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Published: July 15th 2006
6 days, 1200 people, ???? tents, ????sangria,???? beers, no sleep, long bus rides---sound interesting--- well it was and I'd do it again.
We left for Pamplona on day one, not a good start on both our parts by taking the right bus but not getting off at the intended stop. A extra train ride and we were at the bus pick-up point 20 minutes later than we should have been. No problems there, straight on the bus and off to Pamplona. A 20 hour bus ride was taking its toll straight away when we realised no air conditioning was the call of the day and to our disgust the heater was jammed on. Excellent, 44 degrees in a bus full of semi drunk people who need to piss all the time. The toilet then decided that he would not like to work and later on in the trip the toilet was set to manual and no flush required as it was a hole and a tank. So all together the bus ride was enjoyable.
On the way we drove past Paris--seen the Eiffel tower, then through heaps of urine smelling, truckie infested fuel stations for the meal of the day--a sandwich,
which was the cheapest and quickest feed on the way.
Finally 20 odd hours had passed and we were driving through the gates of our campsite, El Molino. Excellent facilities at this campsite--a pool, 24 hour bar, ATM, tents, toilets etc etc etc
The first night was a good one but probably the biggest night on the slosh that Kezza and myself have had in a while. Plenty of beers, a bottle of vodka and 3 hours sleep later I was sitting next to Kerrie on the bus with a plastic bag in her hand -- yet again. We were on our way to the opening ceremony of the Running of the Bulls. At 12 o'clock the festival begins and that was 2 hours away. The town centre is crowded at this time with everybodies choice of dress being the traditional white and red colours. Everybody drinks sangria, champagne and beer from now on until the festival ends in 8 days time. So we start drinking and spraying champagne and sangria everywhere like everyone else. The cannons fire red and white confetti everywhere at 12 o'clock and from then on it was so wild, if you looked at the floor
it was full of broken bottles and general rubbish but still the festivities continue. About half an hour later after the sangria starts taking its toll we were off to the muscle bar, which is a statue in the city that everyone jumps off, however this is not condoned. It is this part of the festival that kills people more than the bull running itself. On our way there the streets are alive with all the local people on their balconies throwing buckets of water and whatever else on top of everyone in the streets.
The muscle bar was crowded by the time we got there and people climbing it already. One bloke really had the crowd worried climbing up to the top and asking the crowd for his bottle of sangria. A little slip and I think he shat his pants but he maintained to hold on and then stood up again on top of the statue. A minute had passed and he finally lost balance and fell. Luckily he was caught by the crowd. Possibly the best part of the muscle bar experience is when girls get up there and the people dont catch them until they get
there tits out- I totally agree with this idea.
From the muscle bar we went to the White Horse pub and had a few more sangrias then back to the muscle bar only to find a few Rocko lads (Trev, Kenno and Gordo) gearing up to jump off the muscle bar. They did it!!
After all the opening day festivities had come to a close we went back to the campsite and chilled out as the next day is the first run of the bulls and I chose to be sober to run with the bulls.
Get up, Get up, Get up were the cries of the tour leaders for us to get out of the tents at 5 ish for a 8 am run start. A short bus ride later we where back in the streets of Pamps in the same sangria--champagne--piss--dirt---b.o --smelling clothes gearing up to run.
The girls went into the stadium and a group of us lads headed to the bull run. We had no idea where to start from as so many people have given us different ideas but we ended up right in the town center which was possibly the safest closest area for
us because people who are at the back are closest to the bulls at the start but the last in the stadium and they may not be let in the stadium. The people furtherest away from the bulls get in the stadium first and are boooed by the crowd and where we were was perfect, however it was so crowded and the start of the first cannon created a wave of people pushing so they can run. The second cannon then fires which means that all of the bulls are out of the corral and running rampid through the streets of pamplona looking to create carnage wherever they go.
The run took 2 minutes and 3 seconds for the bulls from start to finish. Needless to say 800 odd metres takes men a little more time and after one of the bulls turned around at one of the sharp 90 degree--downhill corners, it took myself and many others a bit longer as we turned around a ran backwards away from the psychotic bull going the wrong way.
Finally in the stadium and all the bulls had been ushered by the herders out of the bull ring. A feeling of exhaustion
and adrenallin rushes through your body as everyone in the ring is so happy they made it. Next up they bring out a steer (wild bull) one at a time for all the people in the bull ring to play around with. These are fast, feisty young bulls with corks on their horns. I stayed in the ring for two of these bulls and then jumped out of the ring to catch my breath and watch for a while. The next task was to find Kerrie and it turned out to be easier than I thought but she looked sad --someone had pick pocketed her and stolen my sunglasses while hers where on her head--go figure
After that we were back on the bus for a day in San Sebastian. A hour and a half later we arrived there and it looked great.The beach was packed, there was surf and of course plenty of the female kind topless. A police report was the next task and it proved to be easier than we thought and enabled us to see most of the town and beaches. We then walked back to the beach where everyone else was sitting and I hired
out a longboard and had a surf-- third surf in 3 months. And Kerrie basked ont he beach, and surprise surprise, got sunburnt.
After a surf we had lunch then went back to the campsite and got back on the sauce for the rest of the night.
The next day we went back to watch the next bull run from the spectators point of view. The crowd was the biggest I have ever seen and the bull ring was jam packed. It was then that I actually seen what really goes on in the bull ring, so many injuries taken home. The rest of the day we lazed about the campsite under any bit of shade we could find because it was so hot. At 6 pm we all piled on the bus for the ride home. This time the bus was quiet and we caught up on some much needed sleep. It was also a race against time for some to get back to London to catch the world cup final and for us to catch up with Marty.
Back in London...................Next stop Amsterdam..................
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