Hemingway reportedly made Pamplona world famous for its weeklong festival of the running of the bulls when he wrote
The Sun Also Rises in 1926. We are going there, not for the Festival of San Fermin as it is known in Spain, but to begin a 451 mile pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela. Our goal is to begin on Monday the 26th of September and end on the 30th of October. We began this pilgrimage on 17th of September last year in San Sebastián Spain and ended it due to Jim’s health problems on the 3rd of October after walking just under 200 miles. We are walking the traditional, more traveled, Camino Francés route this year. The weather for the first week of walking is predicted as rainy. When we walked out of our fiend and former neighbor Peggy’s home in Boston it was raining moderately heavy and we had no umbrellas unpacked so we started our trek walking a half block with our luggage and backpacks in the rain. We believe that starting in the rain means good luck and guarantees that we reach our goal.
When we climbed into our Uber we were greeted with the Camino marker (blue and yellow sticker with scallop shell) that the driver had stuck on the plastic shield dividing her from the passengers. Our driver was from Brazil and had done the Portuguese route of the Camino. We felt this to be another good omen for a successful Camino.
Our Iberia Air flight from Boston to Madrid was delayed by two hours with no explanation, causing much anxiety among the passengers who had connecting flights to make. We had no connecting flight as we had booked a train to take us from Madrid to Pamplona.
Arrival in Madrid Airport which we have become quite familiar with. Masks are still required on flights entering Spain and on their trains.
Atocha train station where we had a two hour wait for our train.
Big smile and happy to be maskless on arrival to Pamplona.
It was only one mile to our Hotel in Pamplona so we decided to walk. The walking felt good after an 18 hour commute sitting from the time we left Boston.
That is the wall to the old city of Pamplona and one of its gates.
Oops, did not plan on having to climb stairs with suitcases. Jim being the gentleman took both suitcases.
This is our hotel and our room which is circled in red, it was quite modest but it was clean and comfortable.
We had a lovely view of this plaza and the old city walls from the large windows in our room.
After getting settled in our room we went to explore the town and to purchase Spanish SIM cards for our phones.
This is a bronze sculpture by Rafael Huerta depicting Pamplona’s iconic running of the bulls.
Our first pinchos with tuna, duck in a crepe and crab all washed down with vino tinto, Pinchos means skewer as most of them are served with a toothpick holding them together or on a toothpick.
Palacio de Navarra, this is the backside. Seat of government for the province of Navarra.
Beginning of our day 2 walkabout. This is a view north over the old city walls.
This is the top of the city wall seen from below as we were walking to our hotel.
Buen Camino interpreted into many different languages. Jim has circled English and his childhood language of Amharic, a dialect of Ethiopian. The sign also gives the mileage we will be walking to Santiago, 665K.
Catedral de Santa Maria la Real de Pamplona, the current 15th century Gothic church replaced an older Romanesque one. Archaeological excavations have revealed the existence of another two earlier churches.
Sepulcher of Charles III and spouse Eleanor of Castile
Renaissance Choir Stalls are separated from the Nave by Gothic iron grating.
The Medieval Kings of Navarre were crowned and some buried here.
After touring the Pamplona Cathedral we did another self guided tour of the La Plaza de Toros, where the bulls are released for the Running of the Bulls.
This video gives you an idea of how crazy crowded Pamplona is.
Running of the Bulls in Pamplona video.
It was really cool to be able to walk out on to the arena of the Bull Ring, (Sandy stole some of the sand).
Hemingway Statue outside of the Bull Ring.
They named the street to the Bull Ring after Hemingway.
Cafe Iruna AKA Hemingway’s Bar which was the meeting point for the main characters of “The Sun also Rises”, the novel that made him famous.
Pamplona City Hall is a beautiful baroque building constructed in the XVII century. The female figure on the right has a sword and represents the Law. The one on the Left with a mirror represents Prudence.
Iglesia Santurnino. Is actually two churches, one XV Century Gothic and the other XVIII century Baroque. It is a magnificent church and looks like a fortress from the outside. San Santurinino is the main patron of Pamplona.
Our Hotel in Pamplona.
Pamplona festival to celebrate St Fermin’s Original Saints Day on September 25. We accidentally ran into this as we went out for dinner.
Giant Puppets paraded through the streets following a marching band which delights the children who bang on their toy drums to the music.
This was a nice surprise ending to our Pamplona stay before we began the Camino the next morning.
This video of a little girl on her Dad’s shoulder was so cute.