An emotional Juan Carlos Unzué uncorks the Sanfermines and gives visibility to ELA in the most universal party
The reunion has been unforgettable. Never before have the Sanfermines experienced such an emotional chupinazo and with so much desire to celebrate it. After a two-year hiatus (from July 6, 2019 to today, the wait for many has been eternal), the balcony of Pamplona City Hall has once again hosted its most intimate and beloved event, the one that puts that narrow stone viewpoint in homes and offices throughout Spain. At twelve o'clock in the afternoon the most universal party, the mother party, has given the starting gun. And he has done it big. With the best possible choice. Juan Carlos Unzué, the unforgettable goalkeeper who today tries to stop ALS, a disease that was diagnosed three years ago. Unzué, 55 years old, in a wheelchair accompanied by his wife. María, who does not separate from him, and for the mayor of Pamplona, Enrique Maya, has lit the rocket and launched into the sky of the Navarran capital and before the white and red tide that overflowed the emblematic Town Hall square the war cry that Shoot the city to its biggest party. «Pamploneses, long live San Fermín». «Iruindarrak Gora San Fermin». Unzué dedicated the chupinazo to all the toilets who helped and continue to help fight the coronavirus and "all ALS patients", citing Bucho in particular. Excitement filled his eyes and his face was all smiles.
Unzué's cry has also been answered by the thousands of people who packed the town hall with the traditional 'Viva! held this year for reasons that need no explanation.
With the chupinazo and with Unzué already with his red scarf tied around his neck, as tradition marks, the long-awaited Sanfermines 2022 have officially begun. people. In addition to Navarrans and travelers from all over Spain, there is a significant presence of French, Mexicans and, of course, Americans determined to follow in the footsteps of that rakehell called Hemingway.
As soon as the rocket broke through the Pamplona sky, txistularis and pipers accompanied the band La Pamplonesa to perform the Biribilketa, the first music of San Fermín, the one that starts the festivities every year with the thousands of red handkerchiefs raised on their heads from Pamplona and who has returned after two years of absence marked by the pandemic.
Unzué has been visibly moved. The former goalkeeper from Navarre, accustomed to dealing with the stage fright of so many soccer stadiums (he played more than 300 games in the First Division), successfully overcame the challenge of throwing the most anticipated shot in the history of San Fermin. The former footballer, who wore the shirts of Osasuna, Barcelona, Seville, Tenerife and Oviedo, is fighting amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. For this reason, with today's crash, he has given ALS a visibility that is appreciated by all those who, like him, yearn for faster advances in the investigation of this cruel neurodegenerative disease without a cure or treatment that slowly and inexorably takes away their lives. Shouting from the rooftops of Pamplona's Town Hall that Viva San Fermín has given Unzué the unique opportunity to show ALS to the whole world and remember that patients have no time to waste. And he has done it in his hometown, at the party par excellence, the one that gives meaning to Pamplona and surrounded by joy, optimism and self-assurance, the attitude with which he has decided to face ALS.
130,000 people and security
'Welcome to the best parties in the world' is the motto with which the City Council will receive the 130,000 people who will arrive these days by bus; 2,500 on regular flights and 20,000 by train, according to the forecasts of the Pamplona Culture and Tourism area. At the beginning of April, the hotels were already close to full with prices higher than those of 2019, especially for the first days. At the centenary five-star La Perla, rates range between 1,000 and 3,000 euros per night.
More than 2,700 agents between the National Police, the Civil Guard, the Provincial Police and the Municipal Police will ensure the safety of the festival, in which the agents will pay special attention to avoiding sexual assaults. Nobody forgets what happened on the night of July 6 to 7, 2016 when five Sevillian friends, calling themselves La Manada, sexually assaulted an 18-year-old girl from Madrid on the landing of a portal in the center of Pamplona.
On the other hand, Civil Protection has recalled the obligation to wear a mask on public transport. And although Minister Darias recommended "common sense" in the face of the crowds, today in the Plaza del Ayuntamiento de Pamplona they were conspicuous by their absence.
This year 1,500 liters of anti-slip have been poured to facilitate the grip of the runners and the bulls during the running of the bulls, which will begin this Thursday at eight in the morning with bulls from Núñez de Cuvillo. On the route from the Cuesta de Santo Domingo to the bullring, the rental of balconies with snacks based on coffee and pastries is offered at prices between 125 and 180 euros, although at this point there are few places available.
In the bullfighting poster, Roca Rey stands out – who will fight twice, on July 7 and 13 – and in the musical Eliades Ochoa (July 9) La Oreja de Van Gogh (10) and La MODA (12), among many others. proposals.