Running of the Bulls - Part 1
One of the top items on my bucket list since I was a child was to see the Running of the Bulls in Pamplona, Spain. Even though several cities throughout Spain host their version of the Running of the Bulls, the most famous is held during a nine-day festival in Pamplona in honor of Saint Fermin, called Sanfermines.
My two friends, Charles and Alex, joined me on this adventure. We rented an amazing Airbnb right downtown in Pamplona. If you decide to ever travel for the festival, I HIGHLY recommend staying downtown. The festival goes during all hours of the night and staying downtown allows for easy walking to all the events.
The Running of the Bulls actually takes place early in the morning, around 8am. I assumed it would be later in the day. The early morning rising can take some effort to make (especially when the festival goes all hours of the night), we actually missed the first two morning because we slept in!
The early hours are because the tradition of the running of the bulls started for transporting cattle from one place to the other to sell them at the market. After a while, adults started to turn it into a competition to see who could race in front of the bulls and make it safely. The tradition today is used to move the bulls from their holding area to the arena for the bull fights later that day.
Once you get into the street to run with the bulls your nerves start to hit you immediately. Suddenly a giant TV screen lights up and begins to show "rules" with running. The first thing that came to mind was that I was in the "Hunger Games." They have all these rules, such as 1) you must have shoes on.... 2) you MUST run.... 3) I stopped paying attention because I was scared that the bulls would be let out any minute.
One of the pieces of advice I was given, was to NOT run with the bulls near the arena. This is because the route "bottlenecks" and can create some dangerous situations. Alex and Charles, using peer pressure, got me right in front of the arena. Our goal was to run into the arena with the bulls, which we succeeded.
As we ran into the stadium, we started to take photos of the experience.... until we realized they started letting bulls out with runners inside the stadium! I'll save that for part 2... See the video below for a preview: