Spain - Pamplona 06.07.08
Who would of thought I would end up running with the bulls in Pamplona, Spain!
After five busy days missioning around Barcelona visiting the many tourist attractions and a 6 hour bus ride west across the countryside with our tour group George and I arrived in Pamplona the home of the famous Spanish bull run to a campsite filled with young people boozed on Sangria.
We had 6 very drunk days in Pamplona drinking cheap sangria while partying at the camping ground getting to know the 50 or so people on our tour, mainly from Australia.
On the 6th of July the San Fermin - Running of the Bulls festival kicks off with thousands of tourists/locals cramming into the main town square for the opening ceremony.
Drinking starts early today, champagne is skulled while others spray sangria over each other. The massive mosh pit grows in the morning leading up to 12am when the mayor of Pamplona lights a rocket to start the festival. After this the now very boozed mass of people swarm there way up a few streets to the famous Mussel Bar statue where the insane jump into the crowds of people below. Every year there are handfuls of people who end up breaking bones from the jump which makes it even riskier than running with the bulls!!
George, Chris and I all decided to give the first day of bull running a miss as we were far to hungover from the opening ceremony bash and agreed to do it the next day.
We woke up at 5:30am and piled in to a bus with mainly hungover first time runners looking nervous and scared. We got to our starting point 150m up from where the bulls are let out at 6:15am and stood around asking ourselves who came up with such a stupid idea. At 8am we heard the rocket go off which signals that the 12-15 500-700kg bulls have been let out of their pen and are running. Instantly my heart started pounding harder than ever and I had one thing on my mind to get around Dead Mans Corner (famous for its almost 90° corner where the bulls slide out) before they get to me. After battling with thousands of people falling over and locals trying to trip me up I got around the corner and sprinted as fast I could up the road. The sound of hooves clopping on the cobblestone streets from behind me getting louder as the beasts approached and people in balconies from above shouting 'RUN RUN THE BULLS ARE COMING RUN' was to say the least terrifying. Trying to look behind me while running all I could see were people dressed in white and red splitting apart and then all of a sudden a stampede of around 8 bulls about 10m away running straight at me. I threw myself against a nearbye wall grabbing two people close by to protect myself from the bulls :-P As soon as they past I ran behind them so I could get inside the bull fighting arena/stadium before the next pack of bulls got a chance at mauling me in the narrow streets.
I made it in to the Arena but the adrenaline pumping inside me wasn't going to stop there, they let out smaller bulls in to the arena one at a time around 200-300kg for people to play with!!
After 15 minutes of running away from two bulls and almost getting trampled I was ready to jump the fence and get out of there.
All and all we were very lucky as the bulls behaved on the day we ran and there wern't many injuries. By far the scariest and stupidist thing I've ever done but you gotta live it up while you're young right! :P
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