Day 65 – Pamplona

17th June 2017

No cycling today. Again. My legs are wondering what’s happened……

OK. The Bull running thing is just part of the Festival San Fermin – which starts on the 6th of July, and attracts 1,000,000 (that’s right, folks – ONE MILLION) visitors. Thank (insert deity of choice) I’m here before that; mind you, preparations are already underway – My hotel will more than double its price over the next three weeks….

No rush this morning; got up around 8:00am, abluted, and went West out of the hotel. Breakfast at one of the many cafes – OJ, coffee, and a toasted mushroom omelette sandwich – they do amazing tapas stuff.

Two years back, Mariette, Ian and I found a fortress on the banks of the Danube, designed to be proof against explosives, artillery, bombs, etc. The Eastern edge of Pamplona has a star-shaped citadel based on the same model; massive earth banks covering everything, moats and narrow entries, designed to be killing fields – all the biz that was current in 14th Century warfare. (Nothing much changes – it must have cost a motza back then, just as “defence” costs us now. And it’s all just fuel to the war mongering companies…)

cdl

So – Pamplona had the river to the North and East, This huge citadel to the West – but oh dear; they forgot, or ran over budget for, the South. Guess where the enemies came from?

Anyhoo – the citadel is still there, untarnished – a testament to the quality of the military contractors back then.  Wish I could say the same about our umpteen billion dollar jet fighters, that can ony fly on cool days, and try to choke our pilots to death – I’m sure there’s value there though 🙂

A useless thing, realIy, as the one time it was challenged, it yielded.

There’s no museum. It’s just a huge park now. Probably the best use for it.

I’ve said before that every city is divided , or split, by some feature, and one side is OK, the other not so. the river Arga is the divisor here; North is suburbs and industry. The high ground on the South bank is the old town, and the civic centre. From the citadel I walked South, making sure my route towards San Sebastian was clear. I crossed a 12th century bridge,

brge

and walked back along the river –

nrth

I knew there were a couple of lifts back up to the old town, so no worries about the stroll – or, in my case, lurch – though I am slowly getting better at this walking business. Back into the old town, I walked the El Camino trail back to my hotel. The trail is marked by these steel discs, planted among the cobbles every 10 metres or so.

El -Camino

The El Camino is sooooo trendy; I must have seen hundreds of Japanese, Chinese, American, European and others, all with staffs, huge backpacks and other stuff, all doing the “El Camino”. or a part of it – it’s become trendy, folks – at least it provides a tourist dollar, as I’m sure there’s no god involved. They also sneer at cyclists. Not very Christian – or maybe it is….

A siesta at the hotel. Back out around 5:00pm – still hot, around 30C. Into the old town for tapas and a glass of red. Tapas is a bit of a ritual, and also luck – some places have more flies than plates of food, and staff hygiene is non-existent. Luckily, I got my immune system empowered in Albania, so I’m pretty much germ proof for now – at some personal cost, I might add; immunity ain’t cheap. I still draw the line at flies though. I found a small. quiet bar and had a few bites –  tuna and chilli, egg and mushroom, and a “vegetal” – heaps of food, washed down with a glass of red. Just one – Roger has really hit my alcohol tolerance 🙂

A last stroll through the old town, and back here by 7:00 pm.

bldgfntngfti

A short ride tomorrow; as it’s the weekend, and getting close to San Fermin, I’ve booked two nights in a pub about 40 Km North of here. I’ve got ten days to do 300 Km, so no rush.

See you down the road.

 

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