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Pamplona-more than just bulls


Two weeks ago, my friend L flew over to visit me from Boston. First stop on the list was Pamplona (Iruña in Basque) the capital of Navarra, and about an hour away from me here in Logroño. I’ve been dying to come to Pamplona for years, it is supposed to be a beautiful city in a beautiful region of Spain, between La Rioja and France. Not to mention it is world-famous for its Sanfermines festival every July, also known as Running of the Bulls (Encierro in Spanish).

For me Pamplona was a beautiful city! I loved everything about it starting with the fact that if was founded by Pompey the Great-proud dork fact! (Pompaelo-Pamplona) It has a lovely old quarter filled with cute shops and delicious pinchos bars with many parks spread over the city; the Plaza del Castillo is a huge sunny square with a quaint gazebo in the center, perfect for hanging out during siesta in the afternoon. My ever faithful Lonely Planet guidebook says that “for those who dare venture here outside fiesta time, despite the overriding feeling that you’re the one who missed the party, you’ll find Pamplona a fascinating place.” Well, LP definitely got that part right-there were hints of San Fermín everywhere, either with bulls painted on everything or red and white as far as you can see, but the atmosphere was still pretty lively when we were there. I just have to make sure that I come back in the beginning of July dressed all in white with a red handkerchief and sash to watch all my fellow idiot Americans run as fast as they can from several 1000+lb bulls. It’s on. I may love adventure, but it would take all the red wine in La Rioja to give me enough courage to run with the bulls in Pamplona. But in all seriousness, Pamplona is definitely worth visiting during the rest of the year too!

Have you ever been to Pamplona? Did you love the city too? Have you ever been to the San Fermín Festival or the Running of the Bulls? and most importantly, have you ever or would you ever run with the bulls?






Crazy people running with the bulls during Sanfermines. Probably Americans.

Crowd of white and red at the beginning of the festival



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3 Responses to Pamplona-more than just bulls

  1. Cassandra October 24, 2011 at 10:25 pm #

    I too dared to give Pamplona a whirl at a time when there were no bulls or tourists underfoot. It’s among one of the cities on my I’d-love-to-revisit list. The nightlife was hoppin’, and the expansive green areas merit another stroll. One day I will go back!

  2. Philip October 28, 2011 at 6:58 am #

    The city, outside of fiesta, is beautiful, but everyone should experience the fiesta at least one in their lifetime, it’s truly unique.

  3. Liz October 30, 2011 at 11:58 am #

    I really loved Pamplona as city, but I will be going to Sanfermines this year, barring I don’t get deported first. residency card issues AGAIN. womp womp

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