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Preparing for the Festival of San Fermin 2013

Find out what you need to do to prepare for the July Festival of San Fermin 2013. And more importantly, the actual Running of the Bulls 2013.

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No amount of planning can prepare you for the Festival of San Fermin 2013 (locally known Sanfermines). Every year over a million visitors from around the world descend on the small town of Pamplona in Spain for 9 days in July.

The streets of this proud Navarre region are taken over with revellers adorned in white and red celebrating one of the craziest festivals in the world, the Festival of San Fermin. And most of them are only there to see, or participate in, The Encierro. Better known as the Running of the Bulls.

Running with the Bulls, San Fermin Bull Fighting Pamplona

Bullfighting at the Festival de San Fermin

Festival of San Fermin 2013

If there is only one festival you plan to go to in 2013 then the Festival of San Fermin 2013 should be it. It will be the craziest, scariest, most exciting and adrenaline fuelled few days of your life.

San Fermines 2013 runs between July 6 to July 14, as it has for the last few hundred years. The festival marks the celebration of Saint Fermin who is one of the two patrons of Navarre, and is also considered as a martyr in the Catholic Church.

At noon on the 6th July the Festival of San Fermin 2013 will officially begin when the chupinazoa ceremonial rocket, is fired from the town hall in Pamplona.

From then on it is one wild ride of sangria, bulls, dancing, fireworks and little sleep.

Festival of San Fermin 2013 Program: July 7 – 14 July

Every day after the 6th July until midnight on the 14th July, the San Fermines will run in the same fashion:

The Encierro or Running with the Bulls

San Fermin Running with the Bulls still

Still image from our video while running with the bulls

From 6am, those not tanked up on sangria and still able to run safely will start gathering on the narrow streets of Pamplona.

This was one of the most terrifying parts for me as the tension slowly builds in the crowd and you really begin to contemplate what you are doing. Nervous hugs, jokes and silence ascends on the crowd of locals and tourists standing shoulder to shoulder in the pale morning light.

If you have any second thoughts then this is the time to seriously consider if you want to put your life at risk.

Just before 8am the runners ask for the protection of Saint Fermin by singing a chant three times before a small statue of the Saint near the bulls corral. At 8am the first firecracker is set off to announce the release of the bulls. A second firecracker is quickly sounded which signals that the last bull has left the corral.

In total there are six fighting bulls that have never run before accompanied by six oxes that are seasoned veterans. These oxes guide the other bulls to the arena. Shepherds also guide the unpredictable bulls to ensure they don’t turn on the crowd. Although it does still happen.

From there it is a wild 825 metre dash along the narrow fenced streets of Pamplona into the bullfighting arena. As the first bull enters the arena a third firecracker is released before the fourth firecracker announces the end of the run now that all the bulls are safely locked away in the bullpens.

Festival of San Fermin, Running with the Bulls Video, Pamplona

Festival of San Fermin – Running with the Bulls

But that doesn’t signal the end of the fun.

Once all of the bulls have cleared the bullfighting arena, young bulls with their horns wrapped in padding are released into the bullring to cause carnage. Be careful not to get taken out, or the crowd will laugh! And whatever you do, don’t touch the bulls or you will be set upon by the locals who consider the bulls sacred.

Festival of San Fermin 2013 Street Party

Hopefully you survived the running of the bulls and came out unscathed. And that is lucky as this is when the Sanfermines Festival really kicks off. As the Running of the Bulls finishes, the Festival of San Fermin 2013 continues.

Everyone grabs their sangria filled bota bags (wine skins) and parties on the streets until the following run the next morning.

We always took this opportunity to retire to our accommodation for a few hours to catch up on sleep, go surfing in San Sebastian, and grab some delicious local pinxtos (tapas). We wouldn’t return to Pamplona again until the evening because we needed the rest as the party is unlike anything you have every experienced.

You will see scenes that astound you, but make you rush to join in.

Like the men with Firebulls, which are basically a paper mache bull with fireworks strapped to their backs, running through the crazy crowd. Children chase after them and everyone ends up covered in scorching hot cinders. Watch the video below…

There are also countless parades and street bands wandering along the cobbled stones singing and dancing with the crowd. The Spanish really know how to party. 

Bull Fights at the Festival of San Fermin 2013

Every evening from 6.30pm between the 7th and the 14th July the bullfights begin. The six bulls that ran that morning will be killed in the bullfighting.

The atmosphere in the arena is even crazier than in the street. I am not sure if it is the blood-lust or the sangria that gets the Spanish crowd so excited, but they definitely were enjoying themselves.

Just be aware that attending the bullfighting isn’t for everyone. I am not squeamish but by the killing of the third bull I had enough and wished they would finish each fight sooner.

We also appreciate the controversies surrounding the bull fighting and that post covers our thoughts on it which you might want to check out before deciding to attend or not.

Bullfighting in Spain, Sanfermines, Festival of San Fermin

Bullfights at the Festival of San Fermin

And while the Pamplona bullring is the fourth largest in the world, it is full every afternoon and tickets are hard to find. We managed to buy some on the gate a few hours before the fight but were lucky to snap some up.

Where to stay for the Festival of San Fermin 2013

Finding accommodation for San Fermin 2013 can be nearly impossible if you don’t organise it months in advance. We joined Busabout for their Running with the Bulls tour which proved ideal.

The Busabout campground is located about an hour from Pamplona. However they provided breakfast every morning as well as tents and transportation to and from Pamplona throughout the day, and night. Don’t miss the last bus at 3am or you will be there until 6am like our friends were.

What to take for the Festival of San Fermin 2013?

Festival of San Fermin, San Fermines 2013, Sanfermines 2013, San Fermin Festival 2013

Ready for action at the Festival of San Fermin

If you are visiting Sanfermines for the first time then don’t go along with any preconceptions. Have an openmind and be prepared to party like it’s 1999 all over again.

If you are visiting San Fermin 2013 with a company like Busabout, then you don’t need much else other than some sturdy running shoes and a sleeping bag. They will provide you with the tent, red bandanna, white t-shirt and extra tips on where to go and what to do.

While the days are hot in Spain, the evenings can be cold, so consider taking an old sweater that you don’t mind throwing out afterwards. The stink and stickiness of sangria never comes out.

Should I run in the Festival of San Fermin 2013?

Most definitely.

But be aware that this is a very dangerous and risky activity. 15 people have been killed in the Festival of San Fermin since 1925. While the last death was an American tourist in 2009 every year there are hundreds of people injured while Running with the Bulls.

Luckily most of these are not serious.

If you want more information and a full list of the activities during the Festival of San Fermin 2013, then check out the the Navarra Council website.

Or book your festival now!

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14 Comments

14 Comments

  1. Dale

    March 7, 2013 at 10:54 AM

    It was great to read about your experience last year as I’ve never been to see the spectacle that the whole festival must be with so many people all together enjoying themselves – but it’s still wrong in my eyes.

    I read last year your thoughts on how well the bull is treated in the run up to the fight, how it’s more of a dance and celebration of life than an outright blood spectacle; however, imagine it was a human.

    Take a human, put them at The Ritz, feed them with the best food possible, make them dance & dance around them as they bleed to death. It’s just not right.

    And, I know it’s just my personal opinion, I’m sure there are many who would love the opportunity to run alongside you, but it’s just not for me, Cole.

    • Cole Burmester

      March 7, 2013 at 11:50 AM

      Thanks Dale for your comment. One of the reasons we write this blog is to hear from fellow travellers and get their perspectives on various things we do. I completely understand your feelings and so glad you have shared your personal feelings with us here! Hopefully you understood that I was in no way encouraging or forcing people to go and witness a bull fight themselves. And I definitely wouldn’t want to see this happen to a human. I admit that the bull fighting is a very cruel part of the festival and we don’t condone violence or torture of animals in any way. We just felt like we had to attend to witness a fight ourselves. Rest assured I won’t be attending again as by the end I was feeling quite sickened.
      Thanks again and we hope you continue reading.
      Regards,
      Cole

      • Dale

        March 7, 2013 at 1:58 PM

        I had read that it made you both feel quite sick towards the end and of course, I know you’re not trying to persuade people to go or not to go, you’re just giving people a peep into what happens drawn from your own prospective & in quite a well written manner too.

        Everyone should make their own mind up for themselves and with this great post people will be aided in that, either for going, or against.

  2. Jonathan Look, Jr.

    March 8, 2013 at 9:45 AM

    I so intend to do this, THIS YEAR I HOPE! Finally the stars are aligning. Thanks for the guide and hopefully I can buy you guys a beer while we are there.

    • Cole Burmester

      March 8, 2013 at 11:41 AM

      We probably won’t be there this year Jonathan but thanks for the offer 😉 Loved it last year and you will have so much fun! Be safe!

  3. PamplonaMan

    March 9, 2013 at 12:36 PM

    I live here in pamplona & specialise in tours to the san fermin festival. I love meeting new sanfermineros too!

    If anybody needs anything then just get in touch ok.

    Viva San Fermin!

    • Cole Burmester

      March 9, 2013 at 4:59 PM

      Thanks Michael. I’m sure plenty will want some extra tips for San Fermin.

  4. Nancy

    March 13, 2013 at 2:02 AM

    For me, while traveling in Spain, seeing Pamplona, is not during the running of the bulls. To celebrate the killing of animals, not only is something I don’t want to participate in, but the city is much more beautiful without zillions of people.

    • Cole Burmester

      March 18, 2013 at 9:17 AM

      I was just in Pamplona a week ago Nancy while walking part of the Camino de Santiago and it is so different when San Fermin is not on! So quiet and I wasn’t getting sprayed with sangria… So travelling to Pamplona outside San Fermin is definitely a good idea 🙂

  5. Jackson

    March 25, 2013 at 3:22 PM

    I’m sooo jealous. I’ve wanted to attend the Festival of San Fermin for ages. I saw it on television when I was a child and my curiosity and fascination were immediately aroused. I went to high school with a Spanish kid whose father had once been a matador, and who had participated in the festival countless times. We’d gather around Jorge in the cafeteria and listen to him brag about life in Spain. His bragging was more than understandable. Can’t wait to see Pamplona.

    • Cole Burmester

      March 25, 2013 at 5:52 PM

      Would be awesome if you had the chance to go one day soon Jackson! Is a great experience and well worth the effort.

  6. Rebecca

    April 25, 2013 at 9:19 PM

    What a great guide! Thank you so much. My boyfriend and I are going this year and we cannot wait. One question: Do you have to register beforehand to run with the bulls or do you just show up? How do you know where to go?

    Thank you!

    • Cole Burmester

      April 26, 2013 at 10:29 AM

      Hi Rebecca,
      Thanks for your comment and questions 🙂
      Are you going with a tour company like Busabout or doing it yourself? If you are with a company then they will provide you with all the on-the-ground information. But basically there is no registration and you will start lining up about 6am on the run. Make sure you are near the start of the bull run so they you don’t get moved out by policemen who will remove anyone past a certain point. Best place is in the big square by the town hall. Just before the run you will be allowed to move to wherever you want to start from. Just be patient 🙂
      Lots of people can give you tips, info too. Did you see my post and video about the actual running with the bulls?
      Good luck and enjoy the experience!
      Cheers,
      Cole

  7. Chanel @ La Viajera Morena

    July 11, 2013 at 1:05 AM

    Excellent! I will be heading there tomorrow and running/partying on Friday.

    Cannot wait. This post was excellent. Thanks 😀

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Adventure Travel

5 UK festivals to visit this summer

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The UK is so beautiful in the summer, why go abroad when you have thousands of fun things to do right here? People travel from all over the world to see our beautiful country, so get to know the UK better.

These are some of my favourite festivals for summer 2018. They are family friendly with entertainment for both parents and children.

BLISSFIELDS 5-8 July 2018 | Winchester. Whilst you’re getting your groove on, your children will enjoy making woodland fancy dress costumes in the Angel Gardens Family Area, having paint fights and dancing their socks off at the onesie disco and everyone’s in their happy place. Address: Vicarage Farm, Woodmancott, SO21 3BL  Website: blissfields.co.uk Tickets: Adult weekend tickets from £100; youths £85

LATITUDE 13-15 July 2018 | Suffolk. Latitude must be the closest grown-ups can get to a real festival experience with the kiddies. You can enjoy yourself while your cuties hang out in the Enchanted Garden where there’s circus skills classes, screen printing and wildlife craft sessions. Address: Henham Park, Nr Southwold, Beccles, Suffolk NR34 8AN  Website: latitudefestival.com Tickets: Adult weekend tickets from £197; accompanied teens from £132.50; children from £15

GIVE 13-16 July 2018 | Leicestershire. This tiny celebration of soul, house, funk, reggae and blues, grew out of a series of club nights started by a gang of warehouse ravers in the 80s. While it is not a family festival, many regulars now bring their kids, who love it. This year, watch British Soul singer Corrina Greyson and then head to the treehouse, bouncy castle, karaoke and magic forest schools. Address: Stanford Hall, Lutterworth, Leicestershire, LE17 6DH  Website: houseofhoney.org Tickets: Adult weekend tickets from £175; under 18s £55; under 13s £30

DEER SHED FESTIVAL 20-22 July 2018 | North Yorkshire. Kick off the school holidays with this weekend of fun at Baldersby Park in Yorkshire, combining music, cabaret, comedy, theatre, book readings, family films, science workshops and lots of scampering in the woods. Address: Baldersby Park, Topcliffe, North Yorkshire YO7 3BZ Website: deershedfestival.com Tickets: Adult weekend tickets from £135; 6-15 year olds £45; 3-5 £10; 0-2 free

CURIOUS ARTS FESTIVAL 20-22 July 2018 | Hampshire. It’s all snail racing, midnight bat walks and bee-keeping lessons at the Curious Arts Festival, in the grounds of stately Pylewell Park. The film and poetry workshops for kids are a must. Address: Pylewell Park, East End, Lymington, Hampshire SO41 5SJ  Website: curiousartsfestival.com Tickets: Adult weekend tickets from £128; 5-13 year olds £23; under 5s free.

Sometimes one can get tired of driving all over the country to the festival of your choice, then you also have to think about how much alcohol you consumed the night before and whether or not you’re ok to drive. Why not ‘coach it’? Travelling by coach means you don’t have to worry about driving at all, you can just sit back and relax and enjoy the ride. Click here for some excellent discount offers and have a fabulous festival summer!

 

 

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Adventure Travel

Exploring Hawaii: A Guide

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There are said to currently be 195 countries in the world, and each has its own unique qualities and possesses its own beauty. Amongst them, one of the most popular destinations has to be the breath-taking Hawaii. This beautiful state has eight major islands and is surrounded by clear seas and white sands making it a perfect destination for the beach lovers. In the instance that you’ve been thinking about going to Hawaii or are curious about what exactly it has to offer, you’re going to find out a few interesting things about Hawaii in the following guide.

Helicopter Tour to see Kauai Landscapes

If you enjoy seeing things from a bird’s eye point of view, then you should think about trying a helicopter ride. There are endless beautiful landscapes and unforgettable views for you to see, with the Kauai landscapes being among them. It may also be interesting to know that many of the amazing scenes that you saw if you ever watched Jurassic Park were shot there. If you do decide to go on a helicopter tour, you’ll be able to see the astonishing waterfalls amongst many other views.

Kaanapali Beach

Hawaii has some of the most beautiful beaches in the world and Kaanapali beach is definitely a sight to behold. There is plenty of space to surf and sunbathe for those who are interested in pure relaxation. In case you want to do a little snorkeling, you should know that the waters are shallow and there’s also the possibility of seeing whales off the coast. In terms of accommodation, you could look for a nearby hotel or consider exploring different Maui Beach vacation rentals until you find one that suits your preferences and needs if you want something more personal.

Catamaran Snorkeling Excursion

For those who enjoy the mystique world beneath the seas, you may want to consider going snorkeling. If you’ve never been snorkeling before, it’s your chance to swim with all of the sea creatures and experience it firsthand. Some things that you can expect to see are exotic colorful fish, sea turtles, as well as dolphins. It is a chance to experience the Hawaiian waters in an intimate way and also an experience you’re likely to never forget.

Haleakala National Park

Another thing you can get up to in Hawaii is visiting the Haleakala National Park. This is home to the world’s largest dormant volcano. One of the most popular spots there happens to be the mountain which is 10,000 feet above sea level. Planning your visit in the morning would also make it special as you’d be able to see the sunrise which is said to be a beautiful sight. Once you reach the top of the mountain, you can then go down towards the mouth of the volcano. You can also visit the park’s most popular trail, Pipiwai, and take some stunning photo’s while you’re there.

Hawaii is one of the most popular vacation destinations, and it has been for a few years. This could be a result of the stunning beaches, many activities, or local culture. For these reasons, it is definitely a spot worth visiting in the near future.

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Adventure Travel

Why Should You Choose A Couple Resort as a Romantic Getaway

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There’s no point in planning a couple’s holiday retreat if you aren’t choosing a place that speaks of romance. Different couples have different tastes, some prefer long drives while some are into adventures. A majority of couples also turn to beaches or pick places that are known for calmness and quiet.

This is why it is important to know what your partner prefers so that you can choose a destination that fits everyone. This may be difficult, but what if there was a place that offered all of the above mentioned things? There is. A resort can offer you all this and much more.

You just have to find the best resort for the family and you are good to go. Remember that not all resorts are created same. For example, some are close to the beach while some are not. You need to find a resort that offers all the activities you are interested in so that you can have a great time when you go for a holiday with your partner.

Without much ado, let’s have a look at why you should go to a resort when you plan a picnic in the future:

Excursions Included

If you are looking for memory making adventures as a couple then a couples resort is your best bet. Most resorts have their own excursions that you can opt for. This removes the need to find travel agents as you can book all that you need from the comfort of your room just by dialing the reception.

You can experience heart pumping activities like snorkeling, boat rides, jet ski and a lot more.

There’s no need to panic or worry if you haven’t gone through any of these activities before as you will be provided with safety equipment and training before you embark on your journey.

While all these are adventurous options, this is not all that a resort offers. You can enjoy other activities as well such as a couples massage and other relaxing activities.

Most top class resorts have their own spas where you can relax and allow your mind and body to soothe.

Top-Class Meals

Meals are the soul of a holiday trip and bad meals can definitely ruin your adventure by ruining your mood. However, couple resorts are said to have trained and top notch chefs who know how to make the diners go wow with their cooking skills. There’s a wide variety of foods available at a couple’s resort.

You can look at the available menu before you book a resort so that you know what kind of food you will get at the resort. Many resorts offer all-inclusive deals where you pay a lump sum for your stay and food. This is a good option as it takes the burden off your shoulder and allows you to relax without any worries.

Romantic Spots

What’s your definition of a romantic spot? Sunbathing under an umbrella? Getting drenched in a jacuzzi with your partner? Expressing love on a boat while you’re in the middle of the sea? A couples resort can make all your romantic wishes come true and get you two connected like never before.

Let the receptionist know of your plan and they will make it happen for you. Plus, if you go for a couple resort you will be able to enjoy intimate moments without any trouble as they understand the importance of privacy and will provide you with all that you need.

Pack your bags and start planning your next trip tomorrow. The key lies in being on the same page as your partner and planning in advance so that you do not only save money, but also make every moment count.

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Meet Cole and Adela

Cole and AdelaWe have been wearing out our jandals (Kiwi for flip-flops) on our travel adventures around the world since 2009. We think our blog is thought provoking and a little witty. But we have been proven wrong before. Find out more about us here...

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