Warning: This post does contain graphic images
I never thought that I would have to write those words at the top of any of our posts. But I felt it was necessary for this article.
I am torn.
I can’t decide whether bullfighting in Spain should be celebrated or condemned. Is it so ingrained in Spanish culture that it should be left alone? Or is it cruelty hidden behind a thin veiled disguise called tradition?
While I don’t condone animal cruelty, I do recognise and celebrate traditions.
Experiencing San Fermin in Pamplona
The reason I love travelling is that you are exposed to so many different adventures.
We are like sponges, soaking up every cultural experience that we can get our jandals close to.
It’s why we chose to run with the bulls in Pamplona. And why we watched the bullfighting in Spain.
The San Fermin festival in Pamplona is the most well known bull-running and bullfighting festival in the world thanks to one writer. Ernest Hemingway.
For 8 days every year, hundreds of locals and tourists, including ourselves, pack 800m of narrow cobbled streets in Pamplona. Shoulder to shoulder they stand ready to run in front of a thundering pack of bulls.
It was the most terrifying and exhilarating travel adventure we have ever had.
One I will never do again.
We diced with death once, and that was enough for us.
While we were happy enough to run with the bulls, we were very conscious of our decision to watch the bullfight that evening. But considering that bullfighting has been a part of various cultures for thousands of years, and continues to be, there was no way I was going to miss this opportunity.
Because how can I speak out against what is right or wrong without experiencing it for myself? Who am I to speak out about how other people live their lives in cultures I barely understand?
These are questions I asked myself before we visited Spain.
Experiencing the Bullfighting in Spain
Bullfighting in Spain is one of the most celebrated spectacles in the country.
It is a pre-historic battle of man versus beast.
Protestors against bullfighting in Spain call it a blood sport. The Matadors (or torero), and spectators, call it a ‘fine art’, similar to painting, dancing or music.
Each Matador is revered locally while the most famous are recognised nationally. And every man, woman and child that was present at the bullring seemed to be honouring each bull after it was killed.
While we knew that bulls were killed at the end of each day, we didn’t know anything more than that.
After speaking with a few locals we found out that only the 6 “new” bulls, out of the 12 that ran, are killed each evening in the arena.
These 6 bulls have been specially reared for this very reason. They live in relative luxury with very little human contact before they reach the bullring.
This supposedly makes them much healthier and stronger so that it is a fairer fight between the Matador and the bull. A fight that is virtually impossible for the bull to walk out of the ring a winner.
Our experience and feelings
The Spanish are passionate with a capital “P”. When we discovered we had somehow secured seats in what seemed to be a locals only zone. We were stoked.
Sitting under the blistering sun we were surrounded by the Spanish singing, cheering and swigging back Sangria like it was going out of fashion.
They were here to celebrate.
They were celebrating what they believe is their right. But they were not celebrating death as they watched the bulls be slaughtered.
And we felt like we were part of the celebrations. We were not merely spectators watching from afar. They welcomed us into their singing circles even though we spoke limited Spanish. Filled our cups up with homemade sangria and fed us when we were hungry from their own picnic supplies.
As we watched the Matadors “dance” with the bulls around the ring I began to understand their passion. They were celebrating life.
And I agreed with them.
I don’t agree that the slow killing of these magnificent beasts is right. At the end of each fight I was willing the Matador’s to deliver the final killing sword strike to end their suffering.
Secretly I was hoping the bulls would get their own back. A goring of the Matador would have been something to see.
But most of all I realised that bullfighting in Spain is so much more than what some call a “blood sport”.
It is a time for friends and family to get together like they have been for the last few hundred years. A time to watch an event that is celebrated nationally.
Not to mention the fact that before their final fight, these bulls probably lead much better lives than the beef that is delivered onto your plate at home, at McDonald’s or in the frozen section of your local supermarket.
It is why I think that, if the majority of the population want to carry on watching bullfighting then they should be allowed to. I would probably even go along to another one.
Let us know in the comments below:
Have you ever witnessed something traditional overseas that you don’t agree with? And what are your thoughts on bullfighting?
What is the best casino cashback bonus Ireland has to offer?
Bonuses are a big feature of online casino play and are something that you don’t get at brick-and-mortar casinos. Online casinos in Ireland offer different types of incentives that can put a little back in a player’s pocket.
One of those is a cashback deal, which is one of the newer types of casino bonuses to hit the scene. Here, we explore just what casino cashback deals are, how they reward players and look at the many shapes and forms they come in.
To clear the air a little bit about the best casino cashback bonuses Ireland, there is more than one type. This variety gives players the opportunity to choose the ideal rewards scenario.
Welcome bonus cashback
On landing at any of the leading online casinos in Ireland, such as Slotbox or SpinAway, a welcome bonus offer will greet new players. These are incentives designed to hook people up with a bonus just for walking through the virtual casino doors.
These are usually linked to the initial deposit on the account. A casino will match a certain amount of the value of a deposit by crediting bonus cash – and perhaps some free spins thrown in.
A similar way to get cashback at an online casino is through reload bonuses. These work in the same manner as welcome bonuses, but just under their own steam and are available for existing players. Top up an account and a certain amount, perhaps 50%, will be matched as a bonus.
Cashback on losses
Casino cashback is a rewards program that credits a certain amount of lost stake back. How much is paid will depend on the terms of the offer and how much stake has been lost. These commonly operate on a weekly promotional basis.
There are different components to cashback offers at online casinos. It will come down to the type of offer, but some common elements to look for are:
The definition of how much can be credited from a single online casino bonus can differ from site to site. For a cashback on losses deal, it could be a 50% return of lost stake at one casino, and 30% at another. Welcome bonus cashback deals will also be determined by percentage of the initial deposit.
The validity of bonuses at online casinos is a major factor as well. Welcome bonuses generally have to be claimed within a couple of weeks of registering an account. The full completion of wagering requirements will also have a time limit. It boils down to terms not being met and the bonus being voided in a use-it-or-lose-it scenario.
Of vital importance is what the maximum payback may be. The terms of a 50% cashback deal that’s capped at €200 are vastly different to one that credits 100% but is capped at a maximum of €50. It’s all about the individual player, their overall budget and what’s realistic in terms of wagering requirements.
Wagering requirements are found on most online casino bonuses, particularly welcome offers. These are the terms of how many times a bonus amount has to be matched before it’s released as real cash.
As an example, a €10 bonus at x35 wagering requirements would need €350 staked in real cash before the bonus is released. Sometimes, the wagering requirements specify that both the deposit amount and bonus amounts must meet wagering requirements.
The most common form of credit to an account through a casino bonus is in the form of bonus cash, but it’s not the only form:
Bonus cash, tokens or whatever it is, is not real cash. Players normally hold a bonus balance and a real cash balance. Bonus cash may be restricted to certain games and can’t be cashed out, nor can any winnings from it, until wagering requirements have been fulfilled.
At online casinos, cash is cash. If there is money cleared in an account, then it holds its true value. That cash balance can be played or withdrawn.
Another type of credit that can be received at online casinos is free spins. Sometimes these are packaged as extra incentives with bonus cash or are standalone feature rewards. These also won’t escape the grasp of wagering requirements, but usually only on the winnings and at a much lower turnover than bonus cash.
Slotbox has a cashback bonus through its welcome offer for newly registered customers in Ireland. With wagering requirements on the lower end of the scale, it is a good one to check out. Slotbox has a tremendous range of games from leading providers, with 24/7 support and VIP rewards.
There are more than 1,000 slots to explore at SpinAway Casino. There’s a wide variety, plus a big range of live casino features as well as Irish Lottery and bingo. An available cashback welcome bonus includes some free spins.
Crypto-friendly site LuckyDays also gets in on the cashback offer, where a bonus can be claimed across each of the initial three deposits on an account. The first of those is a 100% matched bonus. Further reload bonuses and a loyalty program add more.
Paris on a Budget: Best Cheap Eats in Paris
While Paris used to be regarded as an expensive city, you can now enjoy Paris on a Budget. Use our guide to find the Best Cheap Eats in Paris.
Although Paris has a reputation for being one of the most expensive cities globally, the rumors are now unfounded. In 2012, Paris dropped ten places in the Mercer cost of living survey. And with the Euro looking weak, now is probably a good time to find cheap flights and discover the city of love on a budget.
Eating in Paris can catch a lot of tourists out. Avoid the expensive restaurants serving fancy dishes like salmon wellington and snooty maître d’s on the Champs Elysees and follow our guide for the best cheap eats in Paris. Spend less on food and possibly splurge on friendly hotels in Paris instead!
Best Cheap Eats in Paris
Head to the Marais
Famous for its selection of ethnic eateries, the trendy Marais area of Paris is perfect for picking up a quick snack.
Check out L’As du Falafel, where you can grab a flatbread bursting with golden fried balls of falafel, smothered in hummus and accompanied with red cabbage. For €4 to take away, you can’t argue with that. Simply head to Chez Hanna down the street for equally tasty food at similarly low prices if it’s too busy.
Enjoy an Oriental baguette.
Vietnamese food is popular in France, and nowhere can you see the fusion of two cultures more clearly than at Saigon Sandwich in the Belleville district of Paris. Their specialty, banh mi, is light and crusty French baguette filled with flavors of South East Asia.
There are only a few options (poulet, boeuf, Maison, and unique), but for €3 ago, you could happily sample them all.
Find French food on the cheap.
Believe it or not, there are some restaurants specializing in French cuisine that won’t see you stumbling into your overdraft. Les Temps des Cerises is one of them.
Described by Yelp as a “Dive Bar,” nothing could be further from the truth. Run by a cooperative, it attracts a distinctly bohemian crowd. The menu is small, but the food is prepared from ingredients that sing with freshness and high quality.
Eat like a local celebrity …
Rumour has it that Pierre Herme, one of Paris’s most celebrated pastry chefs, visits the Belleville restaurant Le Baratin. The prices are surprisingly low for the delicious Argentinian fare.
Time Out Magazine recommends the tuna carpaccio with cherries or the spicy basque lamb. Pop in at lunchtime for the prixe fix menu. At €18 for three courses it’s hard to complain.
… or eat like a local office worker
Bistro Victoires is a favorite amongst Paris’s locals. It doesn’t look like much from the outside, and the wine list leaves a lot to be desired, but when you sit down to enjoy some of the best steak frites in Paris, all else will be forgiven.
Portion sizes are enormous, and the waiters often remind patrons that if they order a starter, they won’t be able to tackle the main course. Despite being a famous location steps away from the Palais Royal, it still manages to be a hidden gem.
What are your tips for finding the best cheap eats in Paris?
Travel Tip: Train to Pisa from Florence
Whether you spend a half-day or full day in Pisa, we recommend that you Train to Pisa from Florence. It’s the fastest and cheapest way to get there.
Traveling by train is one of the best ways to see the beautiful countryside of Italy. The train from Florence to Pisa takes about an hour, and the journey is stunning. The route takes you past vineyards and medieval villages, through tunnels and over bridges, with breathtaking views of the Tuscan hillsides. You can even see the Leaning Tower of Pisa as the train approaches the station.
Upon arrival in Pisa, you can explore the historic center and visit the famous cathedral, before enjoying a leisurely lunch overlooking the River Arno. With its stunning scenery and convenient location, a train trip from Florence to Pisa is a great way to spend a day in Italy.
How to get to Pisa from Florence
You have a couple of different options for your own half-day trip to Pisa from Florence depending on how you like to travel. But if you are like us and enjoy travelling around Italy by public transport, then you will definitely want to train to Pisa from Florence.
Train to Pisa from Florence
Florence and Pisa are less than 100 km apart and the easiest way is to train to Pisa from Florence. The entire trip one-way takes approximately an hour depending on your route with no transfers.
Trains leave from Florence S.M.Novella for Pisa Centrale a few times every hour. The closest train station to the leaning tower of Pisa is Pisa San Rossore, but it’s not worth the extra time or transfer required. Pisa itself is small and it takes less than 30 minutes to walk to the leaning tower from Pisa Centrale.
Plus you get to explore more of the city such as the River Arno lined with beautiful stately homes.
If you want to book online then a one-way ticket by train to Pisa from Florence will cost from €7.80 (US$10.40) in 2nd class. It is important to make sure that when you are searching online via the Italian train booking site, Trenitalia, you search for “Firenze” rather than Florence.
The train schedules are very easy to understand so we recommend booking your ticket from the self-service machines on the train platform. The return journey is just as easy in reverse. Just watch that you don’t miss the last train around 10pm most days and carry cash with you for the ticket.
Finally, validate your ticket before boarding the train. We forgot a couple of times but used the typical “I’m a stupid tourist” line to get out of any fines.
Bus to Pisa from Florence
There are two main bus companies, Terravision and Autostradale, run regular buses to and from Pisa Airport and Florence Airport into the Florence city centre, they don’t actually go into Pisa itself. The train to Pisa from Florence is so reliable, fast, and cheap, that you may not want to consider this option.
However, there are some advantages to taking the bus. You will see a lot more scenery from the window of the bus, and it’s definitely cheaper; sometimes you can find fares as low as 4 Euros, especially on Fridays.
Driving to Pisa from Florence
If you have hired a car or scooter in Tuscany then you might look at driving to Pisa from Florence. However, even though the distance is less than 100km, the trip will still take approximately 1 hour.
Aside from the fact that the train to Pisa from Florence typically takes less time than driving, you also have to avoid the crazy Italian drivers. Not to mention trying to find a carpark in two of the most popular cities in Italy. Impossible.
Guided Tour to Pisa from Florence
If you have been enjoying the sunset in Florence and all the city has to offer then you might want to take in a guided tour to Pisa from Florence. Not only do you get a great guide to learn all about the history of the area, you also don’t have to worry about getting to Pisa from Florence.
You might want to check out this guided tour around Pisa or get a little bit more adventurous and try out a segway tour in Pisa. Perfect for the family and it will keep the kids entertained between stops.
If you have a whole day, and haven’t managed to fit in a hike around Cinque Terre, then we recommend looking into the Pisa and Cinque Terre day tour. Lasting roughly 12 hours, you will travel from Florence to Cinque Terre, with a 2 hour stop in Pisa to see all the main sights.
We also reckon guides help you get the best photos, as they have seen all the poses.
Tell us below if you have taken any funny photos in Pisa!
Meet Cole and Adela
We have been wearing out our jandals (Kiwi for flip-flops) on our travel adventures around the world since 2009. We think our blog is thought provoking and a little witty. But we have been proven wrong before. Find out more about us here...
New on Four Jandals
- The Ultimate Staycation – Exploring The 8 Best Accommodations in Jindabyne February 26, 2024
- How Gaming Inspires Real-World Adventure February 8, 2024
- What is the best casino cashback bonus Ireland has to offer? January 19, 2024
What Are You Looking For?
See Our Favorite Topics
Adventure Travel3 months ago
A Beginner’s Guide to Yacht Charters: How to Choose the Right Yacht and Plan the Perfect Trip
Travel Tips2 months ago
What you need Before Visiting Colombia in 2024
Business3 months ago
7 Tips for Levelling up Your London Business Trip
Travel Tips3 months ago
The Essential Guide to Exploring Cancun’s Nightlife
Travel Tips3 months ago
Adventurer’s Manual: How to Successfully Explore Germany
Travel Tips2 months ago
Swiss Serenity: Rejuvenating City Breaks in the Heart of Switzerland
Europe1 month ago
What is the best casino cashback bonus Ireland has to offer?
Travel Tips3 weeks ago
How Gaming Inspires Real-World Adventure