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Published: October 9th 2014
Pamplona in Spain 6 and 7 October 2014
Oh the adventures of travelling. From Bordeaux, we could only book the train to Irun (which is a town just south of the Span/France border) and not to San Sebastian, so after the 2 1/2 hour journey to Irun, we caught a local train to San Sebastian. On the train, we met an Australian girl in her 30s and a couple about our age so we stayed together to change trains.
As soon as we got to San Sebastian station we said our goodbyes and Tom & I hopped into a taxi to the San Sebastian airport where we were going to pick up our hire-car. While we were driving along in the Taxi, I said to Tom, "we are heading back towards Irun". The taxi driver kept driving and we got closer and closer to Irun (seen by the road signs). We were about 1 km from Irun and we arrived at the San Sebastian airport!!! There was one vital question I didn't ask anyone - how close is Irun to the San Sebastian airport? It turns out that we were 1/2 km from the airport when we arrived at
the Irun train station. Our train ticket to San Sebastian from Irun cost 1.70 Euros and our taxi fare back to San Sebastian Airport (ie Irun) cost 35 Euros. How funny was that?
Anyway, at the airport, our car was waiting for us so after all the paperwork was done, we headed for Pamplona which was about 100km SE of Irun and a fantastic highway. The area was mountainous and quite scenic.
Finding our hotel with ease (and it was an excellent hotel) and after settling in, we went for a walk finding that a the Plaza de Toros (the bull ring) were the bulls run into at the end of the Running with the Bulls event. This was the reason I wanted to go to Pamplona. Last year I wanted to run with the bulls but our travel direction just didn't get us to Pamplona at the right time of the year, during the 2nd week of July (we were in Croatia). Anyway, I ran down the ramp towards the Plaza de Toros red doors, pretending the bulls were behind me!!!!! Oh well, that's the closest I get.
We then followed the path through the
streets of Pamplona, where the bulls actually run. Oh my gosh, some of the streets are narrow. There were quite a few photos of the event being displayed outside bars etc. We tried to imagine what it would be like. All good fun!
Pamplona citadel, which was built in the shape of a pentagon under the rule of King Philip II with the idea of making Pamplona one of Spain's northern bastions, is very well kept and one of the best examples of a Renaissance's fortification in Europe. Surrounded by a massive park, nowadays its interior holds art exhibitions and occasional cultural events, especially during the summer months.
Pamplona, a city originally confined in its medieval walls from the middle ages to modern times, finally decided to open up in the early 20th century. Some walls were demolished to make space for new broad avenues and neighbourhoods. However, Pamplona has made a great effort to keep the vast majority of its walls and history leaving quite a few unusually designed walls. We walked along them as well as through the beautiful medieval city centre, and several of their big parks and gardens. The Arga River runs through the
city giving the town even more 'personality'.
We loved walking through the city's wide avenues, admiring the very big 'running with the bulls' statue.
After a good sleep, we went for another walk along a few more streets before packing up and heading for San Sebastian.
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