Thursday, August 6, 2015

Pamplona, Spain

From Barcelona, the 7 of us headed to Pamplona with a tour outfit that put us up in bungalows near the quaint town of Mendigorria.  We were going to join the annual San Fermin Festival craziness and watch the running of the bulls!

 The quaint town of
Mendigorria
overlooked our camp

Though we had a
bungalow, it was
primitive! No soap,
towels or A/C
provided!
The festival starts July 6th at noon and runs through July 14th
We were bussed into Pamplona everyday, if desired, to party with people from all over the world. It was a crazy scene!  On the 6th, we joined the hordes to gather in the city square for the official opening of the festival at noon.  White clothes with red sashes are traditional and a red "panuelo" or neckerchief is worn around the wrist until the noon start when they are then transferred to the neck for the rest of the festival in honor of Saint Fermin, the patron saint of the festival.


city hall, with the flags, is where cannons will be fired at noon for the official start of the festival



 After coffee, we made our way to the city square where thousands were gathered for the opening!  At the countdown, neckerchiefs are help up in the air :

 At noon rockets are fired off at city hall, the band plays and people go crazy spraying each other with sangria much of which has already made it into their bodies;)
Jims shirt is more pink than white now but look how happy he is!:)



taking a break, looks like my brother needs it;) 
 Before dawn the next day we were back in Pamplona for the first bull run.  This was our view.  Yep, didn't really see much:
looking between legs, across the buffer zone, to the thousands of runners waiting for the bulls to be released
waiting for the bull run 
 It was over in seconds and all we saw were flashes of hide as the bulls ran by in-between crazy people running with them.  Then we saw a person who had been injured being pulled through the barriers into the safe zone.  Turns out it was a very high casualty day with at least 6 people being taken to the hospital.  It helped to dissuade the members of our group who had been thinking about running for which the rest of us were very grateful.
 We were back again the next morning all jazzed up and ready for the next bull run:
ready to see the next bull run!
 This time we watched it from a fourth floor balcony directly overlooking the main bull run stretch!

wow, what a difference, what a view!
 I took a video of the actual run and will be posting it to FB.
 On our last day in Pamplona, we opted for a seat in the arena to watch the bulls enter at the end of their run.  They run straight through the arena into pens for the evening bull fights.

 The band plays and cheerleaders get the crowd stirred up for the arrival of the bulls:
 You can see the bull among the runners entering the arena:
the first bull enters the arena
 After the bulls run through the arena, several younger bulls are sent into the arena, one at a time, to "play" with the runners.  The horns are corked, but it is still pretty crazy!!!!

Off to Madrid next!

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