Running of the Bulls In Pamplona, Spain
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Running of the Bulls In Pamplona, Spain

Running of the Bulls In Pamplona, Spain

Every year in Pamplona, Spain there is a festival called The Running of the Bulls.

This isn't just your average festival. People come here from all around the world and risk their lives to make a half mile dash through the streets of Plaza del Castillo and into a bull fighting arena. The run lasts only four minutes at 8 a.m.,  every day for 10 days straight. However, sleepless spectators gather for the event to celebrate, expecting to out run these wild beasts.

The tradition began in the 13th century when shepherds would run with their bulls through the streets of Pamplona and into the bull area to sell them as they were too old for the shepherds to profit from them. As the years passed, locals joined in and it soon became a worldwide festival. Contributors, as well as bystanders, journey to San Fermin prepared to endure what felt like a weekend equivalent to spring break... and the city was more than ready to handle it.  

Currently I am studying abroad in Madrid. Six friends and I made our way to Pamplona via rental car on June 12.  We had absolutely no idea what we were getting ourselves into. The city transformed from a rich cultured plaza into a massive Spanish frat party that shut down the city. Imagine a tailgate at your favorite frat with zero law enforcement, zero morals, and zero dignity... times 10.

We began our night at about 2 a.m. We attended the carnival, enjoyed a concert, and drank with natives and non-natives. To view the run, we rented a balcony and watched the entire event from a bird's eye view on the second story of a building alongside the street hosting the sprint. It was incredible to view roughly 3,500 people in a stampede through the streets racing about 10 full grown bulls.  The bulls trample the clumsy and gore the unlucky with their massive horns leaving them in agony. The bulls are then directed into the arena where they are kept until the bull fight.  

After a morning/afternoon slumber we awoke, scarfed down some succulent and very necessary burgers, and attended the bull fight. You grow up thinking bull fights are some kind of harmless entertainment but, boy, were we in for a treat. These bull fighters are celebrities amongst this community and they taunt these bulls to their death. I won't go into details about the fight but, basically, I could only stomach one-sixth of the fights and it concluded in tears.

We spent our next night roaming the streets and drinking until it was time for yet another bull fight. This time we watched from the streets through two colossal fences in which I wiggled my way through the crowd for a front row view. When the canon's fired to signal the bull release I actually felt an adrenaline rush myself, even as an observer. Our friends actually ran in the race and I cannot even fathom the feelings and thoughts that must have been going on in their minds.

We picked up some churros, souvenirs, and bocadillos to conclude our unforgettable weekend in a town that law enforcement forgot about for this incredible event.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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