During study abroad, one of our weekend day-trips was to Iruña, known as Pamplona to non-natives. Pamplona is home to the Running of the Bulls, which is famous world-wide, and was happening one week after our visit. Though it would’ve been cool (yet dangerous) to see, we were still able to see the city preparing for the festivities surrounding the big event. Even being a week away from the festival, there were already celebrations going on in the streets, with everyone dressed in their white and red San Fermin outfits.
Part of the annual San Fermin festival, the Running of the Bulls started as a way to get the bulls from outside of the city into the bullring to be fought and killed. Traditionally, two rockets are fired into the air at the strike of 8am, which begins the bulls’ run into the bullring, where a 3rd rocket is fired to notify everyone that the bulls have entered the building. The final rocket is fired when all of the bulls have been safely corralled in the bullring. Thankfully, the tradition of killing the bulls has been slowly fading, due to the increasing presence of PETA and other animal rights groups. The festivities of San Fermin last from July 6-14th every year, so keep that in mind if you want to see (or avoid) these Spanish traditions.
While I was there, we wandered where the bull run would take place and even saw the wooden boards that were set up along the streets to protect the bystanders and the runners that got closer to a bull than they’d hoped. We also saw the gorgeous Pamplona Cathedral; the architecture, light, and history were absolutely stunning and unbeatable.
After touring the city for a bit with the group, we were dismissed in the Plaza del Castillo to go wherever we wanted for lunch. This was my favorite part of any day-trip because it was when my best friend, Bree, and I could explore the city like locals and find the best, smallest, mom-and-pop shop for lunch. This was where we would always find the most fresh, local, and traditional food, and, being the foodies that we are, this was the best part of our day. I wish I could give you the names of exactly where we ate, but that’s how remote they were – either nameless or something very common, like “carniceria”, which is Spanish for meat shop.