|The first question I get asked about running with the bulls is, do you have to "sign up" ahead of time to run? The simple answer is "no" - you do not "sign up" for the run, but there are definite rules that runners need to follow. Here are the basics:|
During the Festival, the bulls run every morning from July 7 - July 14, inclusive. This is done in order to move the bulls from the corral at the edge of the old city to the bullring where they will fight later that evening. Since there is a bullfight every night of the San Fermines, then there is a bullrun every morning.
Each morning, the police allow anyone -18 years or older - interested in running to enter into the Plaza Consistorial, or Town Hall Square, in front of the Town Hall, aka "Ayuntamiento". This is the only place that runners can gather before the run. All the rest of the unknowledgeable tourists spread themselves up and down the route of the bullrun and are very sadly disappointed when the police force them from the streets before the bullrun begins - then there is very little time left to navigate through huge crowds in order to enter the bullrun at the designated areas.
Please note that at about 5:30am, revelers are forced from the street so that the city can clean the streets before the bullrun begins. This is done more for the safety and security of the bulls than it is for the runners. The city pays big dollars for these fighting bulls, and they do not want any bull to get injured during the run. If a bull were injured during the run, then that bull would not be eligible for a fight that night.
Next, we will explore what happens once all the runners gather in the Town Hall Square. Stay tuned for Part 2.
There are four rockets that you will hear, and the safety of the people running with the bulls depends on the correct and prompt firing of these rockets.
The first rocket is lit at 8:00am, sharp, signaling that the gates have been opened at the corral on Calle de Santo Domingo where the bulls just spent their last night. The second rocket signifies that all the bulls have left the corral and are now loose on the streets. The third rocket is fired to tell the runners that all the bulls have arrived to the bullring. The fourth and final rocket is lit when all the bulls are inside the bullring's corral.
The bulls are released each morning of the bullruns – July 7th, through, and including, the 14th – at 8:00am, sharp.
Many of you have asked us for suggestions as to how to run with wild bulls...
If you do plan to run with a pack of six, wild, angry, and frightened bulls, we suggest that you do yourself, and those who love you, a real favor:
Read and study the very important information about "Running with the Bulls" at this great website: http://www.partyearth.com/cities/pamplona.
If you plan to bring a car to Pamplona, please know that all streets in the old city are blocked to traffic, during the fiesta dates of July 5th, through and including, the 14th. Parking is sometimes available at the airport; along the perimeter of the Parque de la Taconera (see photos above); and in the residential area called "Rochapea", across the Río Arga from the old city, and about a 15 minute walk to the fiesta. Here is the link for where the Rochapea area is located: http://maps.google.com/maps?sourceid=navclient&ie=UTF-8&rlz=1T4GGLJ_enUS311US311&q=rochapea+pamplona+spain
Please be aware that leaving a car for several days, or even overnight, may be risky.
Many of you have written that you are NOT convinced
that "so many" serious injuries happen along the
bullrun, or in the Plaza de Toros (bullring) in Pamplona.
Here is the account of one young man, whose
story may well convince you that running with
bulls, or even "just" running from the "vaquillas"
in the bullring, can be a life-altering experience,
with permanent, life-damaging consequences:
You may enjoy knowing that the world's most outstanding fireworks displays happen each night of the sanfermines, beginning at 11pm, at the Parque de la Ciudadela....These fabulous fireworks are free and open to the public!! Watch this video for a preview: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W4e93beqWZc
We suggest that you bring a blanket to sit on, as often the grass is wet with late night dampness and/or sangria, wines and other assorted refreshments. From the area of the Town Hall, follow the pedestrians on Calle Nueva, heading to the fireworks extravaganzas.....At the end of Calle Nueva, cross the intersecting streets at the Hotel Tres Reyes.....and, follow the pedestrians who are all headed to the ancient Roman fortifications, where the fireworks take place...Enjoy! (We never miss this event!!)
Many of you have asked us about the PRAYER to San Fermín. First, the prayer is not recited, as in traditional prayers. This prayer is sung - you may hear the chant here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=87zYW-Y32hM http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TJQZF13fKAk&NR=1 These are the Spanish words to the prayer: A San Fermín pedimos, por ser nuestro patrón, nos guíe en el encierro, dándonos su bendición!! English translation: To San Fermín, we ask - for being our Patron Saint - guide us in the bullrun, giving us your blessing!! This prayer is sung at three minutes before the bullrun, at two minutes before the bullrun and at one minute before the bullrun, at the statue of San Fermín, which is placed in a special niche, designed for this purpose, on Calle Santo Domingo, which is the first segment of the bullrun. Please note: Chanting this prayer before the release of six wild, frightened bulls does not guarantee a successful bullrun, without mishaps, however. VIVA SAN FERMIN! GORA SAN FERMIN!
The one and only Internet café in the old city, Pamplona, is the "Kuria Net", located at Calle Curia, # 15, in the heart of the fiesta. This internet café usually opens by about 10:30am, daily, depending on the late night hours of the employees who work there! This past San Fermín fiesta, 2010, it was open by about 11am, each morning, at the latest. "Kuria Net" is usually open until about 11pm, each night.
|If you insist on bringing a camera into this madness of the CHUPINAXCO, we suggest that you wrap your camera completely in a waterproof bag. Or, we suggest that you bring a waterproof camera, due to the huge amounts of champagne, wine, mustard, mayonnaise, eggs, or other colorful condiments and refreshments that participants throw upon each other! We suggest that you do NOT bring your favorite, expensive digital camera into these crowds - your camera will either be ruined with the above mentioned champagne, wines, etc...or, the professional pickpockets may very well add your camera to their collections of San Fermín contraband! See pictures here, which show the density of the crowds that gather for the chupinaxco.|
Watch this video for more information: http://www.sanfermin.com/index.php/en/la-fiesta/txupinazo
More info on what to expect at the CHUPINAXCO will follow in another post.
Many of you have written to us, asking about the nude protests that have been taking place in Pamplona each July 5th, for the past 10+ years! This non-violent event in Pamplona has grown into a protest of about 2000 naked, or at least semi-naked, PETA members - all of whom are true animal lovers and much concerned about the treatment of the bulls, during the San Fermín fiestas. Most of these kindhearted adults wear not much more than their red scarves and tiny bullhorns on their heads, and, consequently, they are quite successful in gaining lots of attention and international news coverage for their cause! The exact time and route of the protests are usually unknown to spectators - and even to the participants, as well! But, you can be sure that the protests will take place on July 5th - sometime in the late morning through the afternoon hours, in the old city, Pamplona!
Rumors ran rampant this past July, 2010, that the nude protesters were not going to come to Pamplona on July 5th, so as not to draw more curious tourists and money to the San Fermín fiestas. However, rest assured, there were indeed hundreds of nude PETA participants, scattered throughout the bullrun streets and around the area surrounding the Plaza de Toros, and, yes, lots of photographers did show up to record the events in high definition!
In order to read more about these PETA demonstrations and/or to sign up as a nude participant, check out: http://www.runningofthenudes.com/ For a great, colorful photo gallery of these nude protests, visit: http:www.photosbybjorn.com/nakedprotest.htm
The CHUPINAXCO takes place at 12 noon, on July 6th, at the Town Hall, in the old city, Pamplona. However, because this is such a monumental event in the SAN FERMIN festival, you can expect that all nearby side streets are also packed with building-to-building-to-building revelers, all with varying degrees of wildly elevated BACs (Blood Alcohol Content).
The Town Hall Square (known as the Plaza Consistorial) measures about 2500 sq. meters in size...so, you cannot even imagine how crowded the square becomes when the estimated 13,000+ revelers attempt to take their spots in the celebration! This means that about 5 to 6 persons are jammed into each square meter of ground space!
You must wear sturdy closed-toe shoes! Don't even think of wearing sandals!! There is broken glass all over the ground - so, especially if you want to run with the bulls, be very careful that you don't end up needing stitches in your foot, or feet!!
The Town Hall Square, during the CHUPINAXCO ceremony, is NOT a place for children or older people! Once you get into the unforgiving crowds at the Town Hall, you CANNOT get out, until the event is over and the revelers leave the Square. Women and young girls report roaming hands on private body parts - unfortunately, due to the huge crowds, they cannot escape the ordeal until the crowds disperse - about one hour later! During the celebrations, you can expect that there is a lot of very dangerous pushing and shoving, called "surging" by the locals. It gets very hot in the Town Hall Square, not only from the warm daily temperatures, but also from the body heat generated by the huge crowds packed into this small area! You can expect that it becomes very difficult to breathe, especially if you are a shorter person!
For the CHUPINAXCO, it is best to make reservations on a balcony in order to witness this spectacular event...and to be safe, at the same time!! We have a very limited number of balcony places for the upcoming Chupinaxco, on July 6th. If you have not done so already, we strongly advise you to contact us right away, in order to secure a balcony for you and your group!