Our next Pitstop en-route to San Sebastian was Pamplona. Famous for its annual “encierros” , better known as the ghastly, exhilarating, horrific, adrenaline-pumping “Running of the Bulls” Festival supposedly dedicated to San Fermin held every 7th -14th of July. Hmmmm! Close to my son’s birthday (July 6)! A thought bubble all of a sudden pictured my mischievous son and his friends running a mock in all white with red sashes by their waistlines as the bulls stormed behind them through old town. Only the brave and crazy would look forward to these kinds of events.
Just the pictures and descriptions from the news were enough for me to pass on the festival. I am sure, it is exciting to many, but watching bulls get coaxed as they are agitated and led to the central plaza to face their deaths is cruel. This sentiment has spread throughout the Catalan Region – omitting such “encierro” traditions in response to Animal Activists calling such festivities as inhumane.
But Pamplona is an interesting city apart from its famous festival. It is also a major stop along the Camino de Santiago, a medieval-era pilgrimage route, and home to Gothic-style churches including the fortress-like San Nicolás.
We stopped by the Old Town to have a wander around. Sans the masses of fun-loving tourists, the streets were peaceful and business was at its local pace. It was nice to explore Pamplona at its natural state – seeing how everyday life truly is there. Below are some snippets of what we had and “could haves”.