Day 4: Pamplona, no bulls: Karen and Dom’s road trip, Spain.

Hooray, it’s sunny today and hot, giving us a great opportunity to get out and explore Pamplona, with its mediaeval fortress, its quaint old town, and its recollection of another classic movie scene: the opening of City Slickers from 1991. City Slickers is an underrated film, but who can forget Billy Crystal and his pals legging it through the cobbled streets chased by a pack (herd?) of bulls.

Disappointingly, we came on a Sunday, and a month late to catch the festival of San Fermin. So there were no bulls, and no Billy Crystal, and the bullring itself was shut. But these minor location issues aside, we managed to recreate a little bit of the atmosphere of the famous bull run.

Nevertheless, one advantage of seeing the town when it is quiet and when lots of the shops are closed is that you get to see the many murals that decorate the shop grilles throughout the old town.

Karen was particularly taken with this one. Not sure if it is because of the dog or the feminist message. Throughout this region there is a quite a strong swell of political sloganism – not least because of the campaigning for Basque independence.

While Dom circumnavigated the bullring, looking for a way in (there wasn’t one: it was shut. But it has a capacity of 19,700 and is the third largest in the world), Karen spotted a fungus.

It’s been a shame not to have the thrill and exhilaration of Pamplona on a weekday, when we can imagine thousands of people running through the streets pursued by bulls. However, the local council have usefully provided a statue of the event for those of us turning up late. And to be honest, it’s quite a bit safer.

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