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Luggage Storage during Running of the Bulls

Luggage Storage during Running of the Bulls

May 25th, 2007, 11:23 PM
  #1  
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Luggage Storage during Running of the Bulls

Hi,
I'm planning on going to the San Fermin festival.

I have 2 options. I can either arrive to Pamplona in the evening straight from Madrid. Lock all my stuff up somewhere, then party the night away, see the bulls run then head to San Sebastian for sleep.

Or, I can head to San Sebastian from Madrid. Drop my stuff off at my booked hostel, then from San Sebastian head over to Pamplona during the day or evening.

Few questions:

1. What option do people recommend?

2. What time of day is best to arrive to get the most out of the festival? Daylight? or late at night? Dawn?

3. If I were to arrive straight fron Madrid in Pamplona, is there a guarantee that I'll be able to store my luggage somewhere? I'll have just one backpack. Or does storage space run out sometimes because there are so many people?

4. Do you have to bring your own lock?

Thanks so much in advance for any tips or advice!!

Jasmine
jasminedew19 is offline  
May 26th, 2007, 02:30 AM
  #2  
J62
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
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Sorry I don't have any answer. When I saw this title, however, I did have a visual image of you 'running with the bulls' with a 22" wheeled Samsonite in tow, trying to keep it from tipping on cobble stone streets as you stay one step ahead the bulls.
J62 is online now  
May 26th, 2007, 08:50 AM
  #3  
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
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There is a left luggage in the Plaza de San Francisco in the old city across from the tourist office (it's a school the rest of the year). You'll only be one of a few thousand standing in line to check your bag.

You can arrive anytime during the day, but it tends to be a little calmer during lunch, 1:30 to 4:00, at least for the locals.
Robert2533 is offline  
May 26th, 2007, 02:30 PM
  #4  
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Thanks for the tip! Thousands of people waiting in line! It almost makes me think it's worth going to San Sebastian first just to drop my luggage off in my hostel!
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May 26th, 2007, 06:23 PM
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Maybe not thousands, but several hundred at least, and a long wait. You also have to stand in line to retreve you checked luggage. Another long wait since the office isn't open 24 hours a day.
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May 27th, 2007, 10:42 AM
  #6  
ekt
 
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I just wanted to reply as to which time is best to arrive. The first time I went to Pamplona we arrived in the early morning. We saw the bulls run around 8am, then some from my group went into the stadium to see more action. Afterward we wandered around, went on some tour I think, but the afternoon was pretty mellow. There was an outdoor market selling jewelry, but it was quite hot so we just tried to stay cool. Some friends of mine went back to San Sebastian (where we were staying), but me and another girl stayed for the nightlife. It was a blast. We skipped the bulls the next morning and just headed home.

The 2nd time I went we arrived in the evening, partied all night, tried to sleep in a park, but this time it was cold. The next morning we watched the bulls and then headed back to San Sebastian.
I prefered the 1st time because it was warm, but kinda boring during the day.
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May 27th, 2007, 05:17 PM
  #7  
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thanks for the tips, ekt! i'll keep them in mind as i try to decide when to pop into pamplona from san sebastian.

another question - do you think there's any difference between going to san fermin near the beginning (july 6 or so) or going near the end? (july 13 or so). i'm trying to decide whether to do madrid first and then head over to san fermin, or vice versa.

thanks very much!
jasminedew19 is offline  
May 27th, 2007, 07:09 PM
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Well, restaurant reservations are easier after the opening weekend, if that makes any difference.

Actually, the festival changes somewhat in character once the opening days have gone by (the 6th and 7th) and most of the backpackers, and a few others, have moved on to other destinations. It becomes more of a traditional Navarran Basque festival, very family orientated, great for children, and a bit more relaxed, but just as intense. The French (from the Pays Basque) usually arrive on the 13th to help celebrate the closing days of the fiesta.
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May 27th, 2007, 07:20 PM
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Pamplona has the running of the bulls.

In DC the annual running of the tourists commences on or about March 10th and concludes Labor Day weekend.
FauxSteMarie is offline  
May 28th, 2007, 07:37 AM
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thanks for the tips everyone!

it turns out i'm only able to go near the end of san fermin because that's when i could find accommodation. but "family oriented" doesn't sound as appealing to me - i'll be travelling alone and would like the chance to meet other travellers and find a crazy party. does this still go on? does the all night partying still happen? or not really?

thanks very much!
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May 28th, 2007, 07:52 AM
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The all night partying goes on throughout the fiesta and you can have a "wild and crazy time" if you happen to find yourself in the middle of the Peñas. Just head in the direction C/ Jarauta and C/San Lorenzo, in the Old City, when the bullfights end. You can't miss the action. The streets will be filled with bodies until the sun comes up. Outsiders are welcomed, sometimes.

The bars along C/San Nicholas and C/Estafeta are open most of the night and there are places along Caldereria where you may find some action day and night, but a lot of these places are private and one must be invited in.

A lot of the foreigners hang out at the bars set up along Paseo de Sarasate and in the Plaza del Castillo, but there are fewer of them there toward the end of the fiesta.
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May 28th, 2007, 08:09 AM
  #12  
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Thanks again! It sounds like it could be hit or miss near the end of the festival... it sounds like I could be snobbed by Spaniards as an outsider

I guess as it stands now, the earliest I could make it to Pamplona would be July 11. I guess I now need to decide whether it's worth trying to rearrange my plans to come on the 6th or whether the 11th will still be the same level of partying going on. Any thoughts?
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May 28th, 2007, 08:49 AM
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Hi Jasmine. When I went to running of the bulls I was travelling alone from Paris. I just decided one day to get on the train and go down and check it out.

When you arrive by train from Spain or France, there is one city (i forget the name) where you have to transfer to a regional train to get to Pamplona. Travelling on the morning of the opening festivities, as I did, that regional train is completely full of people going to Pamplona (Americans, Australians, Spanish, you name it). It is a great place to meet people to hang out with. I met another American guy traveling alone on that train (who i ended up rooming with) as well as some others that we ran into occassionally duriing the whole 3 days.

Backpacker mythology has it that in Pamplona it is impossible to get a room during the running of the bulls, so all of the backpackers sleep in a big park. So the guy I met on the train and ended up rooming with thought we would put our luggage in storage, party all night and then leave, like you plan. But I said, let's at least try, so we went to the accommodations window in the train station, they gave us a brochure for a pension and we went there and got the last room, it was available for three nights, so that is how long we stayed. It was a room for four people, so later in the day when we ran into 2 backpackers from Atlanta who had no place to stay, we gave them the extra two beds.

We arrived about 1-2 hours after the opening festivities. So I don't think it is as hard to get a place as everybody thinks. You just need a lot of effort and a little luck.

Regarding, when to arrive, if you are travelling alone i would recommend arriving the day before the opening ceremony or that first morning like I did. It is easy to meet people then. Otherwise, the first day of the festival is different than all the other days. At noon, the party begins in the big central square and people are on the balconies of all the apartments surrounding the square. The tradition is that they pour red wine down on everybody. So when we arrived and walked out into the square, it was full of people wearing red wine drenched shirts and people passed out drunk everywhere...That meant that the first night was the only calm night of the whole festival (everybody was too burned out to party anymore after doing it all afternoon). I think the first bull run was the next morning and from that point on the bars are full non-stop 24 hours a day.

I was very pleasantly surprised by Pamplona, an international festival par excellence. Lots of fun and friendly people there, easy to meet and really interesting. There are lots of Americans we met there that had been going every year for the last 15 years and they had friends they met there every year, that they only knew from Pamplona.

Afterwards i was in San Sebastien for one night and then Biarritz France for 3 nights. I went to the Middle Age fair in Bayonne (about 15 min by bus from Biarritz) and that was also a great thing to do...something like a Renaissance Pleasure fair, on a small scale, done in the place where the original really took place.
kerbouchard is offline  
May 28th, 2007, 09:40 AM
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thanks kerbouchard,

that sounds like an awesome experience! so i guess just arriving is an option for me as well on july 5th. biarritz sounds nice too - this is the first i've heard of it - is it far from pamplona? easy to get to? that might be something i could do until july 11, which is when i have reservations to stay in san sabastien for 4 nights.

did you have any problems with trains being fully booked to pamplona? did you book in advance? my only concern is flying into san sebastien on july 5(which is much cheaper than flying into pamplona) and then not being able to get to pamplona because all the trains/ buses will be all booked up.
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May 28th, 2007, 10:31 PM
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Hi Jasmine, Biarritz is just across the border from San Sebastien. They are both part of the Basque territory, so French people living in this region often say they are Basque, not French. It is a beach city on the Atlantic Coast and it is known for having surfers. Biarritz reminded me if San Diego, but the coast was lined with 18th century mansions and villas. But there's not so much to do other than go to the (very crowded) beach. That was fine after Pamplona, because i needed a few days to recover

The regional train to Pamplona doesn't have reserved seats, so if it turned out to be full, you could just stand. Even on the French TGV, if it is "sold out" you still have the option to sit on a fold down chair between the cars. So trains rarely sell out so completely that you can't get on. I've never heard of anybody flying directly to Pamplona. I think everybody is coming by train from one of the bigger cities.
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May 29th, 2007, 07:36 PM
  #16  
ekt
 
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I found that the bus was faster and cheaper most of the time. We took it from San Sebastian to Pamplona, and from San Sebastian to Biarritz. I think we bought our tickets for the bus a day or two ahead of time.
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