Day 18, Thursday, from Bilbao to Pamplona

We get up and have a good breakfast again at the hotel. It is raining hard. Bob and Marilynn lead us out of town. We head up into the mountains and it rains harder.

We come down through some pretty country side and some small lakes.

We actually are the first ones to the hotel today. We manage to get turned around in their underground garage and in the residents part of the garage. They tell us we have to turn around and go out. What another round about in the garage! We get turned around and find the reserved part of the garage for us. We get registered and go for lunch. It is a three course meal. The rain is starting to let up.

We meet at 6 and take a taxi to the Historic Center. There we meet our guide “Manuel” for a guided tour of Pamplona. He is Basque. I learn the basque name for Pamplona is Iruna.

The city’s center plaza.

Fountain in the center of the plaza.

“IRUÑA” the Basque word for the city of Pamplona.

Pamplona/Iruña is the start of the Pilgrimage Route to Santiago since the Middle Ages. There are symbols along the route to show the way. When we got back to the hotel I road on the elevator with a gentleman from England who was here to start walking the route.

The city is known for the “Running of the Bulls” and for Ernest Hemingway having been here. It is known worldwide for it’s festival – San Fermines which is held  from July 6th to the 14th. This is when the running of the bulls and the bullfights are held. During this time 6 bulls and 6 steers-which lead the bulls, run down the street to the bull ring along with the people who are all dressed in white and red. It takes the bulls all of two minutes to run the route. Sign on side of bullring.

Sign on street corner. Street sign where the running of the bulls goes.

The street where the bulls run.

Sign showing how many days, hours, minutes, and seconds until the next running of the bulls will be.

Kathy next to a bull that gored a man in the run.

  Railing to block off the street.

Our guide showing how if a bull is chasing you, how you jump the railing to safety. Pat, Charlie and Karen looking on.

We see several statues of Ernest Hemingway.

We see the City Hall.

We see the 16th century Fortress surrounding the old city made up of three cities that were fighting for 400 years.

We also see and go in the  Basilica Cathedral of Santa María la Real. The work was started in the second half of the 13th century and did not end until 1525.

We learn some about the Basque culture. This is a thistle bloom that is placed over the doors for “protection”, with Carla and Robert looking on.

After the tour we are left to adventure ourselves in town and find a place to eat. Pat, Charlie, Kathy and Rick and I find a place to have some tapas and then get a taxi back to the hotel. Rick helps Charlie fix his carburetor. Time once again to go to bed before another day begins.