After living off Pintox for the last 4 days it was finally time to leave San Sebastian and head to Pamplona for San Fermin. I had booked my accommodation through PP travel as I had only decided a few weeks before I left that I was going to go to the festival based on Jess’s recommendation. Now when I say accommodation I mean a shitty 2 man tent in a camp ground 15 mins out-of-town. The distance wasn’t to bad as they had shuttle buses running constantly so wasn’t too much of an issue but an air mattress would have gone a long way! The camp ground we are on had several tour groups there including the Fanatics…. I hate the Fanatics. They are a good tour group for organising big events like Oktoberfest of San Fermin etc. but it is always full of very drunk and obnoxious Aussies. If you want to party hard and meet no one other than Aussies then this is the tour group for you. Saying that all the groups were a bit like that. PP was more Aussies living in the UK but there were a few english people there and not nearly as many people.
I really didn’t get up to much on the first day. I was pretty hung over and tired from the night before and didn’t want to be hung over for the opening ceremony. This was kinda a mistake on my party I guess coz it turned out to be the biggest party night at the campsite where everyone bonded. Still at least I was nice a fresh in the morning to start drinking unlike most (Harrison and Ricky!). It took us a while to get all our shit together and get everyone ready to head into town for the opening ceremony. We weren’t ever really planning on heading to the town hall centre as we had heard that it was worse than the most crowded mosh pit you have ever been in. As I am not a fan of big crowds we decided to hang out in the larger main square. There was quite a bit of room here to be comfortable but it did get quite crowded just before the rockets went off. At 12 o’clock the mayor of the city comes out onto the balcony and announces the opening of the ceremony and sets off a rocket. It is at this moment that everyone goes crazy and holds there bandana’s up in the air. After the rocket has gone off you are supposed to tie your bandana around your neck and not take it off Until the end of the festival. It would be a bit gross if you did this as the festival also consists of being covered head to toe in sangria. From the time we entered the square people were throwing sangria on each other. It is supposed to only be sangria but we also got flower and mustard thrown on us…. Little Tip: Sangria in the eye hurts!!! so make sure you have lots of water or something to clean your eyes out with.
After the rockets went off we decided to head down some of the side streets and keep on partying. As you walk along the side streets there are people everywhere and loads of people up on the balconies. These people are angels!! As you walk along you yell up to them “Agua!” and they will then dump a huge bucket of water over the top of you. One guy even had hose! It is awesome getting the water dumped on you as the sangria gets quite sticky and it was a 38 degree day. After wandering the streets for a little while we found ourselves at the Musselbar statue. This has to be the stupidest tradition at the festival and I’m pretty sure its only tourists that do it. Guys climb to the top of the water fountain and then jump off the top hoping to be caught by the crowds. A guy managed to get up there when we were there even though everyone was booing and throwing stuff at him. He then jumped backwards off the top and thankfully was caught by a group of his mates. It was VERY impressive but so stupid at the same time!! After several hours of wandering the streets drinking and absolutely soaked we decided it was time to head back to camp and carry on the party there.
The next morning was the first running of the bulls. All of the boys headed into town super early to get in the square so they could make the run. None of the girls were doing the run so we all decided to go to the bull fighting ring to watch it. We were there super early but got seats right at the front and they had lots of music and entertainment going on. It was then time for the run! I was so scared and I wasn’t even running it!! There is no possible way I could have done it. So many people were wiped out by the bulls! There were rumours going around the campsite that someone was killed but i haven’t been able to find anything about that in the papers since. Apparently 2 Americans and a British guy were mauled in the 1st running that we watched. After everyone runs into the ring and all the bulls are out of the ring they then release little baby bulls with blunt horns into the ring and everyone tries to touch them. A few people got cleaned up by them but nothing to serious. After everyone had finished tormenting the bulls it was time to head back to camp and have a nap!
After sweating our balls off under our shanty town shade construction for hours it was time to head back into town. The rest of the group had all bought tickets to go and see a bull-fight but I really wasn’t keen. I know it is tradition but even watching the bulls earlier in the day being tormented by everyone upset me so I really didn’t I could sit through the bulls slowly being killed and tortured for no real reason. The girls all said it wasn’t as gruesome as they thought it was going to be but it wasn’t all that enjoyable either. After the bull-fight we headed to the park to watch the fireworks and have some drinks. It was an amazing fireworks display and an awesome way to end the last couple of days!