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…)
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,
and walked back along the river –
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.
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.
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.