This is always one of my favorite blog posts of the year.
A few years ago, for my thirtieth birthday, a few friends and I gathered in Pamplona, Spain for the annual Festival de San Fermin — better known as the Running of the Bulls. It was the craziest party I have ever been to and a fantastic way to welcome in another decade of living life.
On my end, it took about a year-and-a-half of planning to make things work, and one person who joined us did it all within a month of departure. The Festival de San Fermin is really whatever each participant makes of it.
Something quite frequent in Pamplona during the Running of the Bulls is people taking a “day trip” from Madrid or Barcelona. They’d spend several hours on a bus drinking and getting revved up only to arrive in Pamplona to hit the ground running. Basically, the bus would drop them off in the late afternoon, they’d party all night long, watch the bulls run in the morning and head back to the bus shortly thereafter, sleeping all the way back to their point of departure. Also, it wasn’t uncommon to see people partying all night long and sleeping in the park during the day.
I’m slightly more prissy, so I booked a room on Calle Estefeta with a balcony overlooking the bull run route. It was the swankiest hotel room I’ve ever stayed in, but well worth the money. The sound-proof doors and windows did their job as I was blasted with a wall of noise when I opened the balcony doors in the morning.
Our view couldn’t have been better as we stood on our balcony watching the longest stretch of the route a few stories below us. Every year since then, I stay awake until 8AM Pamplona time to watch the Running of the Bulls via the internet. The festival continues for eight days, so I may not get to watch every run, but I certainly make an effort to watch a few.
By the way, last year I put together a “So, you wanna run with the bulls, huh?” type of entry. Feel free to click your way over and learn about what I did to make my Running of the Bulls experience an absolutely fantastic (and safe) adventure.