Saturday, July 5, 2014

The new Running of the Bulls regulations 2014

The new running of the bulls regulations has eliminated the police barrier that used to contain those running at Santo Domingo´s Hill. As you know, the corrals with the  bulls participating on the bull run are just few meters away. This police barrier prevented the runners to meet the bulls too soon as a safety measure as these are one of the most dangerous meters of the itinerary because the bulls run at a high speed due to their short legs.

It has been assessed that this is an avoidable risk for the local police in Pamplona. Instead, it has been painted a line of contention that runners should not cross. So for first time in history, the amazing image where we could see on the tv how the police were holding the runners to avoid them to encounter the bulls too soon will not occur. To get an idea of the situation at the beginning of this video you can see the last time this happened.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Four Nobel Prizes in Literature

They followed the trail of Ernest Hemingway, Miguel Angel Asturias of Guatemala (1968) Nobel Prize for Literature; Derek Walcott, West Indian (1954); Mario Vargas Llosa (2005).

I even venture to include in this section the playwright and screenwriter Arthur Miller, Prince of Viana Prize for Literature in 2002.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Edward Kennedy

The San Fermin festival have had a great impact on big leaders of the world of politics and American business. Although their trips used to be "incognito" there are several records of Edward Kennedy visiting San Fermín in 1962.

(according to private photo Carmentxu Ocariz published in recent dates in a local newspaper and Caroline Kennedy (daughter of John F. Kennedy) in 1972, as with many other young Americans, whose experiences are so well described by writer James A Michener in "The drifters".

Around the same dates, as you can appreciate in the picture, his brother JFK visited Mexico in the mid of a great popular clamour. He was received by the then President of Mexico at that time, Mr. Adolfo López Mateos.

1962, July 13

Orson Welles

Orson Welles, with two Oscars and numerous other awards as a screenwriter and film director visited Pamplona, ​​San Fermin, three times., 1955, 1961 and 1966.

 In the photograph can be seen smoking a cigar while attending an evening bullfight. In the early 2009, the American Film Institute proclaimed that the film Citizen Kane, directed by Orson Welles in 1941, was the best film of American Cinema.

In the 60´s during his visit to San Fermin Festival, we don´t know if it was a consequence of the economic problems he was under because of his films shootings or if he was just forgetful but the truth is that during the last time he stayed at the La Perla´s Hotel in Pamplona, nowadays the only 5-star in the City, he left without paying their bill. 
Obviously the hotel didn´t claim.

Henry Ford II

In 1987, the motor car magnate, Henry Ford II the grandson of the founder of Ford Car Industry flew to Pamplona to assist the San Fermin Festival from Houston in his private plane, nothing less than a Boeing 727.

Darril F. Zanuck

The great Darril F. Zanuck visited San Fermin Festival in Pamplona in 1963. One of the main producers during the golden age of Hollywood and founder of the Twenty Century Fox. 

He came back in 1964 with the actress Irina Demick who at that time was the female main character of " The longest Day", a huge film about the Normandy landing

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Dennis Rodman

The first running of the bulls on San Fermin festival 2009 had an unexpected runner. Dennis Rodman was noted not only because of his height stood out from the crowd but his tattoos, piercings, rings, chains and a black cap made him extremely noticeable. He decided to wait the bulls at the final stretch of the Santo Domingo Hill, ran few meters very close to the bulls and then decided to turn away followed by several runners running the same part of the chosen itinerary of Running of the Bulls.

He arrived in Pamplona accompanying Ray Sabbatini who last year unfortunately, was diagnosed with multiple scleroris. Their goal: Raise money for a foundation that fights this disease and they were sponsored by Golden Palace Casino.
The famous NBA ex-player said he had been frightened and had not felt such strong emotions even when winning at the NBA´s. He said he had fulfilled a dream and declined to say goodbye to Pamplona because as stated, he will return!

San Fermín: The Festival of Joy

Sometimes the San Fermin Festival in Pamplona can be perceived as chaotic and far too wild. But is not so, on the contrary, its de Festival of  "Joy" and "Solidarity". Take my word for this as I´m not keen on big crowds but I have enjoyed San Fermin Fiesta for over thirty years!


Although most risks appear to be around those wounded during the daily Running of the Bulls I can tell that the worst ones are for those driving intoxicated and with excess alcohol consumption. The police presence is immense: they are police controls on the motorway when you access to Pamplona as well as other policeman dressed in plainclothes that mixes with people on the main events.
Last year, before the Opening Ceremony (Chupinazo), on one of the streets next to the City Hall (where the Chupinazo takes place), there were tense moments before the deployment of a large Ikurriña (Basque Country Flag with a lot of independent content depending where its shown). Some youngsters threw few bottles and a girl from Madrid was wounded but although they were thousands of people at the Consistorial Plaza in that moment, the police managed to identify and arrest last September the alleged perpetrators.