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(1) European Road Trip: the finale

Thursday, November 19, 2009
All good things come to an end, and Getaway's four newest travellers crossed the border from France to Pamplona in the north of Spain for their last hurrah.

Pamplona is the capital of the fiercely independent Navarre province, sharing a 130km border with France. It has a strong Basque tradition which is an important link between Iberia and the rest of the continent.

It has had its share of conflict and the remains of castles and fortified walled towns bear witness to that. But the ancient kingdom has somehow been able to preserve its own government and identity.

Romans, Christians, Muslims and Jews have all left their marks on Navarre and its rich architecture, landscape and folklore are wonderfully diverse.

Ernest Hemingway's descriptions of the running of the bulls in his 1927 novel The Sun Also Rises made Pamplona's Fiesta de San Fermín internationally known. The festival occurs each year from midday on July 6 to midnight on July 14, and is a time of non-stop partying and flowing wine. Attempts to outlaw the bull-running part of the fiesta have failed and it remains an attraction.

While not the patron saint of the city (that honour belongs to San Saturnino) or the region (that belongs to St Francis Xavier), the annual fiesta celebrates San Fermín.

The tradition is said to have come from practicality when, in 1591, residents needed to herd bulls to the fighting arena. At first drovers were used, but others joined the throng to chase them and it continued to grow. The route from Santo Domingo Street, through Plaza Consistorial, Estafeta Street via the dangerous and twisting Mercaderes Street has remained unchanged.

When Pamplona was just another city belonging to the Roman Empire, Fermín was the son of an important resident. He was influenced by San Saturnino, a visiting French bishop, who was spreading Christianity to the locals. Fermín was convinced to go to Toulouse to study and became a bishop. He returned home to continue San Saturnino's work but, upon revisiting France, ran into conflict with local powers-to-be. They tortured and beheaded him and his body remains in the local cathedral.

CJ, Eloise, Gabriel and Courtney divested themselves of their van and wandered around Pamplona to get a feel of what was to come. They were split as to the rights and wrongs of chasing bulls through the town's streets, particularly as there had been a fatality two days before. Gabriel and Courtney decided they still wanted to take part, and decked themselves out in the traditional red and white clothing worn by all the chasers.

After the running it was all a bit of a blur, but at least they can say they have done it. And whether we approve or not, it will be on again next year — and the year after.

Now all safely home in Australia, CJ, Eloise, Gabriel and Courtney have shared individual memories and highlights of their most unusual trip through Europe. They came out the other end friends, which speaks volumes, each a little worldlier and wiser and saving for their next overseas trip.

Location

Pamplona in the north of Spain.

Cost

The Running of the Bulls will be on again between July 6 to 14, 2010.

For further information

Running of the Bulls
Calle Estafeta 57, 4 dcha
Pamplona 31001
Spain
Ph: +34 638 206 664
www.sanfermintravelcentral.com

Visas: Australians travelling to Spain do not require a visa.

Electricity: 230V at 50Hz using European plugs.

Time zone: GMT +2.

Currency: The euro.

International dialling code: +34.

User comments
I was extremely sickened and disappointed to see Getaway include the Running of the Bulls. This is a cruel event which exploits animals - it's inhumane and cruel. It doesn't show how much the bulls suffer, are injured, and eventually die. I was apalled and distressed by your footage. Your report glossed over it like it was a fun event. For the many Australians like myself, who do care about animal welfare, it was inappropriate. I was surprised that you even ran a story like that, and extremely disappointed. I used to watch Getaway religiously, and plan my next holidays after watching it. I won't be doing this again.
thats the worst mullet i have ever seen
Thanks to getaway for the awesome segments each week following the road trip of the four young people. We both really enjoyed watching this as it brought back many memories of our own travels (we actually met in europe and ended up moving countries to be together after it). It is a fantastic idea to follow young people and show the realities of travelling on a budget. Please do more of these sort of segments in various parts of the world! Another idea is to send some ppl on a tour (i.e. contiki, intrepid etc) and show the experiences gained on these. We've both done tours and individual travel and think there are positives in both which would be great to highlight. Well done getaway!
I agree with the other posters about it being great to see Getaway doing stories on real travellers who aren't staying in fancy hotels. I don't agree with those who said they wanted to see more of the four. Please, Getaway, don't subject us to more them. I'm not interested in watching immature posers continuing the stereotype of dumb Aussies on an overseas adventure. I cringed at so much that CJ said and how culturally ignorant they all were. How can you possible go to France and not enjoy the red wine and cheese. Show us a family, or a couple instead of these guys.
This was the best segment i have seen done on a travel show - it was real experiences, by real people. like other people have commented it was great to see them living the way that many young travellers do and not in ritzy hotels... it really made me long for my previous travel experiences and yearn for my future adventures. I congratulate getaway on giving one of the greatest segments of reality tv ever made... And while we may not agree with the animal cruelty of the running of the bulls... it is a cultural heritage that the spanish have that dates back for centuries... many other cultures have similar events. Thanks Getaway...
I have always watched and enjoyed your show, and planned holidays after. Tonight, however, I was so angry and disappointed that you ran a programme that condoned cruelty to animals. The running of the bulls is cruel and inhumane ... many of the bulls are hurt and killed ... ALL for the sake of entertaining humans ... You just made this all worse by actually telecasting it and condoning it!! Entertainment it was not! The humans have a choice whether they will run ... the bulls do not. The person who died, I felt for his family but he had a choice (unlike the poor creatures who also die in the process). Surely, if they need to get an adrenaline rush ... they could do it in many, many other ways that do not include antagonising and mistreating animals Are you back in the dark ages? For goodness sake, get with the times. Mistreating animals is just not in. Getaway is tarnished in my eyes ... I won't be watching your show from now on, which I'm sad about. Very disappointed.
thank god CJ stood up and spoke about animal cruelty in this episode! the other young kids were just carefree and having fun, however this event is absolutely horrible to the poor bulls. Thank you CJ for having the heart you have, you are very much the star of this show in my eyes. i do not agree with getaway covering the bull run, so lucky for them that they had you.
this was a great show, and was great to watch CJ transform as the journey went on. this last episode brought a tear to my eye, it was great to watch these friendships for. i hope to see more from these youngsters again very soon.
I was absolutly disgusted to see Getaway air the 'running of the bulls' and promote it as a positive experience. This event has prompted a long-standing debate for animal lovers and for your program to promote this astounds me. These poor animals are confused, scared and tortured and finally killed and you are supporting this. You should be ashamed. You have lost all support from my family and I.
loved watching this segment each week.A real highlight of the show. the four personalities were a good mix. Welldone Getaway. Left me wanting more.

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