Day 4

Exploring Pamplona and the Running of the Bulls

Day 4 launched with a guided tour diving deep into the history of Pamplona and the running of the bulls. We toured the Cathedral of Pamplona, a private museum dedicated to the running of the bulls, and lunched at Jarauta 79, a private men’s gastro club.

Hanging out with Earnest Hemming
way in his favorite bar in Pamplona
Hanging out with Hemmingway

By now, we were highly familiar with the members in our group. The strong comradery and bonding really makes the tour more enjoyable. If you are considering taking a tour, we recommend getting to know the different members in the group. The apprehension mentioned in our Day 1 post was mitigated just by friendly conversation. Having an open mind and open conversations, along with lots of wine and food, can help create this bond. You may even make long terms friends!

A guided tour of Pamplona kicked off the day after breakfast. The main theme of the tour was, of course, the running of the bulls. This is a yearly event, 6 bulls run rampant though a guided path in Pamplona. The people of Pamplona are proud of the running of the bulls event. It is what brought this city it’s fame, along with Ernest Hemmingway, who fell in love with this city.

Encierro, running of the bulls monument in Pamplona

The Cathedral of Pamplona

I highly recommend entering the Cathedral of Pamplona. This is a mainly gothic style Roman Catholic church with significant importance to the city of Pamplona. Inside are the tombs of King Charles III “the Noble” of Navarre (d. 1425) and Queen Eleanor of Castile (d. circa 1415) from the late fifteenth century. Their tomb showcases both King Charles and Queen Eleanor, surrounded by two dogs at Eleanor’s feet and two lions at Charles’s feet.

Running of the Bulls Private Museum

Mari Carmen gave us a treat when she opened the doors to her private home museum dedicated to the running of the bulls. Set on the second floor overlooking the path of the running of the bulls, this museum contains a large collection of memorabilia dedicated to the event. Started by her husband, the collection began when individuals—ranging from matadors, family of matadors, and others—donated items to him. He even created a replica of the stadium where the run ends and the bull fighting begins.

Despite its controversial nature, bull fighting is a proud and well-established event within Spain, in particular in the Basque region. Bull fighters are celebrities among the Basqueros. Families fill the stadium to see these events, especially after the running of the bulls. It was a great honor to have Mari explain her collection and see her pride shine through each of the items within her museum. The museum tour concluded with some tapas and wine! Making the experience even more enjoyable.

  • Inside the running of the bulls museum
  • Arena where the running of the bulls concludes and the bull fighting begins in Pamplona
  • Running of the bulls museum in Pamplona
  • Running of the bulls items inside the museum
  • The balcony of the museum overlooking the street where the running of the bulls takes place in Pamplona
  • Standing on the balcony of the museum overlooking the street where the running of the bulls takes place in Pamplona

Lunch at Jarauta 79, a private men’s gastro club

All over the Basque region, in particular in the Spain part, there are private men’s gastro clubs scattered throughout. Women are allowed, only if invited. The idea is men gather, cook a meal, share the meal, and enjoy each other’s company. Jarauta 79 invited all of us to join in for a lunch at their quite interesting location.

Within the basement of their club, two long tables were nestled within a cave like atmosphere. The smell of our forthcoming meal filled these caves, and two members emerged and introduced themselves to us. These individuals have other jobs, barber and police officer, so we were grateful for them taking time out of their day to make sure we have a delicious meal. Per tradition, it is their honor to feed us, and they sure did ensure we had plenty to drink with their open bar policy. Cidra, beer, wine, and spirits flowed as the members served us a delicious meal!

You can see the pride in their eyes as we tasted their cuisine. This was a culinary highlight in our trip. The atmosphere made it special. The meal was delicious. The open bar, well, we took full advantage of! I even got to impress some individuals in our group with my bartending skills!

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