The running of the bulls in Pamplona Spain was first made famous in Ernest Hemingway's novel The Sun Also Rises. Since then, tourists have flocked to the Basque town of Pamplona Spain every summer to sing, dance, drink, and careen down the town's cobbled streets with a herd of angry and confused bulls charging behind them during the running of the bulls Pamplona. The encierro, as the actual running of the bulls Pamplona is known, is only one part of the Festival of San Fermin. The non-stop celebration beings at midday on July 6 and continues around the clock until midnight on July 14. During the running of the bulls Pamplona goes completely wild.
Run for your life
In Pamplona Spain, the encierro begins each morning at eight, when six bulls are released from their corral near the Plaza Santo Domingo, and careen, sometimes wildly, sometimes like they're out for a Sunday stroll through the streets to the bullring. Running in front, beside, and sometimes below the beasts, are hundreds of locals and tourists wearing traditional white outfits with red bandanas.
To watch the running of the bulls Pamplona it's essential to arrive at around 6 am. The best places to watch the Pamplona bull run is near the starting point around the Plaza Santo Domingo or the wall leading to the bullring. If you have the stamina and guts to participate in the running of the bulls Pamplona, remember that every year someone gets hurt or killed. So, after you've propped up your courage with a shot of Pacharan, the local moonshine, head to the starting point at Plaza Santo Domingo, where at a few minutes to eight the course is opened and you can take your preferred place along the route. Two rockets are fired to signal that the Pamplona bull run has begun—and to signal your heart to start beating at twice its normal rate. The first rocket signals that the bullpen has been opened, the second means that all the bulls are running. As soon as the first rocket takes flight you can start running, but if you navigate the course at the head of the pack and arrive in the stadium well before the bulls, you will be met with a chorus of lusty boos from the spectators waiting in the stadium. If you wait until the second rocket you are more likely to get closer to the bulls. Just remember if you try to escape the course before the encierro is over you'll be pushed right back into the streets.
The Pamplona Bull run isn't the only thing to see or do during the week. Other events during the week include live music, nightly fireworks and daily bullfights at 6:30 pm (with the bulls that ran in the morning). Tickets are expensive and touts do their best to take both the arm and the leg that you tried so hard to keep away from the horns of the bulls that morning. Don't expect to find accommodations during the running of the bulls Pamplona unless you have booked well in advance, because during San Fermin the town is overflowing and most tourists are happy (and perhaps drunk enough) to sleep in the parks or on verandahs.