Saturday, July 9, 2011

Goodbye Pamplona

What an incredible, incredible week. By far, Pamplona has been my favorite part of my trip so far. And not because of how much fun I had at San Fermin (which was in many ways TOO much fun) but because of the wonderful people I met along the way. With everyone in town for the festival, there was an incredible sense of camaraderie. I even have plans for when I arrive in Paris next Sunday to reunite with one of my Aussie friends and have a baguette under the Eiffel tower.
To be able to describe the San Fermin festival would be an impossible fete. While the running of the bulls itself does not seem to be all that thrilling to watch, the energy before and after the race makes those hours of waiting for a 2 minute race all worth while. After the Chipunazo on Wednesday, we spent the rest of the day in the park soaking up sun and drinking tinto de verano. We made it an early night so we could get up early to see the first encierro. After getting a fairly decent spot for how late we arrived, we got our first glimpse at the infamous running of the bulls. It was very anti-climatic since the bulls were in no one angry or terrifying but gentle creatures being chased by a bunch of drunken idiots. After the race we got the traditional San Fermin breakfast of chocolate y churros from this incredible Churreria. While it took a half an hour and 8 euro to get them, they were more than worth it. Quickly afterwards we caught the procesion where 100 year old "gigantes" dance through the streets as the San Fermin statue is carried around town. However, after this, we were all exhausted and headed back home for a siesta.
Thursday night we experienced all the "marcha" San Fermin had to offer. After literally dancing the entire night away, we arrived at the infamous Dead Man's Corner at 5am in order to get front row seats. This area of the run is well known because often the bulls loose control at this turn and slide into the gate, which often times means running into people as well. After buying a San Fermin jumper (or sweatshirt for my American friends, I have been hanging with too many Aussies!) and a cup of cafe con leche, I settled in to wait for the run to begin. We were the first ones there so we had some of the best seats in the house. It was pure comedy watching so many drunk tourists getting dragged out of the run by the (incredibly attractive) police officers. Some even snuck back in by scrabbling under the gates. However, I unfortunately saw no fatal injuries or any injuries for the matter. While MANY have occurred, most people only hear about them on the news and rarely see them.
After spending the entire night out, we somehow managed to drag ourselves to the nearby seaside town of San Sebastian. Close to the French border, San Sebastian was one of the most beautiful cities I have seen in Spain. I wish I could have spent more time there but alas, there are only so many hours in the day.
I finally arrived in Barcelona and am looking forward to my last week in Spain. I can not believe how fast these past 3 weeks have gone by.
Plaza Consistorial
Chocolate y Churros
Los Gigantes and El Procesion
Dead Man's Corner The beautiful beach of San Sebastian

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