Sculpture of bull runners in San FermínThe countdown has come to an end. Extreme sports lovers are in luck. If you are looking for an adrenaline rush this summer, you can try to find a free taxi in Barcelona or better come to San Fermín.

From the 7th to the 14th of July you can run away from an enraged pack of bulls, eager to gore you in Pamplona, in the North of Spain. Around 16,000 runners stared into the eyes of death last year. If you are still wondering why you should try this, keep reading.

If you don’t know yet what San Fermín is, stop reading for a minute and take a look at this article about it.

Now, you are ready to learn why people are willing to multiply Pamplona’s population by 5 during these days:

  1. El Chupinazo: it’s a Basque word (txupinazo) that means “skyrocket”. Its launch marks the beginning of the celebration and 40,000 people will be shouting and singing.
  2. El cántico en honor al santo: some minutes before el encierro, the runners stand in front of a little statue of San Fermín and sing a traditional song in order to ask for protection.
  3. El encierro: literally it means “to corral, to enclose the bulls” but we refer to the running through the streets of the town. Every morning, at 8 o’clock, six toros bravos (fierce bulls) and 6 cabestros (tame bullocks) are led towards la plaza de toros (the bullring): 875 metres in total. But who leads them? Thousands of runners dressed in white with a red scarf and sash will run in front of them.
  4. Los extranjeros: if you are not Spanish, don’t worry, you will feel like home. About 45% of the runners are foreigners (20% from USA, 8% from Australia and New Zealand and 3% from UK).
  5. La juerga o parranda: different synonymous with fiesta (party, binge or nightlife). What did you think that all these people do after getting out alive? Or better, how do you think this people dare to run in front of death? You will find the answers during the night time.
  6. Los balcones = if you finally decide not to run, don’t worry, you can rent one of the privileged balconies, where you will be able to see el encierro from.
  7. Actividades familiares: Man shall not live by adrenaline and blood alone but by activities, games and other events designed for families, such as pasacalles (musical parades at the street), verbenas (open-air dances), títeres y marionetas (puppets and dummies), fuegos artificiales (fireworks) and much more.
  8. Pobre de mí (poor me): most of farewells are difficult, but after seven days of celebration, it’s even worse. A huge crowd of people gathers together at 12:00 a.m. of the last day and sings a sad song in which they feel sorry and complain about the ending of the festivity.

If you are thinking about coming to Spain to run in San Fermín, you will need to speak Spanish, at least the basics. On we have the perfect course for you: Spanish Survival Lessons. You will be able to introduce yourself, talk on the phone, buy at a store, make hotel reservations, check in at the airport and much more. Don’t hesitate and reserve a free trial lesson here via Skype. You will not have to sing Pobre de mí when you’ll need to talk Spanish in Pamplona anymore.

Image: Encierro del Metal, by Raúl Hernández González @Wikipedia.