(No, that's not me in this picture). This is a reminder for all those who have "running with the bulls" on their running bucket list -- you better start making your travel plans soon for the July festival.
The fiesta runs from July 6th through the 14th, with the daily running of the bulls beginning on the 7th. For centuries, bulls have been driven from their overnight enclosure across narrow, cobbled streets to the bullring (the Plaza de Toros) across town for the afternoon bullfight (corrida). Locals initially found it exciting to run along with the bulls. Soon, the more daring decided to test their bravery by running in front of the bulls, wearing the traditional garb of white shirt and trousers with a red waistband and neckerchief.
Go here for more information on the festival and event.
In 1926, the encierro gained world-wide notoriety with Ernest Hemingway’s account of the event in The Sun Also Rises. ( I read the book. A lot of drinking in it!). Each day of the encierro at around 8 a.m., a rocket is fired the moment the bulls are let out; a second rocket goes off to warn everyone when all the bulls are in the street. Typically there are at least six bulls, accompanied by a half dozen steers to help lead the way. The run begins on the street called Santo Domingo, considered the most dangerous since the animals are full of energy and runners don’t yet realize just how fast an agitated half-ton bull can motor. Another critical area is near the end of the roughly half-mile route at the Callejón, where the narrow corral can cause a pile-up of runners trying to gain entrance into the bullring.
Thrill seekers who want a safer, though not necessarily more civilized event in Spain, can travel to the village of Bunol near Valencia on the fourth Wednesday of August. There, the combination of sangria-filled revelers and countless tons of tomatoes results in the world’s biggest food fight called La Tomatina.