Tag Archives: San Fermin

Pamplona, Spain

The five kilometer walled “old city” of Pamplona (Spanish) and/or Iruña (Basque) is well preserved. Founded in 74 BC by Roman military and political leader, Pompey.  Due to its strategic location it was fortified right way.

* Click to enlarge photos

The Camino de Santiago Frances meanders through town.  It was on our third day of the Camino that took us through town 10 years ago. Through being the key word.  No time to explore – we had miles ahead of us.

Bill partied here one night 50 years ago and was determined to find the bar so we booked a week’s stay at an Airbnb to allow us the time to investigate.  He didn’t remember the name or the location so we drank or way through town trying to figure out which one held Bill’s barstool.

Our apartment was on Estafeta Street right above a popular restaurant/bar. The street is renowned for its 300 meter path where six bulls and thousands of crazy masochists converge for the running of the bulls during the San Fermín festival.

In 11 days, our balcony and all the ones up and down the street, now quiet and unoccupied, will be full of onlookers peering down to the mayhem below. More than 1.5 million people will fill the town.

Preparations are under way.  Stores advertise white and red in honor of the celebration – some empty store fronts are shored up with painted murals and fencing has been installed to keep people out of areas. It’s hard to fathom the masses for the festival.

We spent three days on portions of the Camino.  The first day we followed the arrows to Cizur Menór and it only took 20 minutes to get lost.  I had to pull out the GPS to get oriented. The next time we hiked in the opposite direction.  It was like Where’s Waldo trying to find the trail makers.  We taxied to Alto del Perdón and walked back – backwards on the trail again!  Yes, we got lost but not for long.

Searching for arrows that guide the Way and not knowing where they lead was thrilling.  We talked about a reunion walk in the future.  We’ll see how that pans out.  One thing we learned is that we’re not as strong as we used to be.  Super light packs and a few extra days to walk would be essential.

Pamplona pays homage to Ernest Hemingway. A city that he loved and wrote about in his 1926 book The Sun Also Rises.  Some of his favorite haunts still stand today attracting tourists and local alike.

We gobbled up as many pinchos as possible and tried to soak in every ounce of Spain as possible.

Hemingway’s book is downloaded on my Kindle to read as we head west – going to let Pamplona linger a bit longer…