In all the planning and arrangements, amidst the controversy about the ethics of bull running, and amongst the promoting of our endeavour, the excitement is real: we will be running with the bulls! But you know what? The trepidation is real, too. Because, well… we will be running with the bulls. I mean, have you seen a bull up close lately?!
GULP. While adventure is our middle name, safety is our top priority. Because while we may be a teensy bit crazy, we ain’t (that) stupid. With people getting injured during San Fermin every year, we don’t take the potential risks lightly. Being informed is our best defense. As such, we are busily arming ourselves with resources so that we can run happily, responsibly, and most importantly, intelligently.
Here’s what we’re reading and viewing in preparation for our run with the toros:
1. Pamplona: Running the Bulls, Bars and Barrios in Fiesta de San Fermin, by Ray Mouton- Recommended by a fan on our Facebook page, this novel gives an extensive history and overview of all things Pamplona and San Fermin. A great read for the 3+ hour train ride to the city from Madrid!
2. SanFermin.com and the City of Pamplona.com - What better resource for the event than the official websites of Pamplona and the San Fermin fiestas? Both websites give practical information on everything from maps and accomodation to where to eat and where to party. Most appreciated, however? The section on San Fermin’s website on how to behave at the bull run. Because crossing the line and getting drunk, disorderly, and disrespectful of the host culture just ain’t cute.
3. These tips for running with the bulls from About.com have a particular focus on safety, which gets the thumbs up from us. One of the best pieces of advice the article proffers: don’t run on the first day. Getting the lay of the land is necessary- running without checking out how everything works first would just be silly.
4. Looking for a more personalized account of the experience? Acclaimed travel blogger Michael Hodson recounts how he ran with the bulls with such vivid detail that we feel we are right there with him!
5. Finally, for more visual learners, a video: we are treated to the sights and sounds of Pamplona through the lens of traveller extraordinaire Rick Steves. If this doesn’t make you want to jump on a plane to Spain, nothing will!