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Viva San Fermín! Viva Pamplona!

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I was drenched in wine, sangria, champagne and beer; I was soaked, all of us were. And the festival in Pamplona had only started an hour earlier. So what the hell is San Fermín about?

Just a few hours earlier I had wandered in awe at the streets of Pamplona, looking at all the people wearing clean white clothes. Come to Pamplona during the festival and not dress in white, and you will stand out.

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So, if you come to Pamplona for the festival, just get some white clothes; mind you, I don’t recommend getting anything expensive. Or anything you’d like to wear after the festival for that matter.

With the white outfit, you should wear a red sash and a red scarf, but you are not supposed to put the scarf around your neck until the festival has officially started at noon on the sixth of July. Before that you should wear it on your wrist.

So in preparation for the official start of the festival, also known as the “Chupinazo”, which is at noon, we had made it to the Plaza de Castillo. Which actually is not the plaza were they officially kick of the festival, but you’d have to get to the main plaza in front of the town hall hours earlier.

And last night’s pre-festival drinking had slowed us down a bit, so we opted for the second best option.

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People were carrying and drinking all sorts of liquids, whether that was sangria or beer; or the wineskins many had and which they used to quench their thirst. The weather was good and the biggest party in the world was about to start.

As the clock got closer to the noon, people got more and more excited. Then finally people took off the scarfs from their wrists and held them in the air. And boom, the rocket went off. And my camera went straight into a plastic bag; and not a second too soon, as all hell broke loose that second, with champagne, sangria, beer and wine spraying everywhere. I took multiple hits quite immediately.

People tied the scarves now around their necks, the festival of San Fermin had officially began!

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Basically if you have something liquid on your hands at that point (preferably containing alcohol, but water or even coke will do I suppose), everyone is a free target!

That is some serious misuse of alcohol there!

I don’t think wearing white for something like this is a good idea; wearing red would seem like the sensible thing to do, but then again San Fermín hardly makes sense anyway.

We moved with the crowd down a narrow alley, where people were throwing buckets of water from the balconies on the revelers on the street. Some were even using the showers! Which I think is cheating, but nobody really minded.

There was no escape; there was no way to stay dry.

But you don’t want to; the crowd hysteria takes you. You are part of the crowd and you will get wet. And it is good!

Afterwards we got out from the busy alleys to sit down on a street and have some beer and kalimotxo, which is a mix of coke and red wine, cheap red win to be exact. It was actually really nice and refreshing, it suits the festival perfectly.

It’s cheap and cheerful!

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So we allowed the sun dry our wine stained clothes and instead soaked up the atmosphere (while actually this time drinking the beer, the kalimotxo and the sangria).

This party would go on for the next nine days non-stop!

The whole old town was packed with people in various states of drunkenness and dryness. And if you had to get from one place to another, it would take you considerably longer. Just walking a block could be a mission. The amount of people everywhere was just unbelievable.

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So after soaking up the sun a little, we joined the crowds. It was like the whole city had become one giant street party. I’ve never seen quite anything like it.

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And it didn’t stop. When I went to bed at three o’clock that night (I had an easy night), the party was still going strong outside my balcony; thankfully I am a heavy sleeper. The party was still going strong as I got out at ten in the morning. Some had been partying thru the night, while some actually had slept, but had already started again.

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I knew this was going to be one hell of a fiesta!

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P.S: Alright, alright… next post will be about me actually running with the bulls! Promise!


  1. That’s awesome that people bring their own wineskins! Here I was thinking people were bringing alcohol to drink…haha. Looks like a great start to a festival. 😀
    Audrey recently posted..Boryeong Mud Festival | Photo EssayMy Profile

    • haha! yeah the wine skins are a brilliant idea; great just walking around with your wine sking, which fits about 1.5 liters of sangria; and then you just buy a bottle somewhere to fill it up again.

  2. That looks like so much fun! :)
    Nomadic Samuel recently posted..Boryeong Mud Festival | Photo EssayMy Profile

    • It’s great fun! I can definitely recommend the San Fermin festival!

  3. Sounds like San Fermin has become way wilder than it was in Hemingway’s day :)
    Sophie recently posted..Family Fun in CarinthiaMy Profile

    • Yeah, I think the festival has “slightly” grown since Hemingway’s days :)

  4. I think I might start going through life with my own wine skin…
    Liz | Two Weeks to Travel recently posted..How I Hack Name Your Own Price to Save Hundreds on HotelsMy Profile

    • I think that would actually be pretty cool. Carrying your own wine skin with you, and then just taking a sip whenever it would be really inappropriate!

  5. this really is awesome and looks terrific. How I wish i can experience this too in the future, capturing them on my lens and then join in the fun.

    cheers:) your photos just made me smile alot gawking at them.
    Doc Wends recently posted..When inspired, inspire!My Profile

    • It’s pretty cool, definitely worth joining in.

  6. Wow, looks like quite the party! Very cool to read about your experience too, seems exhausting though and not sure if I’d be able to keep up. :)

    Great photos too – they really capture the mood.
    Cheryl recently posted..Cafe Popularna in Szczecin, Poland.My Profile

    • It is a pretty cool party! Glad you liked the photos :)

  7. This looks like so much fun!
    The Local Traveler NS recently posted..Lunenburg MarketMy Profile

    • It’s great fun, you should try going!


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