On the Camino de Santiago in Pamplona, Spain

January 5, 2012 — 2 Comments

Pamplona, the capital city of Navarra, is probably best known to foreigners for the Running of the Bulls during the San Fermin Festival every July. The city was founded by the Romans in the first century BC, written about passionately by Hemingway, and in possession of a rich Spanish and Basque history. It had been the site of many battles and wars – fought or held by Romans, Basques, Moors, Franks, and various monarchs. As with other cities, Charlemagne also destroyed the city walls, pissing off the Basques even further… We walked the same streets that were home to the Running of the Bulls, but on this day, there were no bulls to be seen, only crowds of people. From Page 42, Camino de Santiago In 20 Days.

Now, I’ll continue my journey on the Camino de Santiago. If you have my book, I’m in the chapter, Day 2: The Bed Shook Like an Earthquake Rolling Through the Hills of Navarra. Even if you don’t have my book, you can still enjoy this post, and learn more about walking the French Way or Camino Francés (map from Wikipedia Commons).

On my last post, On the Camino de Santiago in Spain, Zubiri to Pamplona, I showed a wonderful stone bridge in Larrasoaña, but the Magdalena Bridge was even more interesting. According to the adjacent sign, there are four medieval bridges that cross the Arga in Pamplona, and this is the most important. It has arches, called “labels,” cut-away inside the supports. This bridge resembles a grander one that I would encounter on the next day in Puente la Reina.

The Magdalena Bridge.

Photo of the Magdalena Bridge, Río Arga, Pamplona, Spain, Camino de Santiago, The French Way

The stone cross or cruceiro, bearing an image of St. James, stood in front of the Magdalena Bridge. According to the adjacent sign, it was likely built in the sixteenth century.

Photo of a Cruceiro near Magdalena Bridge, Pamplona, Spain, Camino de Santiago, The French Way

 

Arga River Park, situated across the Magdalena Bridge.

Photo of Arga River Park in Pamplona, Spain, Camino de Santiago, The French Way

 

The imposing city walls or ramparts were constructed in 1512 to help defend Pamplona from the French. Here, they protect the holy part of the old city. 

Photo of the old City Walls in Pamplona, Spain, Camino de Santiago, The French Way

 

At the French Gate, Portal de Francia, which leads to the old city of Pamplona.

Photo of The French Gate, Portal de Francia, Pamplona, Spain, Camino de Santiago, The French Way

 

Through another portal onto the Calle del Carmen.

Photo of Portal before Calle Carmen and the old town of Pamplona, Spain, Camino de Santiago, The French Way

 

I had long anticipated visiting Pamplona, the first city on the French Way.

Photo of the Calle Carmen in the old City of Pamplona, Spain, Camino de Santiago, the French Way

 

The Calle del Carmen was quiet to start but had more people around the central area of the old city.

Photo of the old city of Pamplona, Spain, Camino de Santiago, The French Way

 

These streets are famous for the Running of the Bulls.

Photo of the Calle Carmen in the old City of Pamplona, Spain, Camino de Santiago, the French Way

 

Fountains of various styles, sizes, and ages were found in most of the villages, towns, and cities. However, some were not working or the water was not drinkable or non-potable. I believe this one was fine.

Photo of A fountain in the old city of Pamplona, Spain, Camino de Santiago, The French Way

 

The eighteenth century Pamplona Town Hall, a fine example of Baroque civil architecture. The Euro Residents website’s Guide to Pamplona states: “The San Fermines fiestas begin here with the famous ‘chupinazo’ (loud firework) which is set off here in front of crowds of people who fill the square in front of the town hall.”

Photo of Pamplona Town Hall, Spain, Camino de Santiago, The French Way

 Photo of Pamplona Town Hall Spain, Camino de Santiago, The French Way

 

Near the town hall, this colorful building consisted of a Farmacia and a home.

Photo of a colorful Farmacia and home, Pamplona, Spain, Camino de Santiago, The French Way

 

I followed the Camino through the old city, across the Calle de la Taconera, to the Portal de San Nicolás, at the entrance to the Parque de la Taconera. If I read the sign correctly, the portal was originally built the in 1666 but reconstructed in 1929.

Photo of Portal de San Nicolás, Pamplona, Spain, Camino de Santiago, The French Way

 

The gardens of the Parque de la Taconera.

Photo ofhoto of Statue and flowers, Parque de la Taconera, Pamplona, Spain, Camino de Santiago

 Image of Statue and flowers, Parque de la Taconera, Pamplona, Spain, Camino de Santiago

Photo of Flowers in the Parque de la Taconera, Pamplona, Spain, Camino de Santiago, The French Way

 

The Plaza del Castillo is the main square in the city, and is surrounded by many grand buildings dating back to the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. It’s known as a meeting place for tourists and residents of Pamplona, and long ago, hosted bull fights.

Photo of the Plaza del Castillo, Grandstand, Pamplona, Spain, Camino de Santiago, The French Way

 

 This building was at the edge of the plaza.

Photo of the colorful building in the Plaza del Castillo, Pamplona, Spain, Camino de Santiago, The French Way

 

According to the Council of Pamplona, Sculptures in the City web page, the Monument to the Fueros was designed by the Pamplona-born, modernist architect Manuel Martínez de Ubago, and built in 1903.

Photo of the Monument to the Fueros, 1903, Pamplona, Spain, Camino de Santiago, The French Way

 

 The sculpture is located just southwest of the Plaza del Castillo.

Photo of the Monument to the Fueros, 1903, Pamplona, Spain, Camino de Santiago, The French Way

 

The intricate stone carving of the façade of a nearby building.

Photo of a building Facade and stone carvings, Pamplona, Spain, Camino de Santiago, The French Way

 

Back on the Camino, past the Parque de la Taconera, and to the Parque Vuelta del Castillo. It was more open, with lawns and scattered trees.

Photo of Parque Vuelta del Castillo, Pamplona, Spain, Camino de Santiago, The French Way

 

This ancient cruceiro stood on the grounds of the University of Navarra.

I hope you enjoyed my visit to the city of Pamplona. One year, I’ll return in July for the San Fermin Festival. On my next post,  ON THE CAMINO DE SANTIAGO: PAMPLONA TO UTERGA, SPAIN, I’ll walk through bright green farmland, see ruins of buildings and hamlets, stop for a moment to give respect for a fallen pilgrim, and then, with a storm approaching, climb to the Alto del Perdón. Please join me.

If you have my book, Camino de Santiago In 20 Days, or have ordered it, I really appreciate your support. It’s also out on Kindle. My Goodreads page has reviews and more information. Please share this post, and thanks for your time.


About Randall St. Germain

Randall St. Germain, author of Camino de Santiago In 20 Days, is a middle-aged Canadian Boy who is passionate about nature, photography, hiking, music, and self-improvement. After the death of his mother, he chose to walk the famous pilgrimage, the Camino de Santiago, across the north of Spain, despite knowing little about it. He certainly didn’t plan to write a book until the latter days of his Camino. Similar to walking the Camino, writing and publishing a book was a learning experience. It was also very rewarding, and part of his ongoing journey. Please join him as he takes you along on his journey in Camino de Santiago In 20 Days, and on his blog Camino My Way.

2 responses to On the Camino de Santiago in Pamplona, Spain

  1. Did you happen to notice the wonderful door knockers particularly in Pamplona? They are the “Hand of Fatima” – and we would have loved to bring one home, but as hard as we could look, couldn’t find one to purchase. I wonder why that is?

    • Thanks for the information. I didn’t realize the name, “Hand of Fatima.” Actually, I noticed the door knockers in Pamplona but I must admit, I studied them more in the villages on the following day. There was a hand, door knocker that I referred to in my book. In Pamplona, I was in such awe of the architecture. I do have some photos of the doors, as I also admire entranceways.

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