A simple question. Or is it?
I want to know why you keep going back to Pamplona, and the fiesta of San Fermín.
Please leave your explanation below in the comment section. You have 300 words.
I would prefer if your explanations were anonymous. I don’t want to know your identity. Do not enter your name, email, website.
If you don’t leave your “name”, “email address”, or “website address”, there will be no way for me to know who you are.
14 replies on “Why do you keep going back to San Fermín?”
I keep returning to Pamplona for Fiesta de San Fermin / Feria del Toro because my friends of Fiesta are the most beautiful people I know and the Spanish fighting bull is the most magnificent of beast. I see the encierro as an incarnation of life, with its danger of death and possibility of glory. Runners demonstrate their ability to cheat death, after which they go deep into Fiesta and celebrate life. For a few days in an ancient city named for Pompeii where the women act like women,and the food and drink are incomparable, I can forget about the world of greed and technology that exist elsewhere. And then we have the corridas. The culture of the bulls demands dignity and pundonor. The matador in his suit of lights, clean shaven, non-tattooed and non-pierced is a reservoir of elegance and good taste in a world so lacking in these qualities.
Last year we went to la Olla multiple times, as they have excellent pintxos. One of our favorite pintxos, the half egg with the homemade aioli and topped with a shrimp was nowhere to be found. Finally on the 13th, Bruce Springsteen’s doppelganger was working the bar. We asked if there were any and he magically appeared with a whole platter. I mentioned that this is best thing in fiesta. One of the cuadrilla looked at me incredulously. “What, are you serious?! Encierro, friends, music, jotas and so much more and you think that this is best thing of fiesta?!”
For me that moment encapsulated all the wonderful small moments that keep me coming back. There are simple things that trigger memories of companionship and exceptional times, (in this instance the pintxo), and the more complex, like the feeling on la cuesta singing and asking San Fermin for his benediction at 07:55.
We were in our mid-twenties when we arrived in 1979, and we had no clue what to expect. We were introduced to the cuadrilla at Marcellianos on July 5th. Gathered on Calle Mercado was an impressive cast of characters. Nothing had ever prepared me for this experience. Not reading the “Sun Also Rises”, not my war time experiences, not my travels in the US, Europe or the Middle East. This group was living life to its fullest and I knew that I wanted to do the same.
We danced and drank and joked and ate, sang songs and cried. We had red-shit, yellow-shit and champagne enfermerias at La Perla, Bearan, Otano and in the street. There were Cadillacs and vans, backpacks and trains. Of course there was the gutter and the knowledge that sprang from it. One lesson that was imparted upon me was that everyone who is at fiesta, whether you appreciate them or not, is what makes fiesta so special. This thought has remained with me all these years.
After my first encierro, I decided that I would become one with fiesta. It was clear that to come back every year, I would have to continue my studies, work hard and become successful. So far, San Fermin continues to graciously bless us every year. Many wonderful things that have shaped our lives can be attributed to our fiesta experiences.
So why? Seeing old friends; Making new friends; Living in the moment; Discovering new fiesta experiences; the magical small moments; Alegria, Sol y Sombre; And of course,the encierro.
Viva San Fermin! Gora san Fermin!
I return to Pamplona annually, because i owe Pamplona a debt. Pamplona changed my life. I fell in love with Pamplona, and all she brings; the fun, the craziness, the danger, the never ending party, the open mindedness. Pamplona changed my outlook on everything else in my life, how can i not keep going back?
Time matters only twice a day: at 8:00 am and 6:30 pm. Otherwise, time goes away; it’s unimportant. There’s no place you have to be, nothing you have to do, you can saunter around the streets and go wherever you’re taken – by friends or by chance or by accident – and at some point time goes away and there’s only now and in the now it’s pure alegria. A bit of dancing, delirium and a few cocktails help move things along, of course.
The fun of the chase
The revenge on the bulls in the ring
The copious drinking and debauchery
boo posts being censored
No they’re not. It just takes time to post. There’s spam filters involved. Thanks for the comment…assuming you’re the same anonymous!
Initially two of us arrived in Pamplona many years ago. The object of the exercise was to run with the bulls, tick it off and return home. After our first year we both knew we would return, the fear ,excitement and sheer exhilaration was like nothing else. For quite a few years we didn’t really mix with any of the foreign runners, we just did our own thing then gradually we met people who introduced you to people and we found there was an incredible bonding. These people felt just like we did and immediately you know you are friends for life. The old saying ” you come for the bulls but come back for the people is in most part true.However I am not sure that if I couldn’t run I would go back. The party is great,the people are wonderful but it’s really all about the bulls.
I am 75 and have been going for more than half my life. I can only say that I like to see my old S.F mates
And ” matesess” I don’t run anymore, I drink much less than I did 20 years ago, I could easily spend the money
on something else, but it is part of me. I also enjoy meeting people from all over the World. A little pathetic
perhaps and not very soul searching. Indeed this just might be my last year. I have made some wonderful
Friends and met some pathetic pricks, my life would be “poorer” if I did not go.
I went my first year and, even though I come home after every fiesta, I never really left. I’ve had the great fortune to have been able to go back every year for decades, but even when I’m not there, a part of me is.
I love, love, love it to bits and am one truly blessed human being for having that town, it’s people and it’s Sainted fiesta in my life. They say “yfm – ya falta menos” throughout the year as they await fiesta to come around once again…well, I hope I’ve got “mmm – mucho, mucho mas” fiestas to go.¡Viva San Fermin! Gora!
Why are friends in San Fermín better (?) than others?