The Encierro (running of the bulls) in Pamplona…
Every once in awhile you have a “moment”, today I had one of those “moments”! I didn’t love waking up at 5 am and I definitely didn’t look cute in my white outfit with red scarf & sash (maybe I needed to channel Ernest Hemingway with his signature Panama hat!) but it was totally worth it.
Arriving in the center of town at 6 am to find it already mobbed with bull-run eager participants, I needed to hurry before they starting closing the path to my balcony. I arrived and was greeted by the apartment owner and shown to my viewing spot only to discover I scored this balcony all to myself, maybe this was turning out to be a VIP trip afterall!
I was one floor above the Calle Estefeta right where the action happens and the location was directly after the first treacherous curve of the route in which the bulls head towards the red doors of the stadium for tonight’s bull fight. I stood there in awe, watching the runners stretch and get ready to outrun the bulls while shopkeepers board up their storefronts.
The crowd chants and sings, the street is swept for trash, and the formalities begin; Runners are pushed back by police, men in green polos arrive carrying sticks they use to direct the bulls if needed, local politicians walk and inspect the route, and this collective community in white & red is ready and anxious!
At 8 am, you hear the gunshot and they are off! In a flash, the bulls appear and you see men tumbling, runners literally loosing their espadrilles, and even a few unlucky souls getting run over!
I see one poor guy ‘s t shirt is literally speared by the bulls horn and he is being pulled the entire way into the stadium!
What a rush! What a thrill! What a total “moment” I will never forget!