You know they spit on women, don't you?
Pamplona Travel Blog› entry 6 of 14 › view all entries
Claustrophobiaâ€”it was suddenly all I could think about. The walls of the buildings were enclosing me. My 5â€™1 stature felt like it could reach up and touch the bottom of the balconies without stretching. The makeshift fences littered with people were on top of me. I couldnâ€™t make a move without bumping into a drunk. I took a deep breath to remind myself that I was only walking the routeâ€”I wasnâ€™t crazy enough to actually run with the bulls.
My path and the encierro started in front of the bullâ€™s corral along Santa Domingo. It was hard to fathom how this tradition started seven centuries ago to speed up the process of getting the cattle to markets. As the practice continued, it slowly turned into a competition among the butchers, leading to the festival that it is today. I wondered if they knew then what they had started or even that 700 years later they would eventually let women join in?
The route was beginning to fill up. It was still two hours before the rockets would sound, but I could begin to see the nervous looks in the menâ€™s faces. I had yet to see another girl as I continued along. Women have only been allowed to run for about 15 years. There were still the aficionados, those annual runners who held the tradition in the highest regards, which felt that women should remain spectators. I remembered how on the first day of the run, since there were too many runners to safely run, the first people the police pulled from the route were the women, followed by the fall-down drunks and then those without proper running shoes or obstructing clothing.
The claustrophobia subsided when you stepped into expansive Plaza Consistorial.
I began to wonder what possessed
people to knowingly put their life in danger?
In such a tight squeeze, between the six
As I walked, I came to dead manâ€™s corner. The 90-degree turn was too sharp for the bulls to navigate, so they crashed into the left side of the wall. This gave people the false sense of security that if you stayed along the right side of the route, youâ€™d be safe. I continued down the homestretch as the arena came into sight. Now the route bottleneckedâ€”it opened up, only to slim down as you entered the arena. As I got to the end I took in my surroundingsâ€”the fences were crammed with people and the police were trying to keep things in check. Hemingwayâ€™s bar was in view, a fitting reminder to how this act of stupidity was popularized.
to the Plaza Consotorial an hour and a half before the start.
As I stood there, an overhead camera tracked my every move. I was the only girl in the vicinityâ€”a sideshow
act of sorts. I stood there with no
intention to run, but I began to hash out the â€śwhat-ifs.â€ť Was it enough just to say I was in
As I stood there with questions running through my mind, a local approached and asked if I planned on running.
These guys were awesome...they were some of the craziest, adventurous guys I had ever met. Stories of their runs, trying to sneak into bull fights, crashing the PETA Running of the Nudes...I knew this was a group I wanted to be in. I went with a bunch of them to an internet cafe to see if we could find a video of the days run.
After walking the route, the guys opted to start in the Plaza Consistorial. I decided to hang out with them there and if I hadn't chickened out by 7:30, I would run as well. For most of the 2 hours leading up to the run, I was the only girl in my general vicinity.
As the clock neared 8, I realized I was really going to run w/the bulls. It is by far the dumbest and craziest thing IÂ´ve ever done. I was pretty nervous those 2 hours leading up to it. I kept thinking about backing out, but then figured if I did I would always wonder why. About 2 minutes before they release the bulls, they let off a notice to start moving. I walked/ran a bit to ensure that I was around dead manÂ´s corner before the bulls were released. In the process I met the nephew of the owner of the Lake Metonga Supper Club in Crandon, a town I used to live in (small freaking world).
I never saw the second set of bulls b/c I made it to the arena just before they did. Once in the arena, they release 6 younger bulls one at a time. The bulls have rubber on their horns so they donÂ´t gore you. It took all of 2 minutes of the first bull released for me to jump the wall into the stands. I was along the edge when the bull came rushing toward us.
But yeah, I ran with the Bulls. If I can do that, I can do most anything. I stayed to the right to avoid the main path of the bulls, so I could play it safe.
I donÂ´t know what it was, but as soon as I got into Pamplona I felt that it wasnÂ´t enough to just watch, that I would have to run. I spent 8 hours over 2 days sitting on a 2" wide fence just to see the runs.
I wore the same clothes for 5 days. Took no showers. Slept about 5 hours the first night, and then maybe 3 hours total the next 4 days. Pamplona was absolutely crazy. Party 24/7, garbage everywhere, guys relieving themselves on any structure possible. It was a constant smell of urine, garbage, sangria and heat. It was hard to believe that just a day before I wanted nothing more than to get out of town, but now I could say I ran with the bulls. I had met up with a really cool group of people and had decided that instead of heading to France right away, I was going to get my money and head to San Sebastian. For the past couple days everyone I talked to mentioned that a lot of people head there to recover. I met a group on Monday that was going to head there, including a couple of the guys I had met, so the first unplanned portion of my trip was about to happen.