July 5th to July 9th – Pamplona, Spain
So its that time of year again. I had so much fun at this fiesta last year that I endeavoured to come back again this year. However Daisy the van decides to have a heart attack about 10kms from Pamplona at about 12 noon. We actually get into town about 5ish.
I get to the campsite but Dan and Brett have gone on some walking tour. I run into Tim from the Hoists and drink with him til they return. It turns out to be a bit of a loose night but smurf (dan) pikes it on us. I crawl in at about 4am I think. Crazy.
So its the day. Opening ceremony. I am all pumped as I remember the good times from last year. We try to get one of the first buses in after making some alterations to our shirts. Once in town we buy a drinking slouch and go find some sangria. I go a little overboard in the bottle shop and buy a lot of sangria and a big bottle of champagne to let off at 12 noon.
We end up talking to a few canadian girls before heading into the Town Square to get a good spot. Its absolutely packed to the rafters but we squeeze in – and get in pretty far in the centre. All I can say it was like last year but only a lot better. Incredible. Words really cannot describe how good that party is. Just before 12 everyone has there panuelo up in the air and shouting San Fermin! Its an intense few minutes before the Chupinazo sets itself off. With it I pop the champers and spray it everywhere. And continue to drink copious amounts of Sangria.
A little after that – Dan climbs up to the balcony and starts a trend that goes through the day and decides to jump off the balcony into the crowd. And with it a tonne of others jump.
We head on down Santo Dominga and to the Corrals. Where we drink lots of Sangria with a few girls. Dan goes off to buy a round of sangria before coming back with sangria and fireworks. haha.
We head back to the town square and let off a few more fireworks before heading to the Mussel Bar where there is a statue that is famous for Fuenting (the act of jumping into the crowd). Apparently a girl slipped off today and cracked her head open and when Dan climbs up he is bombarded with a whole lot of bottles. We head on down to some other bar before going back to the mussel bar and then Brett and myself head back to the campsite to party there.
We decide to jump in the pool and then I get kicked out as I was wearing my Panuelo. Though on the way down to the camping area I notice I’m bleeding pretty bad from my scab. So I go to get some saline and bandaids.
Over the course of that I end up talking to char and char (two kiwi birds) and they feed me food and spike my sangria with vodka. They endevour to get me to go out – I budge until the last moment. And as we are about to leave Dan rocks up and I get him to come out.
We get into Pamps just after 11pm when the fireworks are going off over the citadel. Before heading off…we lose one char and dan in the crowd. And its jus CHar and myself with an annoying american guy. Who we try to lose. But didnt happen. A drink at a bar and we run away from him. Mean but he was a jerk.
We spent the night drinking and dancing around the streets to the early hours of the morning. Before a taxi to the campsite.
So I sleep in and don’t go to the bull run. Yeah yeah I know. But I was here last year and I did see it then. So its no lose.
After brekky is served we head up to the pool to refresh ourselves and then go to the bar and get a beer before heading into town at around 3-4ish.
Once we get into the bus station we see the boys from Daisy and head into the Plaza Castillo to get a good spot and watch the Spain vs Germany semi final in the World Cup.
Its a bit intense but when the goal goes in the plaza erupts. As soon as the game ends. Its into party mode. And the night is loose and messy. Pretty intense. I only wish I stayed for the final in a few days time.
So its day 3 and up at 5 after last nights festivities. I get in early and meet a random guy who is from the campsite and we head into the Town Square and begin the arduous wait for 8am to come around. Matt Spinelli taps me on the shoulder while I am waiting which is strange.
I don’t get the same feelings as last year. I guess that comes with doing it a few times but you still have a few nerves. Nerves are good.
Just before 8am they let us out onto the course and I see a few girls being pulled out but I also see a few let through. Anyway I wait just after Dead Mans Corner. With a few minutes to go there nerves really start to kick in and I ask myself ‘Why the hell am I doing this again?’.
The first rocket goes off and I see all the faces around myself with the expression of “Oh Fuck” and bolting. I sorta hold my line and wait….jogging slowly up Estafeta. I do a few little jumps to see if bulls are coming. And the I hear the 2nd rocket.
Its not long til the bulls are upon us. And I’m running in the middle where no one is as its far faster to run there. I get a bit scared though and run to the side and let the bulls past. I look behind them and see theres a decent gap between the next set and do the bolt behind them leading into the Plaza De Toro.
Its ridiculous – though the bulls dont really want to head into there pen for the evening. And decide to run around the Bull ring. Which is a bit scary.
Its a long run and we are waiting a while in the arena until the last bull comes flying through. A look at the replay shows what happened – apart from the first pack of bulls the rest of them are all split up and run by themselves.
Its then time for some carnage to happen. I get a good spot next to where the bulls come out – where everyone kneels in front of the bulls and the bulls jump over them. Its a fair bit of carnage this morning as I see about 6 people get KO’d from the bulls and a few fights start out when stupid tourists hold onto the bulls so the spanish deliver out some justice. I do the stupid thing and kneel down with everyone else albeit from a wide position.
Back at the campsite we head down to the river nearby and siesta there til the afternoon where we head into town and stock up on some sangria, ice and coke. We then set about a task of finding some bull fighting tickets. We find a scalper and get them at 30 euros each. They are pretty decent seats too.
The old couples next to us where really friendly and kept feeding us their sandwiches.
The bull fight themselves where a bit of a let down except for one guy who was really good. They basically start with a few of the matadors helpers seeing how the bull moves around and hiding behind the fence.
Then the Picadors come out – the picadors are the horses with picadors on top. They are blindfolded and The Picadors have a long long staff with a knife on top. The bulls ram into the horses – sometimes forcing the horse to fall over whilst the Picadors ram the knife into the bulls back to start the demise.
The next bit is probably the best part of it. The banderillos. These guys have balls. They charge at the the bulls and set the banderillas (flags) into the back. They are bloody agile and get super close to the bull. After the bull has copped 6 banderillas in the back its time for the Matador to step up and do his thing.
Its often called the Tercio De Muerte (death third). Its basically the Matador showing how good he is and lets the bull pass by him. The closer the better the Matador. At the end the Matador gives the estocada which is the sword just behind the head. This should kill the bull instantly or close to enough. The matadors entourage then cut the ears off.
Its not as gruesome as you think. We
We set off and walk around the streets and drink up a storm as per usual. We run into the “fire bull” which is just a person with a bull ontop of his head with fireworks shooting out. Its a cool thing to see. We go watch the fireworks and head off to the campsite. Where we continue to party before bed time.
And that is it. I did spend another day but it was just waiting for the bus, so I’ll spare you the details of that day.