Run With the Bulls

Experience Extreme Spanish Culture

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There are things to do before you die and then there are things that might actually bring on an untimely end. Trying to outrun a very angry, half-ton beast with sharp horns during Spain's Running of the Bulls is probably high on the list of life-endangering adventures. But keep in mind that even though thousands of revelers persist in trying to outrun the bovine beasts each year, this 8-day festival originally was intended to celebrate the running of the bulls, not with the bulls.

The Feria de San Fermín, as it is known, kicks off at noon each day and goes on until well into the night - for some, through the night - with activities scattered around Pamplona including jai alai matches, singing competitions, dancing, bull fights, live music and, of course, abundant drinking. Not surprisingly, each day's marquis event is the half-mile stampede of bulls through the ancient streets of the city.

The thundering stampede and the cries of the runners get each day off to an adrenaline-charged start. Between that and the non-stop party atmosphere there isn't much quiet time, but if there's one book to bring, it's Earnest Hemmingway's "The Sun Also Rises," the novel that etched Pamplona's image in the minds of generations of readers.