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Pamplona – a City Getting Ready to Party

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Pamplona, here I finally was. What had originally started as a random twitter chat with Jeannie from Nomadic Chick, had finally come to this.

I was in Pamplona and the San Fermin festival was about to start in sixteen hours.

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But first things first; I had to find my accommodation.

This was basically a flat of a friend of a friend of a friend kind of thing, as obviously staying in a hostel for the San Fermin festival would just be too easy. And by that I mean I was way too late to book anything. Forward planning again hadn’t been my strong point.

My new flat was central; and as I later found out, it was actually right in the middle of the party. My flatmates were awesome; and one of them gave me a tour of the surrounding area before she headed off for work.

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There was a definite waiting feeling in the air. The city was getting ready for something. It was getting ready for the festival of San Fermin, which of course is famous for the running of the bulls and the 24h partying that goes on for the whole festival from the 6th of July until the 14th.

I wasn’t quite sure what to expect.

So I just wandered around. They were setting up stages in the various plazas; some of the fences for the bull run had already been set up; and some shops were in the process of boarding up their store fronts for the duration of the festival, especially if they happened to be on the bull run route.

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Some places were doing the opposite, like the bar in front of my flat. I found that they were actually removing their doors, which to me at the time seemed a bit weird, but later made sense.

Plenty of shops were selling the San Fermin gear and business was good. So I also went in and got my San Fermin outfit, which basically is white clothes with a red sash and a red scarf. As obviously white clothes are great for partying!

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Later I met Jeannie and also Mark, a photographer and travel writer who also runs the Parallel Worlds Blog. Mark was our insider into the San Fermin festival as he’s been to 17 of them and done 50 bull runs!

If you are going to do something stupid, like running with the bulls, it’s best to at least get expert advice for it!

We started in the Caballo Blanco (the white horse) where Hemingway used to hang out, but then again, I think Hemingway used to hang out in almost every bar and pub in Pamplona. Probably even in the ones that have been established after his death.

Few gin and tonics (best in town) got us on the way and into Plaza de Castillo; the main plaza in Pamplona. There we sampled some more of Hemingway’s old places and tried some Patxaran, which is a kind of a liquor, of which I have mixed feelings about. It was actually quite good, but not sure if I want to ever drink it again, but it’s definitely worth the try!

Quite a few people had turned up already, but apparently it wasn’t until tomorrow that the party would get properly started – apparently.

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I thought there were already quite a lot people around, but oh boy was I wrong.

I hadn’t seen anything yet!

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Have you been to San Fermin? Would you go?


  1. Are you going to be running with the bulls yourself? Make sure to do plenty of leg stretches, you don’t want your quads tightening up with a 2,000 pound bull running after you.
    Lawrence Michaels recently posted..Phromthep Cape RestaurantMy Profile

    • Yeah, I did indeed, it was good fun! Post of that coming later 😉

  2. Arriving tomorrow! Can’t wait. Will you still be about?
    Cole @ Four Jandals recently posted..Guest Post – Visiting Ljublijana and Lake BledMy Profile

    • No, had to leave unfortunately yesterday evening :( It was crazy there! Huge crowds, big parties, good music, plenty to see, and the bull running was such a blast! I want to go back already! So you think of running with the bulls?

  3. Wow! That looks really cool! I bet you have had such a great time there! That place must have such a great atmosphere, your shots are really nice!

    • Thanks, yeah I had fun; great atmosphere

  4. Thanks for sharing the photo of the businesses boarding up their spot. It’s one of those mundane things which you don’t think of it and take for granted, but it makes total sense! I would’ve bought one of those wine skins. I would’ve never used it but it looks so cute! I imagine it’d be great to take on a hiking trip!
    Christine | Grrrl Traveler recently posted..Feeding a Korean drama addiction: Hallyu’s Seo Ji-Seok in HawaiiMy Profile

    • Yeah, I found it quite interesting that so many places closed for the festival, but I can understand after seeing the festival, it’s just impossible to conduct normal business while it’s going on. Yeah I thought of getting a wine skin for myself, but figured I wouldn’t really use it that much. It was handy for a festival thou, a friend had one, it was good to keep it full of sangria.

  5. Hey Jarmo, It’s cool but I think the running of the bulls is dangerous. It was enjoyable for me but after spent 2 weeks in hospital I can realize that this type crazy events are not for me.


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