October 6, 2018 Pamplona SP

Today was an almost day.  We were both very much looking forward to Pamplona.  It had a great reputation.  Ron is a huge fan of Hemingway who loved Pamplona, and Ton had read a lot of good things about the town, we were both excited.

It’s not that there was anything wrong with Pamplona, it is a very beautiful and interesting city, but our expectations were very high.  Yesterday St. Sebastian wowed us because we had no expectations and it was a great city.  I think today was the opposite.

The day started with a quick drive over the mountains to Pamplona.  We crossed the highest pass we have seen yet in Europe at a little over 2000 ft.  The road was good and we were in Pamplona before we knew it.  That was the first problem as we had planned to stop at a grocery on the way into town, and we were in town before we knew it, so we missed the grocery stop.  It should have been no problem because the aire was supposed to have a grocery next to it.  It turned out the grocery was a Carrefour Express which is like a 7-11.  The cupboards were bare so we needed a real grocery.  Google told us there was another grocery about 1/2 mile a way.  Ton is a little under the weather so Ron went on a reconnaissance and it was indeed a real grocery and closer than a 1/2 mile.  So the groceries are taken care of for a couple of days.

A cute cartoon showing the highlights of Pamplona.
One of the streets the bulls run down.

We then headed into town to see the Citadel, Cathedral, and the old town.  The citadel was another fort and quite a large one.  It is quite well preserved and we took a quick walk thru, but decided to move on.  

The Citadel, impressive and well preserved. Except for the modern apartment building.

We walked thru the old town near the end of Siesta so it was pretty quiet, and while it is the old street layout, it was for us a weird combination of grimy and modern.  The streets are quite wide to allow for the running of the bulls which is what Pamplona is known for.  The Cathedral was again ok, but we did not see the inside as they wanted €3 to get in. We ended the day with a visit to the Bull Ring to see the statue of Hemingway next to it.  We almost visited the ring but they wanted €6 to walk thru.

Ron trying to look like Hemingway.
Outside the bull fighting arena.  Did not want to pay the entrance fee as there was no bull fighting, and we would not want to see that either.

We finally decided to have a dinner as the food is supposed to be good.  Again the food was ok, the service was ok, and the location was good, with an amateur Basque band playing local music with some interesting wind instruments.  All in all not awful, but not a memorable meal or visit.

Some Basque musicians waiting outside a church.

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