Ever since I first read Ernest Hemingway‘s “Sun Also Rises” as a schoolboy, I have been fascinated by the July feria in Pamplona. I have been devoted to Hemingway and his writing since encountering the Nick Adam Stories.When I finally I got to Pamplona in 2005, it was only for a quick look and ‘running with the bulls‘ by then had become an impossible dream.
Reading Michael Palin‘s exploits in Pamplona in his excellent ‘Hemingway Adventure‘ this week brought back memories of that trip. I was tasting wine in Rioja and Navarra with the Harrogate Medical Wine
Society and drove to Pamplona from our base, the parador in Olite. I started my own ‘Hemingway Adventure’ in Pamplona at the corral at the edge of town where the fighting bulls were kept before the encierro. It now doubles as a car park. I walked uphill along the narrow cobbled street with the statue of San Fermin to
Town Hall Square and on to Paseo Hemingway with the granite statue of the writer in front of the bull ring. La Perla, one of the hotels Hemingway often used on his visits to pamplona is in the corner of Plaza del Castillo. The manager was happy to let me go upstairs to see the small and simple room 217 where Hemingway slept and I could see Calle Estafeta, a part of the bull run, from the balcony. The salon downstairs has the portrait of the bullfighter Lalo Moreno, the hotel owners brother, flanked by two bull’s heads. Cafe Iruna where Hemingway used to drink absinthe with friends is only a few yards away through the arcade and I leaned against the bar and drank a cool beer. It was a hot day. I felt happy and contented.