Topdeck Travel festival manager Amelia Lawrence discovers there’s more to Pamplona’s San Fermin festival than just running with the bulls.
AS it nears noon on July 7th we are in the middle of Pamplona’s main town square — along with several thousand of our new closest friends.
Our group of a few Australians, South Africans and a Canadian has spent the morning celebrating with not only Spaniards but also people from all over Europe, as well as a couple of girls from South America.
As the clock strikes 12, the mayor appears on the balcony of the city hall to much fanfare, and sets off the chupinazo, a rocket which announces the start of this huge festival.
There are streamers, balloons, confetti, and not a small share of fire crackers bursting around us as everyone celebrates the start of another San Fermin.
Of course, for those who don’t want to be in the middle of a huge crowd, the opening ceremony is celebrated all over Pamplona’s beautiful city centre, including more spacious streets and squares around the town square. Here revellers have a bit more room to enjoy the festive atmosphere which pervades the whole of Pamplona, the music that fills the air and the excitement for the upcoming festival itself!
These squares are also a great place to meet some of the locals, who consider the day a family event. To see small children dressed in the traditional white outfits with just a splash of red is common place, and several generations can be seen enjoying the day as one large group.
As we make our way back to our accommodation, hot and sweaty from our morning of partying, the locals try to keep us cool, and clean us off a little, by throwing buckets of water from their balconies into the street.
Those who don’t are hounded by revellers shouting “Agua! Agua!” Under their windows until they relent.
By the end of the day we all feel as if we’ve run with the bulls already, even though the first encierro (bull run) doesn’t start until tomorrow. But it doesn’t matter.
Everyone is ready to party Spanish style, whether running with the bulls or just watching others try to. After the thrilling opening ceremony of San Fermin, how could we not be?
Go to www.topdeck.travel for more information about Topdeck’s range of trips to Pamplona’s Running of the Bulls.