A Travellers Guide To San Fermin/The Running Of The Bulls

By Stoke Travel’s 2018 Chosen One, David Duey Spargo

You can run, but you cannot hide. Each year millions of revellers from all across the world filter into the beauty that is Pamplona, Spain for the festival of San Fermin, otherwise known as the Running of the Bulls. Your age, mojo, serotonin and hangover level will determine how you can make the most of your San Fermin. San Fermin is known as the Saint’s feast day, and it dates back to the 13th century. It is unclear when the townspeople decided to join the run, as it was typically used by cattle herders attempting to guide the bulls into the town. I am definitely no shepherd, but I wasn’t there to f$*k spiders either. The Spanish have a name for us who lack judgement in decision making; they call us Mozos.

While I reflect on my run, I for one identify as a Mozo with my scattered thought process that morning and/or evening that was still going from Stoked In the Park. Conditions weren’t the greatest that day as it was raining, I was still drunk, and bulls show no sympathy. After getting the push through the gate from a local member of the law I was in. My level of confidence and my college 400m sprint game was ready to go. The Stoke staff were brilliant, as they provided some tips on how the run will go and what to do, so you know what to expect during the bull run.

The first cannon signalled that the bulls are running, a wave of endorphins sweeps the body and then you hear the final cannon. Wide eyed you look down the track and then feel the power, as the bulls come stampeding down. Ever seen the Lion King, you know the scene where Mufasa dies? Well it’s like that, but with less Scar and wet tissues. If you make it to the arena you are greeted with a roar from the crowd, along with the latest top 20 tracks from MTV. It is surreal to say the least. After running the ring with a baby bull, I retired to head back to the bus which took me to Stoke’s camp site.

I was greeted with a delicious post run (hangover) burger, by the wicked kitchen team, as the punters sat around discussing their runs. The day is yet to be over though, as the unlimited sangria and beer continues to flow. Kegs need to be tapped, sheets need to be laid and the river had to be swum. Who else is going to do it, if not us. The day progresses into a beautiful blur before we get a bus back into Pamplona for the fiesta. There is so much more to San Fermin than just the bull run. My major highlight was the opening ceremony with the wine fight and being washed by locals throwing buckets of water from their balconies. Maybe I was just hanging for a free shower, who knows? The second highlight was moshing to a Spanish punk band with the wild chefs from Stoke Travel. But if head banging punk is not your thing, there is the midnight fireworks, food stalls, carnival and much more over the nine days of San Fermin. If you time it right, you may also get to attend the Stoked in the Park festival.