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Finding magic under the stars of the Camino Santiago de Compostela

Monday, November 16, 2015

There's More To Pamplona Than Bulls

Pilgrims often rush through Pamplona, 
hurried to get a bed on the next stage of their pilgrimage.

Also known as Iruña, 
this old fortress city is said to have been founded 
by the Roman general Pompey. 
In the 9th century it became the capital of Navarra. 

May I suggest you take a day of rest here; 
a day to explore this wonderful city?
There is much to see and do here. 

The walk into the city is interesting. 
You will pass many houses covered in decoration 
associated with Santiago and the Camino.

You will walk over the bridge Magdalena, 
over a drawbridge, and through the impressive city walls.

From those walls, you can see the entire city.  
Look for the Cathedral, built in ocher-colored stone.
It was built on the foundations of a 12th century predecessor; 
it has twin towers and an 18th century facade. 

Inside there is beautiful religious art.

Near the Plaza del Castillo 
you will find the Baroque Palacio de Navarra. 
Entrance is free!

There are many wonderful bars and restaurants in Pamplona. 
Pull up a seat and have some wine and try some tapas. 
I love albondigas, banderillas, and patatas bravas, 
which have a lovely sauce 
whose ingredients vary from town to town. 

You don't need to speak Spanish to order tapas! 
If you see something that looks good, just point to it to order! 
Pay attention to the price! 
A tapa is a single serving. 
A ración will serve two or three people. 
You can eat your tapas standing or pay to have a table, 
the choice is yours!

Strolling through Pamplona, you can see calle Santo Domingo 
where the bulls begin their run during the Fiesta of San Fermin.  

 You can visit the famous Gran Hotel La Perla 
on the corner of the Plaza del Castilla. 
This was Hemingway's favorite hotel 
and is referred to in the novel "La Montoya." 
His favorite room was No. 217, now No. 201. 
The hotel was recently  completed renovated and reopened. 

One of my favorite stops on my last Camino 
was the Museum of Navarre. 
It contains archaeological and artistic collections 
related to Navarra from the prehistoric to the present. 
The building became a museum in 1956, 4 years after I was born! 
It was originally a hospital of Our Lady of Mercy.   

Today, over the doors is a motto: “To Make The Past Present.” 
There are four floors. 
Outside you will find a garden overlooking 
the ramparts of the ancient citadel 
where there are displays of mosaics and archaeological ruins.

Displays include capitals from the ancient Romanesque Cathedral of Pamplona, Gothic scultpures, medieval silverwork, Baroque, 19th and 20th century works of art. There are works by Goya, Ciga, and Basiano, Caro, Oteiza, Royo, Salaberri, Aquerreta, and Manterola.

There is a place to check your mochila and your raincoat for free, if you have not left them at the albergue. There are guided tours available, but I enjoy this museum moving at my own speed.
Address: Calle Cuesta Santo Domingo, s/n
Opening hours: Summer 2011: Tuesday – Saturday:  9:30-14:00 and  17:00-19:00. Sundays and Holidays: 11:00 a 14:00. Closed Mondays.
Price: 2€. Discounts for groups. FREE on Saturday afternoons and Sundays
Telephones: 848426492 - 848426498 

If the municipal albergue will not allow you two nights in Pamplona, consider staying at Albergue Casa Paderborn at Playa de Caparroso, #6, near the river. I enjoy this little hostel with it's clean rooms and nice picnic area. They serve a very nice breakfast in the common room. They also have a washer and dryer, for those who aren't ready to do their laundry by hand.

I hope this quick overview has encouraged you to take a rest stop in Pamplona! If you have been there, and have something to add, 
please leave comments for other readers.

Buen Camino!

Note:  If you would love to walk the Camino Santiago, 
but are not quite ready to go it alone, 
consider joining Annie
on one of our small, affordable Camino walks. 
For more information see our website 
at this link: AnnieWalkers Camino

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