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?