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  • First time I stumbled into Running of bulls in Pamplona was pure coincidence. I was seventeen and travelling alone by train and hitchhiking in Europe. With no guide books. Before internet or mobile phones. Only connection back home was poste restante in Amsterdam. In northern Spain I stepped into the train that was full of people dressed in white and red. They didn´t look like conductors. I asked them where they were going and left the train at the same station with them. Next couple of days were craziest of my young life so far.

    Next time I visited Pamplona some years later when I was coming from Ireland and going to Paris. Pamplona seemed to be suitably on the way, it meant only some thousands of kilometres detour but what the hell. I have never been good in choosing the shortest route. I have read my Hemingway before my second participation in fiesta de San Fermin and opposite his advice I brought my girlfriend with me to fiesta. Hemingway had written that Pamplona is bad for romance and human relationships. I disagree. We slept very romantically on cardboard beds in public parks those couple of hours that we slept at all. And very close to each other because it was cold.

    Our relationship ended, but it was next autumn not July. Don’t blame Pamplona for it…

    My third time in San Fermin was four years ago. I brought along my family including my parents. Time to show them what fiesta means when written in big First letter. My father forgot his backache and my mother’s bad cholesterol dropped down during those few hullabaloo days. So, I could say that San Fermin was much better medicine for them than any doctor had succeeded in prescribing during previous years.

    This summer – here we go again. This time from beginning to end. From first midday’s totally chaotic Txupinazo to last night’s touching Pobre de mi. Every morning at eight o’clock cannon will boom and bulls will rush along the narrow cobblestone streets in encierro.

    To my ornithology friend I have said that I shall spend this summer in close proximity of animals, too.
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