Friday, July 5, 2013


     From Logroño we took the bus to Pamplona, famous for its San Fermín festival held in July which has the famous Encierro, the Running of the Bulls. The festival starts this Saturday, so we went early to avoid the chaos. My brother, who went last year and ran, recommended we go during the festival, but we wanted to be able to walk in the streets without tripping over people. We showed up just early enough, because they were already busy fencing off the parks to keep people out during the festival.

Pamplona, taken during siesta hours
     We were hungry when we arrived, so we went to the Mesón de la Tortilla, supposedly one of the best Spanish tortilla places. The tortilla was very tasty—I had ham and mushroom tortilla and Katie had spinach and cheese. It is €1,50 for a slice, which fills you up.

Spanish tortilla
     After, we stumbled upon a photography exhibit with photos by Francisco Cano, one of Spain's most famous photographers. He is 100 years old and some of his most famous photographs are on display, from Charlton Heston trying his hand at bullfighting to Hemingway in Pamplona, Orson Welles at bullfights and Manolo Caracol (flamenco singer) performing his art. 

Francisco Cano photography exhibit
Famous photos of bullfighter Manolete

     Later we walked around a park and after the shops opened back up in the afternoon we went to a famous bakery called Beatriz and bought some delicious chocolate pastries.  

     After that we went to the big square, Plaza del Castillo, to hear some traditional Basque music played with the instruments called txistu (a flute-like instrument) and gaita (like a bagpipe), among others. It's kind of a mix between Celtic and marching music, and was interesting to hear, though nowhere close to as powerful as flamenco music—at least to the uninitiated. 

     At some point we got a little hungry at went to Café Iruña and had some tapas. If that name sounds familiar, it's because you've been reading Hemingway recently. 

"We had coffee at the Iruña, sitting in comfortable wicker chairs looking out from the cool of the arcade at the big square." -The Sun Also Rises

      In the morning before catching the bus to Jaca, we walked around the Ciudadela, a 16th century fortress. Fortunately, we got there before the temporary fence enclosed it to keep out the upcoming festival attendees. Pamplona was a really nice city, much prettier than we were expecting. The center of the city has beautiful old buildings and the green spaces are abundant.

Next up: El Pueyo de Jaca.

1 comment:

  1. Fantastic! as always. I would love to see the interior of the cafe in person. And all the food looks sooooo good. You two will be spoiled!