9th June 2019: Gold fields and bull billboard (Guadalajara, Spain)

A friend was over and she was curious about the huge black bull billboard that stands next to the entrance to Guadalajara, so we headed there. We had a big Chinese late lunch, and afterwards we decided to walk to the bull.

The so-called Toro de Osborne (Osborne bull, and… hm… you can tell… he’s a male, right?) was conceived as a publicity billboard for the Osborne winery. The bulls were originally designed in 1956 as by-road advertisement for one of the winery’s drinks. The first set of bulls was installed in 1958, and the current ones date back to 1962, made with metal, and around 14 metres high. In 1988 the lettering was removed. Although in compliance to the 1994, laws the bulls should have been removed, but a motion was filed to keep them as ‘cultural items’ as people had grown fond of them. In 1997 a law was passed ordaining that the bulls were to remain due to “cultural and visual interest”. There used to be about 500 bulls throughout all of Spain, but today only 91 remain, although there are others around the world. For example, there is one in Japan, because… Japan, I guess. The area with most of them is the one where the winery headquarters stand.

The Guadalajara bull stands next to the N-320 exit number 53. you can reach it by car or on foot. We took a walk around the area and we got to see the wheat and barley fields that give the area its typical brown / gold colours in summer. These are called the Calstillian fields, Campos de Castilla.

When we finally got to the bull, we were expecting nobody around, but there were a bunch of people, mostly drinking and smoking weed. Apparently it had also been vandalised and used for target practice, because people are civilised and all that. If you squint, you can actually see the word “Osborne” on the billboard.