A few years back I packed up everything I owned and headed to Europe for a few months. My plan was to run with the bulls. I'm sure it had something to do with Hemingway. With memories that are a mix of sweat, fear and sangria, the Running of the Bulls is still one of the best experiences of my life.
If you want to make the trip, plan early. This video breaks down the course and how to navigate the
festival. There are some things you need to know before you go, at-least things I wished I knew.
There are, in fact 22 things you need to know. Here they are:
1. The festival takes place every year between July 6 and July 14.
2. The event is officially known as Fiesta de San Fermin or Sanfermines.
3. There is a massive opening ceremony party on July 6 at noon. Use the bathroom before going. It gets packed and it's hard to get out. One guy I was with ended up pissing himself; I don't recommend this.
4. The festival ends with a candlelight ceremony on July 14.
5. Bulls run every morning at 8 am. The first run is on July 7.
6. Line up for the run by 7 am. The police won't let you in if it gets too packed.
7. Don't climb over the fences.
8. You must be over 18-years-old.
9. Never touch the bulls with your hands! You may use an object like a rolled up newspaper or a stick.
10. You must be sober for the runs, (this rule isn't always followed).
11. If you fall, stay down and protect yourself. It's more likely the bulls will just run past you.
12. You must wear a red scarf, red sash, white shirt and white pants. Don't put the scarf on until the festival officially begins.
13. If you're not running, it is possible to rent space on one of the balconies above the street.
14. No heels. Wear tough shoes, even if you're not running.
15. Sangria is sold in large juice boxes, pick up some for the opening ceremonies.
16. No electronics (I didn't exactly follow this rule, hence the video).
17. If you want to run all the way into Plaza De Toros you have to be fast. The gates close behind the last bull.
18. It is possible to rent a storage locker to leave your luggage.
19. Many backpackers sleep in the city parks and keep all their belongings at their feet in sleeping bags. Be careful! People have been known to cut the bottom of the bags and rob you while you're sleeping.
20. Keep some sort of ID and emergency contact information on you. So if you get hurt, officials know who you are and whom to call. Don't carry your passport.
21. The course is about a half a mile long.
22. Listen for two gunshots. The first shot signals that the gate is open. The second shot signals the bulls have left the corral.