Mirror Travel: Never Mind the Bullocks

The Mirror (London, England), December 9, 2000 | Go to article overview

Mirror Travel: Never Mind the Bullocks


Byline: Edited by Iain Mayhew

Q I RECENTLY asked my husband how he would like to celebrate his 50th birthday in 2002, expecting to be able to plan a relaxing cruise or a trip to the Caribbean. Now he tells me he wants to run with the bulls in Pamplona in Spain!

When does this take place and do I have to book accommodation early? Also, what is the best way to get there?

Margaret Moss, Huddersfield, W Yorks

Doc Holiday writes: The running of the bulls in Pamplona is one of the most exciting festivals in Europe. It takes place every year on the feast of San Fermin, from midday on July 6 until midnight on July 14. And, yes, you are going to have to book early.

Pamplona is the capital of the Navarra region of northern Spain. Although it doesn't have an airport, getting there is fairly easy. It is almost worth driving down, because of the stunning scenery you will pass through, particularly when you cross the Pyrenees. However, you can catch a P&O ferry to Bilbao (24hrs from Portsmouth), which is only a couple of hours' drive from Pamplona. Easyjet (www.easyjet.com) also flies from Luton to Bilbao Airport.

The running of the bulls is called the Encierro and while it can be a risky - several people get injured every year and fatalities are not unknown - it is not as dangerous as it looks. You don't have to join in, just arrive early to get a grandstand view.

The event is divided into two parts: there's the running of the bulls through the city streets, where the object is to whack one of the bulls over the head with a rolled-up newspaper, then run like crazy to get out of the way. The other event takes place later when bullocks with padded horns are let loose on the crowd in the bullring.

You will have to book accommodation well in advance. …

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