I woke up at 06:30, dressed, and prepared myself to run the encierro. I met Michelangelo downstairs in the hotel lobby and we both walked to the Plaza Consistorial. Once on the run route, we walked down Estafeta Street and found a decent place where Michelangelo could record my run from the sidelines. I then returned to the plaza and waited until 07:45 (when the rest of the route opened up for the runners to occupy) before I walked back to the spot on Estafeta Street and found Michelangelo standing at the base of a window and holding on to the bars for support with his mobile phone out, ready to record. Then, at 08:00, the two rockets shot off and I waited a little after the bulls turned on “Dead Man’s Corner” before I took off on the left-hand side of the street. The bulls passed me in no time and I continued on in to the bullring. Shortly after entering in to the ring, I exited the stadium and walked to Bar Txoko, where I found Michelangelo waiting. We each then had a cup of beer and met two of the Americans we had hung out with several nights before; we had thought that after they had travelled to San Sebastián that they would’ve moved on to somewhere else; some did, but a few returned to Pamplona. We talked and hung out at the bar for a while and I noticed some of the veteran runners at the bar as well (such as Alexander Fiske-Harrison, who had assembled the book ‘Fiesta: How to Survive the Bulls of Pamplona’). Michelangelo and I had another beer and then each had a cup of that chocolate milk and liquor drink that appears to be popular here (called “lumbumba”). After finishing our drinks, Michelangelo and I returned to the hotel and I ended up taking a three hour nap.
I woke up after 14:30, showered, dressed, and did some work on my laptop. At 17:30, hunger took a hold of me and I walked out in to the old town and made my way to Burger King where I ordered two Bacon XXL burgers. I then returned to my room, ate the burgers (one was enough and I regretted letting my stomach persuade my mind in to purchasing two), and bullshitted for a while. After 20:30, Michelangelo called to meet up for dinner and we both walked to the Plaza del Castillo, found a restaurant, and had dinner (I had meatballs and fries, which really filled me up and created a nice foundation to support the drinking I was prepared to undertake for tonight’s festivities). After dinner, we picked up a couple of photographs that we had ordered yesterday (where we were both clearly visible) and then returned to the hotel. Back in my room, I went through many of the photographs I had taken during the past two weeks, listened to the 23:00 fireworks go off, and then met Michelangelo in the lobby at 23:40.
From the hotel, we walked toward the Plaza Consistorial to observe the closing ceremony at midnight. As we neared the plaza, the crowds became so thick that we could not enter; we ended up just outside the plaza, with the Town Hall barely in view, and almost in the exact same spot we had been in for the opening ceremony eight and a half days before. The band was playing in front of the Town Hall and at midnight fireworks shot off to herald the close of the festival and everyone took off their red neckerchiefs, hung them out before them, and sang songs praising San Fermin. The crowds then began to disperse and Michelangelo and I made our way to the Plaza del Castillo to see and experience the final party. Boy, were we disappointed. The plaza (as well as many other parts if town) was the most deserted we had ever seen at night or even day (the mornings were usually as empty); even the Cafe Iruna, which was packed every night was now empty. Michelangelo and I then wandered around the town, passing by the Cathedral of Santa Maria, the Rincon del Caballo Blanco, and the Portal de Francia before returning to the Plaza del Castillo. There were some gatherings of people, a few busy bars and clubs, and some musical performers, but overall I found the whole scene depressing – the party was truly over. Michelangelo and I both bought large beer bottles, observed some of the more jam-packed clubs and eventually went inside two of them (after finishing our giant beers). After 02:00, we called it a night and returned to the hotel. I went through the rest of my photos and finally went to sleep around 04:00. This was the first night I had gone to bed whilst in Pamplona without the sounds of music and drunks permeating through my window. It was sad to have the greatest (and longest) party I had ever been to come to a close before my eyes and ears; if I ever come back to Pamplona for the San Fermin festival, I’ll be sure to leave before the night of the fourteenth.