2 posts in 2 days – I’m on fire! Well actually it’s because I have about another 3 hours left on Wifi and I want to make the most of it 🙂
Also I wanted to tell you how lovely the old part of Pamplona is. Yesterday afternoon we sat out by the van in the sunshine (it was only about 13 degrees but out of the wind it was lovely). We knew it was unlikely to get above about 4 degrees today so we put our base layers on and wrapped up warm ready for our cycle ride along the river (about 10km). (Btw, base layer bottoms seem to be like tights ladies – you need to get a size up for them to actually fit properly and be comfortable – just saying…!)
It was fairly straightforward – we only went wrong twice, once on the way there and once on the way back. Quite good for us, don’t you think?! But a really enjoyable ride alongside the Rive Ulzama on a purpose built pedestrian/cycle path. I’m not sure how keen the pedestrians are on the cyclists though – I had to use my bell quite liberally!
There were also a couple of historical sites on route. I think they both started out as paper mills.
Having driven through the outskirts yesterday Calv was pretty sceptical about what we’d find in the city, and so was pleasantly surprised when we arrived at the old city walls and locked the bikes up.
In the distance we could see snow capped mountains but in front of us were ancient buildings – don’t forget to look up whenever you visit places like this… Some of the houses were so narrow but up to 7 stories tall, all painted in different colours. It was higgledy-piggledy and absolutely full of charm 🙂 And don’t forget we were on the old city walls so there were those views too.
We were headed for Plaza de Castillo and found it quickly where we sat outside for a coffee and hot chocolate. Only they didn’t have hot chocolate so I had a glass of wine instead, oops… This is where Calv stripped down to his t-shirt and got some funny looks – everyone was well wrapped up as it was actually only about 4 degrees! Hey, the sun was out 🙂
We then headed off to find somewhere to eat and found somewhere with a 16 euro 3 course menu – which was actually really good. We also met an American couple who are actually living in Pamplona for a while and gave us some good tips. Hi Jim and Kristen – hope the filming goes well, don’t forget to send us a link!
We then wandered some more and saw the bullring – unfortunately not open. Also not as impressive as the one I saw in Madrid years ago – in fact Calv thought it was the post office when we first saw it! We then wandered the narrow streets that are used in the famous bullruns that are part of the San Fermin festival, before coming across the cathedral, which looks much newer than it is from the façade (1799). The main area is actually Gothic with buildings dating back to the 1400s. Well worth a visit at 5 euros each.
We would thoroughly recommend a visit to Pamplona and would definitely return if the opportunity arose (as we know we’ve only seen a fraction of what there is to see).
Our route back to the bikes took us down an ancient street. I’ve included the explanation plaque here as I found it quite interesting.
So we’re shattered now, but on the plus side we don’t need to cook any tea – maybe some beans on toast later 🙂
We’re moving on tomorrow. We’ve found our likely next site, which is a bit further than we were expecting to go but looks lovely. It’s at a place called Savinan, west of Zaragoza. We were panicking a bit as we were struggling to find anywhere, but we’ve also found where we’d like to go after Savinan (which is a place to the west of Valencia – so we’re getting closer and closer to the coast).
Also, we ran out of teabags yesterday and just had our 1st cup with the best we could get here. Yeah – yuck; weak as. Luckily we only bought a small box!
Take care – see you soon x