Adventures with the PAR Bros Part 2: La saca de la yegua and Doñana
Day 2 in Sevilla started very early as we prepared to drive out west from Sevilla to the little cowboyish town of El Rocío. There are not enough words to describe all that transpires here, and if I could, it would be better for you to just visit it. Inexplicable, it is.
We arrived in El Rocío mid morning to visitors and residents bustling about getting ready to see the “saca de las yeguas.” This is one of those fascinating festivals for which Spain is so infamous. The purpose of this event is to round up the mares and the colts/foals that have been in the marshlands since the last saca. Men, some boys, and a few ladies from surrounding towns ride their horses to round up the group and stampede them through the streets of El Rocío. It’s a lovely thing, watching the horses run with the long legged and often awkward babies glued to their mothers’ sides.
The craziest thing was the following: I had not seen anyone in Sevilla besides the PAR brothers. Years ago I had visited the house of a colleague of mine from school, who was very much like an adopted grandfather for me. I thought to myself upon arriving this time, “if I see Manolo I am going to go crazy.” Well, as we were waiting between the groups of horses, there went Manolo and his wife, walking right in front of me! It was THE most bizarre thing I’ve ever experienced. The sheer fact that I would know someone at El Rocío and actually see him at this event was so strange, yet so wonderful! It’s like going to some random town like Locust or Rutherfordton, NC, going to a rodeo or something of the sort, and seeing someone you know and hadn’t seen for years.
Continuing, we ate lunch with the PAR family in Matalascañas, a beach town nearby, then went back to the PAR residence at Doñana National Park, took mega naps, and left with Papa PAR to take a tour of the area. We stopped at a pretty much secluded beach, no people for miles and miles! Not even a footstep was found except my own. We then went into the park for a spectacular sunset tour to see the dunes, marsh, and wildlife.
Pepe, the head of the PAR family, is a published photographer (48 books) and works at this national park. He has the largest camera I’ve ever seen. I asked him how he got started and his answer really captivated me. He said, “Antes cazaba, pero ahora para mi la fotografía es un tipo de cazar.” (“I used to hunt a while back, but photography is a type of “hunting” for me now.”)