What do you get when you combine a few hundred people together at a campsite with unlimited beer and sangria? A wild long weekend with Stoke Travel for the Running of the Bulls festival.
Starting with a night in Barcelona, a long bus ride the next morning and a drink upon arrival at the Stoke campsite and we were ready to party. With music going until late and early starts the next morning, you go into any stoke campsite with limited expectations for sleep. I’d also recommend packing a travel pillow to throw into the tent (for the small amount of sleep you may get) and a change of underwear (if you’re planning on running with the bulls). The campsite was situated about half an hour outside of Pamplona and included a river to cool off and float about in, drink in hand, although by the end I’d say the river was more beer then water.
Aside from the unlimited drinks, Stoke also include a hot breakfast and dinner to keep everyone fuelled up.
The Running of the Bulls festival is a big celebration in Pamplona as it’s combined with the San Fermin Festival. The festivities are opened on the first day with a giant wine fight. Everyone crowds into the town square, dressed in white with red scarfs and 2 litre bottles of sangria at the ready. Once it’s over and we are sticky and hot, tops no longer white, groups of people stand under the balconies of locals to be cooled off by buckets of cold water thrown from above. A siesta in the shade of the town fortress wall, before heading back to the campsite for river swims and chilling in the late afternoon sun, beer in hand.
5am alarm to get up and moving for the bus back to Pamplona for the first day of the Bulls Run. For us it was to get in early to find a good position to watch people being chased by bulls, for others it was to get into a good position to be chased by Bulls. I don’t think many of the runners had slept the night before, based on the noise that kept me up all night. I don’t think many had quite sobered up yet either but I’m sure the moment the bell rang and the bulls were released they were sober. It was over in a matter of moments. The bulls in the arena and only a few left gored and on their way to hospital. Is the thrill of the chase worth that risk? I was quite content perched a top a fence as the bulls and runners raced by.
Now having had next to no sleep, it was a requirement of the afternoon to find a spot in the shade with a towel, drink and sunscreen to relax and hopefully catch up on some Z’s! We needed the rest before more fun was to begin! Stoked in the Park brought together the campsite with bands from all over coming up to perform and entertain, the perfect ending to a weekend of partying. 2am finish, 4 hours of sleep (possibly the most I’d had since getting to Spain) and our Running of the Bulls with Stoked Travel experience was over.