Trip Start Jan 31, 2011
Trip End Jul 10, 2011

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Where I stayed
Suites Mirasierra Pamplona
Read my review - 3/5 stars

Flag of Spain  , Navarra,
Thursday, May 5, 2011

Thursday & Friday the 5th & 6th May 2011 - The 5th May is the 30th birthday of our eldest son Steve. Happy birthday Steve!

We left Lourdes and traversed the Pryrenees for the 3rd time

arriving in Pamplona late afternoon and booked into the Sercotel Suites which are serviced apartments and about 3 km from the centre of the city. About 100 km short of our destination we had stopped and peeled off our thermals that we needed for the mountains as it was a balmy 75 degrees in the lowlands.

We wanted to visit Pamplona for one reason only, its the home of the annual Running of the Bulls festival

that we had heard about from our youth after studying the novel The Sun Also Rises by the renowned author Ernest HEMINGWAY who first visited in 1923 and wrote his famous work soon after.

We were too early for the festival and it was just as well because over 1,000,000 people flock to the city for it and accommodation is scarce and expensive.

Pamplona is the regional capital of the Navarra  province

and is best known for the annual Running of the Bulls that opens the Festival of Fermin in starting in July each year. Historically, young bulls were herded into the town by young men (no doubt fuelled by a mixture of testosterone aand alcohol) who chased the bulls to the Plaza des Toros (bull ring) for bull fighting fixtures.

Before running the young men said a prayer to St Fermin, the patron saint of Pamplona, hoping they would not be hurt or injured by the bulls, before setting off on a mad scramble with the bulls along the cobblestone route of about 1500 metres.

Because so many young men were being hurt, the city fathers banned the practice, but it continued nevertheless, forcing officials to relent and then finally condone it.

The event is reported internationally each year by the media with photos of young men being tossed in the air by enraged bulls before landing on cobblestones and if unlucky, being either gored or trampled, or both, by the galloping bulls. Many runners are injured. To be a runner you traditionally must wear a red coloured neckerchief and white shirt.

We walked the route from start to finish, then walked around the Plaza des Toros before having a refreshing drink of red wine in a bar for lunch preceded by some tasty Pringles, chips the same as ours. 

Pamplona is a clean and well layed out city, clearly centrally planned away from the old, historical section.

After a relaxing time exploring Pamplona, we head back into France for our appointment with the Le Mans MotoGP on the 15th May.

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Sandra on

Ok, how is the Ducati named Pommie Ducati, I can't figure it out? Secondly, OMG Le Mans - aaahhhh I am soooooo jealous, enjoy enjoy enjoy - loving all the photos still

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