Sept. 10, 2022 – Pamplona – Spain and Portugal

We arrived in Pamplona after a lovely one hour bus ride through the rolling hills.

We arrived in the town and soon were settled in at The Three Kings Hotel. We are situated right in the old town.

We walked into the old town and saw the lovely apartments stacked tightly together with with their different facades and balconies, some with potted plants situated on the deck or railings. It is picturesque place to say the least.

The streets are narrow in the old town and are partially shaded by the five or six story tall buildings. There is shade on one side or the other of the narrow lanes depending on what time of day it is.

We were gathered together at the town hall and could see the many shops and stores all around us. We were then taken down to where the bulls arrive for the market and saw were they are released for the “running of the bulls.”

This is where they used to come to the town market for sale.

Cows return year after year and lead the bulls to the arena at the end of the run. Spectators line the way behind ropes set up to contain the them on the day of the run.

There are permanent holes in the cobblestone pavement for the the poles that hold the ropes. It is all very well organized. The bulls do not return. They have full filled their purpose in the arena by the end of the day.

Some would say that it is cruel, this bullfighting nonsense, but wait. Do you eat meat? At least here the bulls get a fighting chance to survive in the bull ring and don’t simply have a pneumatic powered spike driven into their brain.

No one runs the entire length of the run. That would be suicide. The bulls run very fast and you could never keep up the pace. You choose the length of the run that you want to run from and to and have your escape point picked out before you even begin.

Our local tour guide has run this “race” many times and pointed out the corner where many of the bulls slip and fall on their way to the arena. He uses a corner much like this one to escape the bulls during the run when he has had enough. He simply stands up close to the wall as the bulls run by him, intent on following the cows. Some things never change. He was here to tell his tale so his method does seem to be successful.

I think I will come back to run when in am a little older. Maybe when I am seventy-five. Yes, that sounds like the proper time at the moment. I may rethink that as time passes.

Soon a large group of social clubs are walking and dancing their way down one of the many small avenues with their bands playing. Several people are under large figures of giant saints and folk heroes passing by us to the sound of music.

It was an interesting sight and indicative of the culture here in Spain. We have seen this before on our other trips to the Costal Del Sol and other areas. Part of those celebrations back then were for the independence of Catalonia, one of the states of Spain.

Sadly, I see the younger people in the different states of Spain looking for independence and can’t help but wonder where this will lead. The results will be the same, I fear.

Our hotel is modern with fine rooms and amenities. All of our hotels have been very nice if not as modern as this one. If everything was the same as at home, why would we travel. We don’t mind “roughing it” but so far we haven’t had to.

The weather is slightly warmer here but still very pleasant and with a soft breeze.

We are off on a bus ride tomorrow, I think.

I am on holiday and pay little attention to our daily plans. My wife is in charge of that and keeping me on track.

Someone has to pay attention to the details, after all. I am not difficult to manage, though I like to read all of the historic plaques around me and get a sense of the history of where I am.

My wife is very organized and we are never late at our meeting point each morning. That is rude and unacceptable.

She is very good at managing and I couldn’t change that even if I wanted to, which I don’t. More tomorrow.

Don’t forget to have a look at the first chapters of my novels here on my website.

Thanks as always, R.C. Hand.