Thursday, April 18, 2013

Made it to Pamplona

After a brief and relaxing 3 hour ride on a speedy train, we arrived in Pamplona about 3 pm. We caught a cheap cab to Hotel Eslava near Church of San Lorenzo, Chapel of San Fermin and patron saint for the festival that includes "the running of the bulls". (Not until July) Again, our hotel was modest but nice and very well situated to tomorrow's start on the Camino.
Since we had not walked through town, as the pilgrims coming from St. Jean would have done, we decided to walk back through the old town. What a delight! The buildings were a couple of hundred years old and all had shops or restaurants on the ground floor. We found several that catered to pilgrims - a smart retailing move - but only found one small object we had to have - a lightweight seating pad for picnics. We walked all the way to the portal of the old wall to the city and then across the Arga River on the ancient Puente (bridge) de la Magdalena. On our walk back we saw the enormous Cathedral de Santa Maria, built during the 14th and 15th centuries, the city hall with its baroque facade and the Plaza del Castillo. It was here that we found the Cafe Iruna, with its Art Deco interior and its loose link to Hemingway (maybe ate here). We had a delicious 3 course dinner which included a bottle of red wine. No problems consuming that. Then a pleasant stroll back to the hotel at 9 while the natives headed for dinner.

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