HOW TO WATCH IT
WATCHING IT FROM THE STREET
The run can be watched from behind the wooden fence which
lines the most part of the route. The longest stretch
of fencing is at the Town Hall square, and at the end
of Mercaderes Street, as well as all along the most part
of Estafeta Street and the stretch which goes from the
end of that street on into the bull ring.
The fencing is double-lined and the spectators must remain
behind the second line of fencing. The first line of fencing
is kept clear for runners who need to make a quick exit
from the path of the bulls. And in the spacing between
the two rows of fencing only the medical teams, the police
and perhaps some press photographers are allowed to stand.
To find a good spot behind the fence means taking up position
at about 6.30 in the morning. Inevitably, this means waiting
round, bored to tears and out of sorts until eight o’clock
when the run begins. There is no way you can "book
a place in advance". Anyone who wants to see the
run must take up their position and hold it. And in the
end the view is not so great as the fencing in front tends
to block the view quite a bit. The locals don´t
tend to watch from behind the fencing. However, if you
are a stranger in town and have no way of getting a balcony
"seat", and maybe this is going to be your first
and last chance to see the run, it could be worth your
while to suffer the boredom of the wait. Make sure you
go looking for a position at least by 6.30 in the morning
and take some warm clothing for the wait in the chilly
dawn. Any later than that, it´s going to be very
difficult to get even a half-decent view of the run.
One possible place, and somewhat better, is to go down
to the starting post. There is a small sloping square
just near where the local Museum is and which is looking
over the starting place in Santo Domingo. Here, there
is no wooden fencing and you look down at the runners
gathered round the nitch where they sing their simple
paen to the small figure of San Fermin to implore his
protection. The stretch which leads down to the pen from
where the bulls will be released in just below and the
view of the stretch leading up to the Town Hall is quite
clear. It´s certainly one of the best spots and
of course, for that reason is heavily populated. Get there
about 5.30 or 6 o´clock at the latest, in order
to get a good position.
WATCHING IT FROM A BALCONY
The best view of the running of the bulls is got from
one of the many balconies which line the route. But these
belong to people´s private houses and are only accessible
through an invitation. When you see someone standing out
on their balcony you could simply try to hail them and
ask them to let you go up to the balcony. It might work,
although these people are usually inundated by "bookings"
from their own relatives and friends.
There are also some public buildings which line the route
and which have balconies, such as the Town Hall. However,
these positions are usually kept for "important visitors".
(And if you are one of those, then any advice we can give
you is probably superfluous.)
Lately, there has been a growing trend in renting out
a balcony, maybe even with breakfast included. You will
find telephones numbers on display at the local Tourist
Office in Plaza San Francisco (mapa).
Tf. 948 206540 and
firstname.lastname@example.org . You get the numbers there and it´s
up to you to make the calls yourself. If you want to rent
a balcony the price would vary depending on its position
and also what storey it is found (the higher up the balcony,
the cheaper the price). If you have a breakfast it will
be more expensive, of course. There is a tourist service
(Curia street Tf. 948 221506) wich along with visits to
the city, offers the possibility to see the running of
the bulls from a balcony (they explain you all about it),
including the breakfast.
FROM THE TERRACES IN THE BULLRING
Another possibility is watch the end of the run from inside
the bull stadium. In 2006 the 7th, 8th and 9th of July
all the places cost 5,50 €. The rest of the days (the
10th, 11th, 12th, 13th and 14th of July) the grada and the
andanada cost 4,50 and children under 12 enter for
free. While you are waiting to see the runners and bulls
come bursting into the ring, you can be entertained by
the local band which helps to create some atmosphere as
you wait. However, for some people the finish lacks the
intensity which you can experience when you watch the
run from the narrow streets. On the other hand, on some
occasions, it can be get highly intense when there is
a pile-up of fallen bodies
at the entrance to the ring, which sometimes happens.
Above all, it is simply the most comfortable spot. And
immediately after the bulls are put into their pen, some
small heifers are let
loose inside the ring. These charge round knocking people
over and generally provide some fun for the crowd as they
try to dodge them.
As a pure spectacle, the best place to watch the run is
on the T.V.
Strange but true. Among other reasons, simply because
here you can watch the whole run from beginning to end.
Even from a balcony you can only cover one stretch, at
most. Moreover, on the T.V. they will repeat the most
interesting parts in slow motion. The local T.V. broadcasts
the run directly each day and in the rest of the country
it will be shown on the national networks on the news
broadcasts. (On the Basque TV and the national station).
Watching the event "live" means that you don´t
get that complete coverage that the T.V. can provide.
But of course, watching it live does have a colour and
intensity which the T.V. can´t transmit..
If you have participated in the run, then you might appear
on the box and maybe you have the chance to record it
on the video and bring it home to the folks!
ON THE INTERNET
Last years there were some attemps to show the
running of the bulls on the Internet. Most of them failed.
Kukuxumusu prepares every year an special summary with
the best information and photos of the running of the
Remember that the one place that you can´t watch
the run is from inside the course. You are in there just
to run and nothing else.
Bear in mind that the run is a very short spectacle. It
will normally last only for a couple of minutes. As pure
spectacle it is no great shakes. The excitement lies in
its intensity, the potential risk, the atmosphere surrounding
it, the shouts and cries, and the general sense of fear
that those thundering bulls can instill in one.
TO THE ENCIERROMETER