My First Spanish Festival: Running with the Bulls

Less than one month into my big move to Spain I took a trip to Pamplona, Spain to see for myself how the Spaniards like to party.  You can’t live in Spain and not go to The Running of the Bulls (aka Sanfermines) at least once.  Right?

The festival was unlike one I had ever been to before. Everywhere you looked people were dressed in red and white, canteens slung over their shoulders and bottles of sangria in both hands.

All the hotels and hostels booked out months before, so I left without a single plan and nothing more than my red and white colored clothes and a clip attached to my pants to hold my camera and debit card.

I had no idea what I was getting myself into by attending this festival. 

I arrived on opening day when they have the first party in the town hall.  The festival started at noon on July 6th with the setting off of a rocket (chupinazo).

At this time, I was standing away from the bigger crowd when all the sudden a man screams at the top of his lungs, “Everybody look at her!!!”

In that instant the man dumped a full gallon of sangria over my beautifully straightened hair.


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 I was pushed toward the crowd and I realized that there was no turning back.

Before I knew it I was picked up by my feet and thrown up and tossed up across a crowd of thousands of people.

Realizing that there was no getting down, I loosened up, allowed myself to surf the crowed and enjoy the ride!

I left the opening party covered from head to foot in pure sangria. The rest of the day and into the night was nothing but a huge street party.

My clothes were absolutely disgusting, my long hair was a disaster and my fountain rinse-off did not do a great job.

Who cared though?!

 I was in Spain at one of the biggest and most famous festivals in the world! 

There were people dancing all over the street until the wee hours of the morning and at 8 am a firecracker was released to show that the bulls were released from their corral.

Thousands of runners lined the narrow streets of the Old Town section.  The rest of the people lined the side of the streets or gathered in balconies to watch the fascinating run of crazy (and mostly drunk) people who attempted to run in front of the angry bulls. It all ended in a bullring where thousands of people gathered together.

A rocket was released to show that the race was over.  The young cows with wrapped horns were released in the ring and they chased the people who dangerously approached them. Paramedics lined the side of the ring,  prepared for the next person injured by a horn in the side.

The party did not stop even when the race was over.  The people never ran out of energy.  We checked into our “hotel” (aka the park) and took a short nap before our train back to Zaragoza.

I wanted to experience a true festival like the Spaniards and I got exactly what I was hoping for and more. We arrived back home dirty, smelly and exhausted, but with memories that were priceless!


Don´t forget to read:  

Sarah - thenomadicdreamer.comMy First Spanish Festival: Running with the Bulls