Running with . . . Cows

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All through rural Cádiz la cultura taurina is alive and kicking. This is bullfighting country, and August is the peak of the bullfighting season, although the first events begin as early as March, and the season lingers on through September. Village ferias that don’t include a bullfight as part of their summer festivities will at least have a corrida de toros or two. And so it is in Zahara. As part of the Annual August celebrations at the end of August, bulls . . . well, cows, but cows with attitude and enormous horns, are released into the main street to chase the local population up and down the cobbles for several hours before being taken home again in a lorry. Most people sit on, or peer through the wooden barricades erected for the occasion (from the safe side), or watch from balconies with a drink, or in the slither of shade on the church steps; but the village’s youth and those old enough to know better are in with the cows, jumping and calling to attract their attention then running fast when they do, hauling themselves up onto window ledges, or impressively vaulting the fence. Last year, I saw someone run towards a cow ‘bull’, grab hold of its horns, and somersault over its back. Free drinks all round.
Best viewing point is the old men’s bar, Bar Niño, although once in, you’re trapped for the duration – not that anyone’s complaining.
Twice now I’ve put out pink socks, yellow shorts and a red cape for Dave on the morning of the corrida, but so far he has hasn’t been keen to strut his stuff.
This year, like every year, the celebrations included prize-giving for flamenco queens and princesses, paella, dancing until dawn to old standards played on an electronic keyboard, and a very quiet Monday.

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