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By Samantha Schefka, University of Michigan

Over the weekend I went to the running of the bulls festival in Pamplona. It was absolutely insane! My friend and I took a six hour bus ride and arrived late at night. After talking to the woman at the desk, I had all the information on when and where the interesting events were going to happen. The bulls run at 8 am and the best place to watch them run was the Plaza de Toros. Luckily, it was only a ten minute walk from the hostel my friends and I were staying at. The next morning I got up at 7 am and walked to where the bulls would be running. My seat was not the best I needed to get their earlier; however, I was still able to see the bulls run by. It was an experience… I saw a man almost get trampled to death by his fellow runners (and bulls) and another man rolled away on a gurney with a leg injury. I was shocked. Although I believe these people were okay, they were in an extremely dangerous situation where they could have been very hurt. Despite these injuries, it was incredible. The rush you feel when you see the bulls come down the sidewalk, the terror you feel for the runners (because you do not want them to get injured), and then coming down after the bulls run into the stadium and the last of the runners run by safely. After the last bull ran into the stadium I promised myself I would be there early enough the next morning to get a better seat. Walking back from the running, got breakfast and grabbed a few hours of sleep. In the afternoon, we met our third friend at the hostel and the three of us went out to explore the festival. The rest of the festival was also amazing. Every person there was dressed in traditional attire (I wish I had known about the traditional costumes because I would have brought what I had to fit into the festivities). I would say roughly 99% of people at the festival were dressed in white shirts, white pants, red scarves, and red handkerchiefs. The uniform look of all the festival goers was awesome. I was really surprised that so many people participated in this aspect of the festival. There were also multiple parades of objects that could only be described as giant puppet. Giant kings and queens and a band roamed the streets alone with the festival goers. They got to be a part of the parade. Overall, it was a phenomenal experience. I would definitely go again and I am planning on going again.

Samantha Schefka

Samantha is from University of Michigan - Ann Arbor, and studied abroad at SIS during SUmmer 2018.

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