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In Pamplona we should go… to San Fermín

On 6 July 1923, an American journalist arrived in Pamplona, sent to cover the festival of San Fermín. What he experienced during the festival impressed him so much that three years later he published a novel set there, making him a devotee of San Fermín for the rest of his life. That journalist was Ernest Hemingway and his novel was The Sun Also Rises. Such is the festival’s impact that even Barack Obama might drop in on Pamplona to enjoy it.

“Chupinazo, Estafeta, toros, mozos, Pobre de mí… “ These words are inextricably linked to San Fermín, just like the white clothing splattered with a red neckerchief and red sash around the waist.

Why should you go to San Fermín at least once in your life?

It all starts with the chupinazo, the firing of a small rocket. Each 6 July, minutes before noon, the town hall square and surrounding streets bustle with expectant people coming from all over the world, a red neckerchief tied around their wrist and a bottle of champagne in their hand, waiting to hear the magic words that precede the chupinazo.
Finally, the words are heard: “Pamploneses, viva San Fermín! Gora San Fermín!” (“People of Pamplona, long live San Fermín!”). When the popping sound reverberates in the sky, joy breaks out all over Pamplona, echoing across the globe. It is time to uncork the champagne and tie the neckerchief around your throat, where it will remain until midnight on 14 July, when “Pobre de mí” (“Poor me”) is sung.

Chupinazo. San Fermín , Pamplona ( Hotel Tres Reyes )

During the eight days that the festival lasts, Pamplona undergoes a transformation. A white tide runs through it, enjoying it at the pace set by tradition. Uninterruptedly. Early each morning, musicians pass by to awaken the people, who begin to prepare for the running of the bulls. At 8 am, the bulls leave the pen and run through the old town, cheered on and accompanied by the mozos (literally, “young men”). Holding a rolled newspaper, these mozos will have prayed to the saint to protect them beforehand. There is one running each day for as long as the festival lasts.

Later, people traditionally go to the bullring to enjoy the art of bullfighting. And if bulls don’t excite you, there is always the option of sightseeing around Pamplona or enjoying one of its greatest draws: the cuisine, not to mention the drink. The white uniform does not take long to become splattered with red, though not just from the neckerchief and sash, but also from the wine. Therefore, it is best not to wear your finest attire for fear of losing it forever.

We at the Hotel Tres Reyes welcome you to this universal festival. We will be waiting for you to experience San Fermín in a different way. This year, we will have vermouth and live music and buffets at night with cooking shows enlivened with DJs.

We’ll be waiting for you. Come and enjoy it.

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