Traveling the world, learning languages, and immersing myself in new cultures.

Friday, May 19, 2017

The Best and Worst of Pamplona

So, I've been living in Pamplona for two and half years, and I can now say I understand what makes the city so great... and not so great. I have chosen to omit things that can be found anywhere in Spain, like bureaucracy and sense of time. Here is my list of the top and bottom, the coolest and lamest, the best and worst of Pamplona.

First is the worst

The weather - I lived in Belgium for almost five years so I know a thing or two about crappy weather. Then, when I decided to move to Spain I had the stereotypical image of sun and beaches all year long. Yeah, that doesn't apply to northern Spain. There is even a local saying to keep your jackets on until the 40th of May. However, it goes beyond that, since last year on the first day of San Fermin (July 6) it rained and was quite chilly. Just two days ago it was 28 degrees, and today is down to 8 degrees. The weather crazy here.

Transportation to and from Pamplona - Despite attracting millions of people every year from the Camino de Santiago (James' Way) and San Fermin, plus being the capital of Navarra, Pamplona has the worst transportation connection. The airport that has two flights a day, and only within Spain. The train station is not a major hub, and one must make a connection in Vitoria, when traveling east, and Zaragoza, when traveling anywhere else. On top of these connection inconveniences, it is also not cheap. 
How Pamplona is connected to the outside world
How Pamplona is connected to the outside world

Second is the best

Pintxos - The food is good everywhere in Spain, but only Navarra and Pais Vasco have pinchos. Only have 2€? No problem, you get a pintxo and a drink! There are so many creative and delicious variations that you can never get tired of them. They are called "pinchos" because many of them are pinchado ("punctured") and pinned to a piece of bread with a large toothpick. If you haven't noticed, it is pintxo or pincho.

The people - The Spanish have a reputation for being very friendly and relaxed. Within Spain, the northerners are considered the most closed of the Spanish (which is still way more open than most every other country), however I find that the Pamploneses are quite agreeable. Maybe they appreciate my sincere desire to embrace their culture, speak their language, and immerse myself in their domain. Or maybe I am super awesome and everybody loves me. Yeah, most likely it's that. 

San Fermin - You knew this was coming. You can't mention Pamplona and not talk about San Fermin. If you didn't click the link above, read about my first San Fermin here. The fiesta, the atmosphere, the celebration, the insert-any-fun-related-adjective-here. It's the only festival that I know of that is adults-only and for families, at the same time. The multitudes, from every corner of the globe, adorned in white and red and looking to have a good time. It is definitely something you should attend, at least once in your life.

With the late, great, Julen Madina, who taught me to run with the bulls
With the late, great, Julen Madina, who taught me to run with the bulls

What do you think?

Do you agree with me? For those who are from Pamplona, or have lived/visited Pamplona, what would you add? Let me know in the comments!
Location: Pamplona, Navarre, Spain


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