Today’s morning event was about bulls, people running with them at a length of 800 meters and San Fermín – the saint they turn to for protection.
What started out as a way of transporting bulls from the corral to the bull ring has become a tradition and tagged as one of the most dangerous traditions in the world.
5am was my wake up time for this year’s fourth running of the bulls.
Yesterday, I watched it first live on TV to see how the whole recorrido (route) goes. Cos if I’m just a spectator by the sides, there’s no way I would be able to watch it whole. With the watching were squeals brought about by the suspense that people might/will get hurt.
The runners and spectators usually lessen by the weekday which is why I chose to go on a Tuesday. Saturday and Sunday’s bull run would be impossible to go to. I would have needed to camp at 3am by the walls in Sto. Doming to find a decent viewing spot.
This morning at a little past six, I was stationed by the walls of Sto. Domingo which is the start of the route after the bulls are freed from the corral.
At the starting point, a few minutes before 8am’s run, the mozos (runners) sing a hymn to San Fermín (cántico a San Fermín) asking for his protection. There’s a little statue of the saint by the walls where the mozos are facing.
Runners are clad in the traditional attire of white shirt and pants with a red waistband and pañuelo (neckerchief). They hold with them the day’s newspaper rolled which could be used to draw the bull away from them.
Promptly at 8am, a cohete (a small rocket) is sounded off signalling the start of the bull run.
A total of 7 pictures in succession was the time it took for them to pass in front of me by the Sto. Domingo stretch. The Curva de Mercaderes hacia Estafeta is quite dangerous because the road will have become narrower and the turn is difficult for the bulls with the speed they are running. Some bulls slide off when failing to do the turn properly.
This will be the closest ever I will go near a running bull. For now, still thinking if I could still muster to wake up early one morning in the next four days to station myself by the Callejón. Or maybe just go inside the Plaza de Toros and watch the bull shows.
“Viva San Fermín!, Gora San Fermín!” (“Long live San Fermin” in Spanish and Basque)