The San Fermin Festival in Pamplona starts every year at 12.00 on the 6th of July, and last until midnight on the 14th. The biggest day of the festival is on the 7th of July, when the statue of San Fermin is carried through the streets of the city. The most famous event during the week in the Running of the Bulls, the Running takes place on the 7th of July, and from than every morning at 8:00am during the week. Six bulls and six steers are released from their corrals, and are guided to the Bullfighting ring over a 825 metres long course through the narrow streets, in a mere 3 minutes. Hundreds of people run in front, and along side of the bulls.
The event is not without danger:
- Over the years 15 people have been killed and each year around 200 to 300 are injured.
- As a visitor it is possible to take part in the running.
- You need to be on the course at 7.30am, be over 18 years old, and you can’t be under the influence of alcohol.
- It is also not allowed to run in the wrong direction. Needless to say, taking part is at your own risk.
The Story of Costa del Sol
Bright and early morning as we began our drive through the mountains to the Costa del Sol. The drive through the mountains was a bit scary. Lots of steep cliffs beside the never ending winding roads. Our first stop was Ronda. Ronda has the oldest bullfighting ring in all of Spain called The Real Maesrtanza. It was built around 1785. Some of the most famous matadors in all of Spain fought in this bullring. We did a quick tour of the bullfighting museum.
I learned that the matadors that wave the capes are not the ones that kill the bull. The main matador is on a horse and uses 4 spears to kill the bull.
The other matadors waving the capes are used to tire out the bull. Seems a little unfair to the bull to me. There are very strict rules on how the bull is supposed to be killed. The spears must be placed in the spine of the bull. No concern about cruelty to animals here. The killed bull is then sent to the local butcher and the meat is sold to restaurants and the bull heads are stuffed and in all the tapas bars in Spain. At least I think that is the case as I have been seeing bull heads everywhere.