Todd's experience running with the bulls was a lot better than mine, so I'm going to let him dazzle you with that story.
The tradition in Pamplona is to sleep in the park, and then run with the bulls the next day. This is a convenient tradition because we didn't want to pay for hotels anyway.
We walked as far away from the festivities as possible, which go all the way until around 4am every night, and set up our awesome Luxury Lite cots in the park. We locked our bags shut and locked them to our cots. Sleeping was a bit cold since we don't actually have sleeping bags, but the Luxury Lite definitely keeps you comfortable.
The next morning we woke up and frantically packed our beds up to get down to the city to run. Runners had to be in place at 7:30. At 7:28 we were running around like chickens with our heads cut off trying to find the right place to duck through the wooden safety barriers.
Just in the nick of time we squeezed in and took our places.
I wasn't scared until then. The odds of getting hurt are actually very low, but that doesn't make much difference to your brain when you're in a cobblestone alley that's about to be a racetrack for 1500 pound bulls.
The police officer was pointing to Todd's shoes, the Vibram Five Fingers. They are intended for running, but he didn't buy it. I don't think I've seen Todd angry on this entire trip, but he looked like he was about to explode. We tried to explain that Todd is a runner and that the shoes were made for running, but they weren't hearing it. He got pulled out and I was pushed down further by the crowd.
Not running with the bulls wasn't an option. Todd would have to buy new shoes and we'd stay another night.
That night, however, was freezing and windy. There was no way we could comfortably sleep in our spot in the park. So we waited up in the bus station, hoping that when it closed we'd be permitted to sleep in it.
Then we went to an underground parking lot and tried to pay the day rate for a parking spot.
They weren't having any of that either.
We decided to walk out of town a bit, away from the crowds. In town there were so many people trying to find somewhere to sleep that we knew we probably wouldn't find anything.
We crossed the street near the bus terminal and walked across the big sidewalk-median that separated the lanes. We passed over a grate that was blowing out hot air.
"Maybe we can just sleep here."
It was so nice and warm that we decided to try it even though it was nearly certain that the police would move us. Maybe we could get at least an hour of sleep or so before we got kicked out.
We set up and our beds became an instant spectacle, particularly with my silk sheets and the eye mask I got from Qatar airways. To our surprise we were never kicked out and we slept soundly all night.
Well, not totally soundly. People woke me up a few times to take pictures and girls would yell out "sweet dreams" and "good night" as they passed. Here's a video:
Hello everyone, please don´t get cold at nights this year and stay with us at www.sanferminhostel.jimdo.com
We are located just at the running of the bulls!!!
Awesome story guys, I was actually planning on doing the same thing this year in a couple of weeks. I have a question though, where did you store your belongings when you were running/partying?
That's awesome, I didn't realize you were there. I ran on the last day which was rather unfortunate because of the crowds. At least I assume it was more crowded on the last day, but I don't know for sure. I'm also kinda surprised that Todd got kicked off for wearing 5 fingers. I ran in sandals and the police showed not the slightest interest. Of course there were too many people for them to check everyone. Are you going to post how the actual running went?
Our original gear list has changed. We've added a few gems and have also dumped some poor performing or no longer useful stuff.
Stuff that hit the trash can.
“I’m a bull running rockstar!”
These are the words I use to describe myself these days, but on July 11, 2012, the only words I could speak with certainty and sincere humbleness were, “Jesus keep us near the cross.” You see, before my rockstar status kicked in, I was just one person in a group of people from the Nomad.ness Travel Tribe heading to Pamplona, Spain to participate in the annual running with the bulls.
Yes, you read that right.
Led by our friend and leader Evita Robinson, our group prepared to go where very few minorities have gone. To say we were scared out of our minds would be an understatement. We were scared -- not just by the thought of being gored by a bull, terrorized from the knowledge of its own impending death, but by the fear of the unknown. There were no other black people to ask for detailed advice (although we got some help from our friend Oneika, who participated a few days before). Even watching countless videos and maps of the route and previous runs did little to squash our fears.
As we sat in our house in Madrid waiting for our bus and making small talk, you could feel the nervousness of uncertainty in the air. Even I had to admit that I was ready to punk out at the last minute when talk began of writing down everyone’s travel life insurance information “just in case.” The bus arrived and we scurried towards it. We were aware of our fate, but determined to go strong until the end. We tried to ease the thick air on the bus by taking pictures and cracking jokes, but it was clear by the bible nearby and the recently purchased rosary around my neck that our minds were elsewhere. I couldn’t hear the thoughts of my friends, but mine were loud and clear “Should I do this?,” “We are crazy! Black folk DO NOT run with bulls!,” “I can’t believe we’re doing this! I can’t believe I WANT to do this!,” “Jesus, just keep us all near the cross and help us make it out safely.”