Day 11 - Spain Trip - Pamplona

Day 11
July 1, Monday

After two hours on the bus we arrived in Pamplona. It was quiet and sleepy when we arrived but bustling when we left at 1:20.

We had a walking tour by Federico who was the funniest guide we have had. He gave the kids a talk about how to drink alcohol responsibly - eat, drink and stop when you feel it, dance it out - in that order with no driving whatsoever!

Again the streets did not disappoint with their stones, colored buildings, and iron balconies around a city square. One big difference is that on select streets there are covered holes that once a year for seven days in July are uncovered and filled with square solid posts. These are the barriers for the festival of the running of the bulls.

I had no idea that it was an actual festival during which the city puts up tents, lights and decorations. The city’s population grows from 200,000 to over a million during the 7 days! They run the bulls first thing in the morning each day. Six bulls run alongside steers. The steers are used to help control the bulls that are running because the steers have been domesticated and the bulls have been trained to kill. It takes about three minutes for the bulls to run from their area through the twisty streets to the bull ring unless they break through the barriers.

Only about 1 person is killed every 10 years, but at least one person is gored each year. If you are to run with the bulls you have to look at least 18, wear closed toed shoes, and not be drunk. (Hence the responsible drinking talk from our guide). They have double barricades with the space in between being specifically for emergency personal and runners who want to get out of the way.

The festival officially begins at noon on July 6. The bulls begin running on the 7th so we witnessed the city getting ready. We were able to have a lunch of pintxos again and do a little shopping. I wore the right color today as the colors of the festival are red and white which is everywhere!

It is so interesting how the terrain and climate changes from city to city. As we drove we saw mountains being swallowed by clouds, flat arid fields, areas of rock formations jutting from the earth, and then lush green stretches. I love when we pass little villages. There is always a tall steeple stone or cement at the highest point or in the middle with all of the inhabitants scattered around that center.

Dinner was confusing. After checking into our hotel in Barcelona, we walked to a restaurant. They served us sauce and spaghetti noodles after giving us bread. We ate firsts, seconds, and some of us more! Then they brought out the main course! We were shocked and full!!

Our hotel room was so hot and we lost all water pressure while I was trying to wash Jackson’s clothes. The kids say that EF has run out of our money. I just know we had a horrible nights sleep!

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