfati1

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
2014_Caminho Portuguese (Lisboa to Santiago_4 weeks in May)
It's extraordinary. At home, people put on a pair of old shorts and a T shirt to go cycling. Here 'everybody' looks like they are in the Tour de France or, indeed, La Vuelta.
I have to say though that cyclists in particular seem a pretty fit bunch. Trail cycling is hard work!
But still.........:p;)
We used to call them MAMILs...
Middle aged men in lycra
When hiking or on the camino... MAMIL was the word one heard shouted when someone of a certain age approached on a bici:rolleyes:

Wicked perhaps...
 

Jill81

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances ’14,’19
Portuguese ‘15
Via Francigena ’16
Kumano Kodo, Japan 2017
VdlP 2018 to be cont’d
We used to call them MAMILs...
Middle aged men in lycra
When hiking or on the camino... MAMIL was the word one heard shouted when someone of a certain age approached on a bici:rolleyes:

Wicked perhaps...

Loved your story, Timr!

When the cycling becomes a bit too much and they still want to meet up with their mates they often morph into ‘romeo’s’ . . . . Really Old Men Eating Out. ;););)
 

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