We ended up in Pamplona mostly due to laziness. I had looked up different options for exploring the north of Spain and although there were many great options, Pamplona was on the way to Barcelona – our only committed stop due to the blogging workshop I’d be attending in May. Basically, we couldn’t be bothered to do much planning and, boy, am I glad we didn’t.
You know how you sometimes visit a place and just get a feeling you’re going to love it? That was Pamplona for me. There was nothing particularly special about the city – it’s nice, but looks rather plain compared to many other European cities.
Just one of the many running-friendly parks
We booked a room on the outskirts of the city center to save some money. It was only about a 15-20 minute walk into the main square and it gave us the opportunity to see some of the city’s beautiful and plentiful parks. We were situated right next to a small park where people would come to exercise or take a leisurely stroll with their families. I felt good enough to run, so I did so as often as the weather would allow. It was a running city. There are a ton of trees and green spaces. Maybe that’s why I liked it so much.
My feet will be on this path again, very soon
Walking into town, we started to see the little seashell emblem that marks the trail of the Camino de Santiago. Ah, it’s part of the way of St. James. Maybe deep down inside, I could see myself on this trail sometime in the not-so-distant future, walking stick in hand, on my own pilgrimage. I loved seeing the pilgrims walking about town, looking for shelter, food and, of course, wine. They seemed to be in a different world.
Great deals on delicious regional wine and food plus a bonus street-side party where everyone is invited
We arrived on a Tuesday. As far as we could tell, pretty much every bar in the city center was offering a deal – 2 euros for a glass of wine and your choice of tapa. People of all ages were overflowing into the streets. It looked a little intimidating getting in, but once you were, it was pretty easy to order and make your way out to the street to consume your purchases. It was like a big family party. Maybe that was it.
Next to the big man outside the Plaza de Toros
Pamplona is Hemingway’s city. He really made it famous by traveling there on 9 occasions, mostly between 1923 and 1927. Each time he was there for the running of the bulls, held each July during the San Fermín festival. This is also the setting for his 1926 novel, The Sun Also Rises. Shawn was pretty excited to sit in the same cafe Papa Hemingway frequented during these visits and visit the Plaza de Toros where a large bust of him stands today.
It’s hard to say exactly what the exact lure of Pamplona was for me. After only a day, I turned to Shawn and said I could definitely see myself living in Pamplona. We spent only 5 days there, but its small streets, open plazas and convivial nature will surely entice me to visit again soon. Very soon.
Have you ever visited a city and just knew you would love it?