san fermín: pamplona, navarra

It's the legendary fiesta, what people know about Spain if they know anything beyond Madrid and Barcelona. It's San Fermín, known in its 9ish day entirety as sanfermines, and it's a huge, crazy party. Commemorated and made famous by Hemingway in his awesome book The Sun Also Rises, it's known of and attended by people across the world. It's Spanish town festival meets Mardi Gras meets a bull fight meets Panama City Beach. With everyone in red and white (stained, of course with vino tinto/kalimotxo/sangria).

We attended the party this weekend, and spent 24 hours soaking up the legend. We saw the bullring, saw the wooden fences that guide the bulls in every morning at 8am for the encierro (the famed Running of the Bulls),  saw drunk people falling off of said fences....

It was touristy, and it was just what we expected, but it was also different. There were a few oases of peace  across the city, like one of my favorite tea shops from when I lived here several years ago. There was much more elbow room than we expected, and there was a general air of jollyness and a surprising feeling of safety and comradery.  All in all, it was surprisingly pleasant, much more small-town fiesta than I expected.

the gigantes, old-school parade characters representing the old royalty of the kingdom of Navarre.

descanso, with sangria and shoes off.

tables being set in the street. loitering/making party. in the grocery store.


a sea of red and white.

the morning after. French tourist takes it upon himself to help with the street cleaning.

leaving the city. agur, san fermín, hasta el año que viene!