8th July 2011
Be Hostels invites you to probably the Spain’s most famous festival – Pamplona’s fiesta of San Fermín. In fact, it is one of the best known festivals in the world, to a certain extent because of Ernest Hemingway’s enthusiasm for it, but also because it is one of the most exciting experiences in the life of anyone who attends. Be excited with Be Hostels!
The festival of San Fermin, or the Pamplona bull running as it’s more commonly known outside Spain officially begins at midday on 6th July every year with the ‘chupinazo’ which takes place on the balcony of the Casa Consistorial in Pamplona. Thousands of people congregate in the square awaiting the mayor’s official announcement that the fiestas have begun, a rocket is launched and the partying begins.
The Encierro, Bull Run. This is the most emblematic part of San Fermín. Every morning at 8.00 am from July 7 to 14, the bulls which are to be used in that afternoon’s bullfight are run to the bull ring, and hundreds of mozos, young people, run with them. The runners assemble half an hour beforehand to take up their positions along the route – there are two ways for them to enter (the rest of the route being closed off), from the Plaza del Mercado or the Plaza Consistorial. A rocket is let off to signal that the gate should be opened and another when all the bulls have left their compound. The runners do not race the bulls, which would be impossible, but run ahead of them, trying to keep up with the pace, about 50 metres being as much as is recommendable to try before getting out of their way as cleanly as possible. Many runners carry a rolled up newspaper, to distract a bull if necessary.
What to Wear. July in Navarre is usually hot and close. You are not obliged to wear the traditional San Fermín red-and-white combo, but you will feel less conspicuous if you do and probably enjoy yourself more. It is very straightforward: white trousers and shirt, with a red neckerchief (the red waistband is probably overdoing it).
Food and Drink. San Fermín is not just a drunken revelry, in fact it is a thoroughly family oriented affair. But if you are drinking, and something tells me you might be, take my advice, eat as much as you can, when you can, and try not to get carried away with the drinking euphoria: the idea is to reach a level of intoxication and maintain it, not go over the top. Your staple food will probably be bocadillos and raciones, but Pamplona has taverns and restaurants aplenty. The problem there is timetables: remember, Spaniards, including Basques, all want to dine at the same time, 10, 10.30, or later, so getting a table at 11.00 can be tricky indeed.
How to get from Barcelona to Pamplona.
Pamplona has got quite good communication routes, although it must be remembered that precisely those days of the San Fermin Festival tend to break down all the services, especially at the weekends which is when the biggest inflow of people takes place.
By train. The train from Barcelona to Pamplona takes about four hours and costs about 30 euros. Trains from Barcelona to Pamplona depart from Sants station (Sants estacio). To get there you should take the green line metro L3.
By bus. Buses from Barcelona to Pamplona cost about 25 euros. It departs from station Barcelona Nord. But you should come there early to buy your tickets, because everyone wants to go to bullrunning, and the tickets can be sold out. To get there take the red line metro L1 and go out at Arc de Triomf.
If you like the idea and you fancy catching exciting emotions, Be Hostels advices you to visit Pamplona this weekend! Enjoy San Fermin and have fun, but please, take care, guys!
Be Hostels want you safe back to Barcelona!