Day 2 // Pamplona…I think I need a Red Bull

Bulls Bulls Bulls Bulls all about the BULLS!!

The Festival of San Fermín, or the ‘Running of the Bulls’ is something you have to go to at least once in your life.  It is a two-week constant party here in Pamplona, starting on the feast day of St. Fermin-by whom the festival is in honor of–started 700 years ago.  Every day, six bulls and six steer are released straight into {the enclosed} streets of the city from the outside gates, and are led towards the center where the arena sits; it’s an about 800 meter run.  The arena is also where they have the nightly bull fights…once the bulls go in, they never come back out haha.  Thousands of people from all over the world come to watch this event-and for those adrenaline junkies-they get to take part by running with the bulls.  One of those crazies was my dad…I would’ve done it if I wasn’t feeling sick this morning 😡

someone shout ASIAN TOURIST? but he looks so happy

someone shout ASIAN TOURIST? but he looks so happy

We got up and ready to go on the bus by 6am.  My dad went with the other runners while my mom, my sis, and I took a very brisk walk into the streets, and into an apartment style home where we would watch from a balcony.  It amazed me that these such picturesque  buildings are people’s homes…by the way, apparently these home owners make bank if they allow people to watch the run from their balcony.  My mom even thought about the possibility of getting one lol (fingers crossed for vacation home?).

walking into the house

walking into the house

on the balcony

on the balcony

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the view as the event began to start…

before

before-the streets and swept clean, sprayed with water, and then an adhesive wash to prevent both the people and the bulls from slipping

after

after

after

people were warming up-jumping around, stretching, singing!

The event is exhilarating even from above the streets; it goes by so fast you don’t even realize the bulls had run through.  Although thousands do it every year, not even the locals tried to persuade me or anyone to run–it is a very dangerous event.  These are full-grown bulls valued at their aggressiveness rate (meaner the better). My dad came back unscathed, but another man on our tour got flipped over in the arena and scratched..but he was okay!-jollily bragging with his new scars lol.

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too fast to catch!

too fast to catch!

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fun fact: the bulls are brothers, and it has been that way since this festival started

Although I didn’t personally see anyone get hurt, TVs showed at least 8 people get knocked over, tripped, hit, cut, etc.  One man was pretty badly gored in the streets, and taken by ambulance, and I think two other people today were put into critical condition.  One of them was a ‘bull running expert’, and author of the book “Fiesta: How to survive the Bulls of Pamplona”…thats irony right there.

If you’re fast enough to get into the arena, there is another little event that takes place.  They close all the doors, you’re pretty much trapped in for a while, and release a couple steers or the female cows).  The steers are apparently more agile, smart, and angry than the bulls, so they will charge at whoever in their path.  It is kind of a game with the locals as my dad described it to me: they like to aggravate it and run around with it.  My dad was in there so I have some videos and pictures here. 🙂

good one dad

good one dad

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after the general hoopla was over, we headed back to the hotel to take a short, but much needed siesta.  The time change usually doesn’t give me that much of a problem-I can adapt pretty well-but mixed with lack of sleep I definitely lagged quite a bit. Title ‘I need a Red Bull‘ (get it? lol)

Then we went back to the streets and adventured around-saw the entire course of the bull run.  The sun went in and out today, it even drizzled a little this morning.

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Old Town Hall, where the festival is launched every year

Old Town Hall, where the festival is launched every year

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Castle Square-there was a castle here long ago

Castle Square-there was a castle here long ago

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For any of you literature junkies-this is the hotel where Ernest Hemingway wrote “The Sun Also Rises”. He wrote about San Fermin as a “sleepy festival”..no longer true!

Somewhere after my dad found some scalpers, bargained, and got tickets to the bull fight!

photo 3

There is a ton of controversy over this sport in general-labeled barbaric and inhumane and that it should be stopped.  Personally I completely disagree-bull fighting has been a Spanish tradition for over centuries; it is their culture.  Gorka, our driver, was telling me how it’s almost a theatrical experience “an opera”, it’s “majestic” (add a Basque-Spanish accent on that) 🙂 and it really is.  The colors, the crowd, the dramatic violence, the blood, the whole experience-in my opinion-was amazing.  There are six bulls, so six rounds; yes, every bull who came in this morning was killed, but not without a fight!  It’s taken just like any other sporting event in USA, but the crowd is much more fanatic.

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el toro está muerto

el toro está muerto

We were fortunate enough to be able to see the famous matador Juan José Padilla.  He lost one of his eyes in a bull fight

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he’s in the center!

…like dang.

Its been quite nice not having to think about what to wear–just red and white, all the time.

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I don’t know who else parties like Spain does!  It’s crazy and loud and just fun.  I’m trying to find the words (or at least more elaborate words) to articulate this phenomenon, but there are simply no way to fully capture this wonderful experience.  Families come and celebrate together–our guide mentioned “Very family oriented.  It’s not abnormal to see grandma pushing the child in the stroller over the drunken man who has fallen asleep on the road”.

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7:30pm

Funny moment of the day-local ran into me and said “Konichiwa!”…I had to bite my tongue not to laugh

2nd funny moment of the day………

real stuffed bulls

notice “no tocar” sign -no touch the real stuffed bulls

long post, long day…just a little more of Pamplona tomorrow and then helloooooo to Barcelona! ❤

Much love,

Maddi

p.s. sorry for all the grammatical errors and repeated words lol..and this goes for all my other posts too


 

video of the run I was at today…the guy in the blue who gets pummeled was also jumped over by a steer and then another bull stepped and tripped on top of him just seconds later

http://www.rtve.es/noticias/20140708/3-encierro-san-fermin-2014/969140.shtml

and here is a video of the man who was gored (I mentioned earlier) by a bull who got separated from his brothers on the run; he was driven to hospital by the ambulance and I think is in pretty critical condition.

start it at 1:40

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1WqCv2Tq9LU

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