Friday, July 6, 2007

Viva San Fermin!

I arrived in Pamplona, Spain, yesterday for the annual San Fermin festival (also known as Running of the Bulls). I walked through the square as well as the route of the bull run, and the streets were already filled with people getting an early start on the celebration. The festival officially starts at noon on July 6th, with the Txupinazo, which is the rocket that sets off from City Hall to signal the beginning of the festival. Of course we had to be there but what we didn't know was how crazy the celebration gets. We were packed into the streets like sardines and we couldn't even get close to City Hall. People were spraying champagne, beer, and red wine everywhere, and there was not a person who was not soaked in sight. It started getting really gross when people were throwing ketchup and mustard as well. We managed to dodge most of that, but our hair was still drenched with red wine. Bang! The rockets started going off and more craziness ensued. More rockets go off and the enthusiam of the crowd was contagious and people started singing "olé olé!" It was pure madness but an incomparable experience.

Then at 11 pm at night (as well as every night of the festival), there are fireworks near the Ciudadela (the old citadel) and again, the streets were lined with crowds. Fortunately this time people weren't throwing champagne or mustard around so we could enjoy the spectacular fireworks display. After nearly half an hour of sparks, the mass exodus of people meant that it was nearly impossible for buses to get through or for us to get home. We eventually made it back to our hotel though, because we only have a few hours left to sleep before we had to get up for the bull run!


Chi-Mei said...

I hear you don't have to run faster than the raging bulls, just faster than at least 1 other person between you and the bull.

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