For 51 weeks of the year, Pamplona is a sleepy provincial capitol in northern Spain. But in the remaining week, all hell breaks loose for the Festival of San Fermin. Population doubles as visitors from all over the world descend upon the town for eight days of sangria-soaked revelry.
The eight-day festival is best known for the "running of the bulls," immortalized by Hemingway in The Sun Also Rises. Each morning, the six bulls for the evening's fights run through the streets toward the ring in the center of town. Accompanying them are about a thousand brave, insane, or simply drunk runners. This brisk morning jog is not without its hazards: on the average, one runner is gored and several others butted or trampled every morning. And that's when the bulls behave; when they get frisky, several dozen runners end up in the hospital.
This year, the city fathers printed a booklet with safety rules in six languages. It may not make the running of the bulls just an exotic workout, but hopes are that at least it will reduce the carnage due to stupidity.