Sunday In Pamplona


Encierro (Running of the Bulls) Monument
Encierro (Running of the Bulls) Monument

This is an email I sent to friends and family a year ago April that I just re-read today. Thought it would make a good post with some photos and a little editing:

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Breakfast at a cafeteria 50 m from our Pension Arrieta.

Also found the bus station (for tomorrow’s departure to Órbigo) 3 minutes walk from our door.

Viewed the mountains from the fortified lookout: El Rincón del Caballo Blanco:

Took in high mass (missa capitular) at Santa María Cathedral. Surprised that the Latin Gloria was still stored in my brain cells. Beautiful pipe organ :))) Great singing if you’re OK with all men’s voices. Unparalleled setting.

Presbytery - Pamplona Cathedral
Presbytery – Pamplona Cathedral (on Saturday

Met Jesús and Pinte outside the cathedral while looking at our map to find the beginning of the San Fermin bull run route. Jesús was dressed in black with the classic large black beret worn by Basques here. They assumed we needed serious help (we didn’t) and walked us to the Coralillos where 6 fierce and 6 less fierce bulls are corralled prior to the run. Continue reading “Sunday In Pamplona”


Ronda the Beautiful

Bernese and owner
Bernese and owner – both beautiful…

On April 9, 2011 we set out from Sanlúcar de Barrameda, not on Rick Steves’ list, but one of my favorite towns in Spain. Our destination was the historic cliffside town, Ronda, famed for its style, its bullring (“the largest and most interesting in Spain”), its gorge and its women. The above photo, taken in Ronda, is of a foreign woman from Northern Europe, judging by her accent. I didn’t get her name, but it was very likely not Ronda or even Rhonda. I stopped her mainly to take a photo of her dog, a beautiful Bernese, explaining that our friends in Kitchener are Bernese owners and go nuts over any of these big, lovely mountain dogs. I think she believed me… I’m not sure Anita did, but the rest of our day went marvelously.

Ronda’s most famous matador was Pedro Romero Martinez, who was the first bullfighter to develop it as an art form. His statue is in Ronda’s Alameda del Tajo park.

Every year since 1954, fourteen Ronda ladies are chosen to be the official representatives of the city.

No. Not Pedro. This statue honours Las Damas Goyescas, a Ronda tradition since 1954. Every year 14 Ronda women are chosen to represent the city officially at all important functions. Many of them, like the one represented in this statue opposite Pedro’s, are gorgeous.

We stayed one night at the Hotel Reina Victoria, Ernest Hemingway’s favorite place in Ronda. They gave us a corner suite with a balcony overlooking the deep valley. We bought local fare and dined on our balcony.

On the way to Ronda we stopped at Zahara, a “radiant” hillside town of unparalleled beauty, marred only by two of the smallest WC’s in the world. The first two gallery photos are of Zahara, which is on Spain’s Ruta de los Almorávides y Almohades, named after the two strict sects of Islam who came as mercenaries from North Africa and stayed. Their presence began the decline of Andalusía’s golden age, when its Islamic civilization, based in Córdova, was the most enlightened in all of Europe. Why this name choice for the tourist route? Beats me.