FUN-photos: Northern Spain 2012

September 13, 2012 by · Comments Off on FUN-photos: Northern Spain 2012 

Here are some of our favorite pictures from the first portion of our trip. We drove from Barcelona to SOS Del Rey Catolíco, then to Pamplona for the Running of the Bulls, then Hondarribia, San Sebastian, Bilboa, Cangas de Onís, Santiago de Compostela, Salamanca, Ávila, Segovia, Sigüenza and Alcaníz before heading back to Barcelona to catch our cruise ship.

FUN-travel: Northern Spain – Pamplona to Hondarribia, Spain

July 18, 2012 by · Comments Off on FUN-travel: Northern Spain – Pamplona to Hondarribia, Spain 

Day 7 – Monday, July 16 – Pamplona to Hondarribia, (near San Sebastian) Spain

View from Parador


Old Quarter

  • good cappuccino @ hotel only 1.5 Euro (same price as house wine)
  • driving to Hondarribia only takes 1 hour
  • GPS & road atlas to takes us
  • nice, helpful woman in dress shop writes down directions to Parador
  • beautiful old 12th century castle sits high on the hill overlooking the bay and town
  • takes 30 minutes to walk around the old quarter
  • nice lunch recommended by front desk @ Danontzat – 35 Euros – fresh salad & rice w/vegetables – wonderful wine Novellum de Toro
  • nice nap before going to San Sebastian
  • direct bus only takes 25 minutes and costs 2.25 pp
  • meet up Mariana – travel agent from GSincoming we booked the Balcony & Bull Fight with in Pamplona & new friends we met in Pamplona – Susan & Jay live in Bay Area
  • go on “Tapas & Wine Crawl” – 6 different entree tapas & one dessert – really, really good!
  • having FUN walking around & eating little bits & good red wine


  • GPS can’t find our Parador because our reservation name & the name of Parador are different
  • GPS can’t find it even with the address programmed – has us going in circles 2 blocks away
  • TI closed from 1:30 – 3:30
  • no bus after 9 pm
  • taxi costs 30 Euro & he can’t find parador either – only been a taxi driver for 2 weeks

Tapas & Wine Crawl

FF (FUN-fact) – The Basque Region of Spain is the “Paris of Spain.” Lots of balconies and very cute, well maintained buildings.

FUN-travel: Northern Spain – Pamplona & Olite, Spain

July 17, 2012 by · Comments Off on FUN-travel: Northern Spain – Pamplona & Olite, Spain 

Day 6 – Sunday, July 15 – Pamplona, Spain

Too Much FUN in Pamplona


Olite City Center

  • good hot strong coffee @ McDonald’s across the street is only 1 Euro
  • having a nice relaxing day
  • short drive to Olite – cute medieval town with nice big Royal Palace – built 1402
  • “Goldilocks’ Weather” – not too hot & not too cold
  • found nice Italian restaurant across street – Tagliatella
  • picked house specialties – really thin crust pizza & salad – only 36 Euro with wine


  • weather turned quite cool – mid 60’s over the weekend
  • eating late – restaurant opened @ 8:30 pm

Royal Palace

FF (FUN-fact) – Pamplona wins a perfect 10 and a Gold Medal in our Travel  Olympics!

FUN-travel: Northern Spain – Pamplona – Running of the Bulls – last day

July 15, 2012 by · Comments Off on FUN-travel: Northern Spain – Pamplona – Running of the Bulls – last day 

Day 5 – Saturday, July 14 – Pamplona, Spain – Running of the Bulls – last day

Dead Man’s Curve


  • having reserved a balcony on the corner (aka dead man’s curve) @ the beginning of the race
  • all senses are fully engaged & on high alert
  • being totally  in the moment
  • experiencing the cultural & customs of other countries
  • seeing my first bull fight – the beauty & grace of the matadors
  • no security or bag checks at the bull ring
  • finding locals restaurant (Cafe de la Plaza)
  • having nice big fresh salad and mushroom risotto – yummy!
  • best meal yet & only 34 Euros including wine!


  • not getting my wakeup call @ 5 am
  • flying out of bed at 5:50 am
  • shuttle only carries 8 people – over 20 waiting
  • having to pay a taxi 12 Euros
  • having do not disturb sign on door & being called by front desk to see if  I want my room made up when I am trying to take a nap!
  • seeing my first bull fight – bull really has  no chance
  • Casa Manolo recommended for dinner doesn’t open until 9 pm

FF (FUN-fact) – The running of the bulls began as a way to move bulls from Pamplona’s corral to its bullfighting ring. The animals would run the roughly half-mile stretch as children and adults herded them with shouts and sticks. The practice may date back as far as the 13th century, but it is known to have continued virtually uninterrupted since 1592, when the festival was moved from September to July. People are thought to have joined the herd sometime in the 1800s.

FUN-travel: Northern Spain – SOS Del Rey Catolico to Pamplona

July 15, 2012 by · Comments Off on FUN-travel: Northern Spain – SOS Del Rey Catolico to Pamplona 

Day 4 – Friday, July 13 – SOS Del Rey Catolico to Pamplona, Spain



Pamplona Partiers

  • the Euro exchange rate is at an all time low
  • the most expensive local wine in the grocery store is $6
  • only takes 45 minutes to get here
  • Zenit Hotel is 1.5 miles from Pamplona City Center
  • free shuttle every 20 minutes
  • away from the maddening crowds
  • fresh, crispy bread


  • too much bread – not enough vegetables

FF (FUN-fact) – The Running of the Bulls happens every year from July 6th to the 14th.