When you first arrive in Pamplona it is hard to believe that the quaint little city of Pamplona, home to only 300,000 people, with no regular night-life, would play host to an additional 700,000 people and one of the craziest parties imaginable.
The changes throughout the city became rapid in the days leading up to start of San Fermin. The fences which lined the Bull Run seemed to sprout and grow over night. Shop owners along Estafeta began boarding up their windows on July 5th to protect their property from the inevitable damage the Encierro always causes.
Nothing in Pamplona compares to walking the course that turns into the Encierro (Bullrun) route on July 7th at 8 am. Starting at the Arga river, where the night before the run, the Bulls cross from their holding pens to the Corralillos, up Santa Domingo, past Ayuntamiento, around the infamously dangerous Curva de Mercaderes, down Estafeta, all the way through Old Town to the entrance of the Plaza de Toros, cannot be walked without thinking of the Bulls and the brave that choose to run.
Whether you choose to run, or just watch, your breath is caught in your throat. The power for the animals and the bravery of the people running is astounding. The memories those scenes leave on the runners and spectators are ones of inspiration, significance and impact.
Pamplona is the last legal drug a delirium that doesn’t stop, a communion with absurdity.
- Carmen Rigalt, El Ruedo.