The "encieros" of San Fermin i.e. the bulls running through the streets of Pampelune/Irunea constitutes an extraordinary witness of the long-lived traditions of Spain. It is always with interest and emotion that I look at them every morning at 08.00 am on the international Spanish TV between July 6th and 14th.
For sure there are injured persons, mostly among the foreign (sometimes drunken) tourists, but it is a part of the game and it is less dangerous, for oneself and for the others, to run in front of the bulls than to drive against sense on the highway.
But the bullfights in the after noon following the "encieros" are often mediocre. The public is that of a football match, nothing to do with the aficionados at the corridas of Las Ventas arenas in Madrid or the Maestranza in Sevilla.
I accept bullfighting as expression of the Spanish culture and tradition but I hate bad toreros.
This year 2010 from 7/07 till 15/07. Encieros at 08.00 h
Les "encieros" de San Fermin c'est-à-dire les la course de taureaux à travers les rues de Pampelune/Irunea constituent un témoin extraordinaire des traditions séculaires toujours vivaces de l'Espagne. C'est toujours avec plaisir et émotion que je les suis chaque matin à 08.00h. sur la TV espagnole internationale entre le 6 et 14 juillet. Bien sur il y a des blessés, le plus souvent parmi les touristes étrangers, mais cela fait partie du jeu et il est moins dangereux, pour soi-même et pour les autres, de courir devant les taureaux que de rouler à contre sens sur l'autoroute.
Par contre ce qui est franchement médiocre ce sont les corridas de l'après midi qui suivent les encieros. Le public est celui d'un match de football, rien à voir avec les aficionados de Las Ventas ou de la Maestranza. Ce dimanche soir la TVE nous a transmis une corrida dans laquelle le second matador (je ne citerai pas son nom) a mis une douzaine de minutes et treize coups de diverses épées pour mettre à mort son taureau. Il est vrai qu'il s'agissait de toros de Miura, connus pour étant particulièrement dangereux, impressionnants de hauteur, de longueur et de poids.
J'apprécie la tauromachie en tant qu'expression de la culture et tradition espagnole mais je déteste les médiocres toreros.
These guys are cute aren't they. Why do people say that they are dangerous? That's what I went to go find out over the weekend. Not much to say other than lots of people, lots of alcohol, no sleep, and a few new fuzzy friends of 2000+ pounds.
The running in Pamplona was quite a rush, it starts at 8am, every year July 7-14, regardless of the day. If you are going to run, you have to get in the route at least an hour early. The police hold you back while they clean the street ahead, and about 30 minutes before, they release the crowd to venture as far up or down the route as they want. The entire thing is about 1/2 of a mile (800m). If you hold still long enough, the crowd will run by and then you can run along the bulls, what a rush. If you enter the arena before the last one, you can run around the field as they release smaller bulls one at a time. Each bull goes for about 10 minutes before it is tired and ushered off. The bulls themselves maybe a bit dangerous, but the crowd is the worst. They are drunk, slow, and stupid, creating more of a threat than the bulls themselves. Otherwise it is a party 24 hours a day for 7 days.
If you do the run:
1) Dont let the police see you with anything with a long strap, i.e. camera bag or backpack (they will detain you for safety reasons... I was pulled out and missed the run in a holding pen, only to try again the next morning)
2) Stay on the inside of the turns... The cobblestone streets will be freshly cleaned and slippery. If a bull is to slip or take a turn wide, which will be due to hoves on slippery cobblestone.
During the San Fermin Festival (July 7 thru the 14) there is a parade of the giants, each representing royalty from some exotic place. They do a little dance at the bus station as well as walk around the festival. The place was packed with kids and adults, all enjoying the festivities.
" The Fuente de Vino " when I saw this on the map then I thought that it HAD to be a wind up but NO there it is and the pic is here to prove it !! Not to far outside the town of Estella and right on the side of the path, So what ever you do then don't miss this Fuente !!!
Burgos was the largest and most interesting city that we walked through on the first section of the Camino, we spent two nights here and were able to explore most of the sites that this Beautiful city had to offer !! The main sites are fairly central and close to the Cathedral and so makes Burgos easy for exploration on foot !! however don't forget to visit Hospital del Rey when you are walking west out of the city !!!
Just North a few blocks of the Plaza de Toros is the Pamplona Catedral and related museum. During the festivities this cathedral is all but ignored. However, it is an amazing piece of archecture dating from the 13th century and contains exquisite marble carvings of the King and Queen of Navarra from the 13th century. The museum contains an excellent ancient music section. The Priests warmly welcomed us as we visited the church. Excellent carvings and art was also in the church, including San Fermin, who the whole festival is dedicated to.
Obviously the running with the bulls is the main course, but I met a number of runner wannabe's who simply did not know where and when they had to be in order to participate. Even though the run starts at 8 am, you gots to get to the staging area in Plaza del Ayuntamiento no later than 7 am. Shortly after that the Polizia clear the course and are hesitant about letting in late comers. After all you didn't travel all that way to watch the bulls!
The first city that we passed trough was Pamplona, a Beautiful city and I wished that we had had more time to spend here !! It is somewhere that everyone has heard of ( because of the Running of the Bulls ) but few people have probably actually visited. If you have a chance then Go because you don't know what you are missing !!!
During the San Fermin Festival (July 7 thru the 14) many local towns arrive with their respective band, mostly of horns. They play their songs while marching through town with their local enthusiats dancing and marching with them. They play extra load whle passing a marching band from another town.
When you leave Pamplona walking the Camino, the path takes you over this ridge and What a Sight !!!! The ridge is Full of Windmills, these generate Pamplona's electricity, I am Very Much in Favour of this for this form of energy and didn't find them at all visually disturbing -- What do you think ???
The running of the bulls, or Los San Fermines, is by far the most famous event to take place in Pamplona. It shouldn’t surprise you, then, that the festival is held in pretty high esteem in this city, or that there is a massive monument to it in the city centre. Actually, this is the Segundo Ensanche, so you know that the statue is a fairly recent innovation. Still, it is pretty impressive to be walking along what should be a pretty banal shopping street, only to be faced with a dozen or so charging (metal) bulls and the brave souls who jump in their path. This is a great place for photos, especially if you have someone to take your picture on the statue (or of whom you can take a picture).
The stuff exhibited shows Navarra's heritage from prehistory to present times.
I recommend specially the romanesque works, there are some exquisite chapitels from different masters. An absolute must if u love medieval art!
Maybe is the most important part in the cathedral. Also in gothic style, it's said that it's a masterpiece of this style in all Europe.
Anyways, look at light going through the archs, it's really a great place. But well, I'm not impartial, I love all cloisters =)
The Iglesia de San Nicolás forms part of the old centre of Pamplona, and, depending on the direction from which you approach it, will either stand out or seem to be tucked into the narrow streets with little worry of its size or impacts on the neighbourhood. In fact, everything about this church is slightly odd – it is primarily Gothic, but at the same time preserves a Romanesque rose (the stained glass) and various other styles introduced by the various reforms and renovations that were conducted over the years. Some people say that it is a bit like a fortress, but I think that that is just the effect of its location so close up to less solidly constructed residential buildings. The tower dates from the 14th century (and is therefore Gothic). Inside, the church presents a much more harmonious ensemble and, despite being rather dark, is altogether beautiful. Musical instrument enthusiasts will note that the organ is the largest in Pamplona. (Calle de San Nicolás).