Day 5 Pamplona. Opening ceremony.
We got into town around 11. We had an average camp breakfast of a piece of bacon, a fried egg and fruit. It got us going for the day which is really all we wanted. Finding a nice patch of grass in Plaza del Toro (main square) David bought a big French stick and we munched on that, drank our E3 bottle of champagne till 12, when the ceremony commenced. Cheers and cries of celebratory joy filled the air, along with sangria sprays and champagne corks popping. We were sprayed a few times, thankfully only by champagne. We did so well to avoid sangria.
Bands played and marched through the little streets so we followed the thousands of people to join in the communal festivities. It took us over half an hour to make our way along one street. But so worth it.
We found the Muscle Bar where lots of Aussie tourists tend to flock to. In the middle of the square, there is a monument. Aussie boys climb the monument and dive off it into the awaiting crowd. Not that it would be safe to do at the best of times, but especially today, as everyone in the crowd is drunk. Later we found out a 36 yo lady tried climbing the monument, slipped, broke her neck and died. The crowds were that thick, the ambulance took over 30 minutes to arrive. This was one of many similar incidents.
Dancing through the crowds was a lot easier than saying ‘scussi’, purely as I didn’t know how to say ‘move’ in Spanish. Not that it worked at any rate and at times it was welcomed to be caught in the gridlocked streets and assist the crowds in singing ‘aqua’ to the balcony owners and moments later to be showered in cool water. It was like this constantly. The ground became sticky and flooded quickly. I unfortunately turned around a little too quickly to see a man peeing in a cup. David saw too, and we were a barrel of laughs looking at this poor man’s makeshift loo.
We wandered onto the outskirts of the festival and found an open concreted area with a DJ surrounded by local kids. You were the odd one out if you weren’t dancing (to the English music). It was probably my favourite part of the festival, being in this square dancing about and drinking water out of our traditional water bottles.
Around 18:00 we were a bit tired after being on our feet for over 6 hours so we had a late siesta on a patch of grass and nursed a bottle of Sangria. Being afraid of the gypsies robbing us of what little gear we had on us I didn’t get much sleep, but David snored the avo away, awaking later hungry for tapas. Unfortunately, we never did find the little bar we first went to which we really enjoyed.
The rest of the night followed the same preceedings of the day; sangria, ‘aqua from balconies’, dancing, eating and sighting gypsies. We must have gotten back to camp around midnight, cautious of our very, very sore feet.