GW Spain Trip 2016 No.19: Pamplona

Spain Basque journey 2016 GW
Spain Basque journey 2016 GW

Visit date: May 1, 2016, approximately 8:00 p.m., overnight

We only ate here, but it was a nice town.

A large city that reaches beyond the Pyrenees on the pilgrimage route.

It was May Day, and as a result, we were able to visit many villages and towns, even though it was a rush. The place we stayed for the day was Pamplona, a city in the province of Navarre. If you know about the pilgrimage route to Santiago de Compostela, you might know this city. It’s also famous for the “Cattle Drive Festival”.

Four years ago, we started our pilgrimage route from Puente La Reina, the next base of Pamplona, so this was our first visit to Pamplona.

We arrived Pamplona at around 8 o’clock in the evening because it was such a busy day. Even though it was bright enough because it was Spain, we did too much sightseeing on this day. I was already exhausted. Moreover, because it is a popular town, there are not many hotels that can be reserved. We booked on the day, but we managed to get a hotel in the old town, though it was a little expensive.

There was a parking lot in the hotel, but you parked your car at the entrance of the hotel and asked the hotel boy to move it. By the way, is it safe to understand that the culture of tipping is no longer in the European continent?

A gastronomic city where you can wine and dine well

It is nine o’clock at night while I finish checking in and doing this and that. As expected, the day is getting dark at this time. Because May has only just begun.

So, I guess the only thing we can do here is eat. In fact, I could have done some sightseeing in the morning, but I have a lot of plans for the next day.

Here’s the restaurant I chose on TripAdvisor at random.

この日の昼食はゲルニカでいただいたピンチョスだけで、とてもお腹が空いていたので、この日の夜はがっつり食べぞーということになりました。パンプローナを選んだもきっと美味しいものが多そうだという理由でした。

When you enter this restaurant, you’ll be asked if you’re using it as a bar or a restaurant, as you can sometimes see in other Spanish bars. We wanted to eat well, so of course we answered that we were using the restaurant.

And seating, there was a menu of each language prepared. There was also a Japanese menu, and they brought it to us at first, but we decided to get the Spanish menu for study.

I think I said in English that I would also like a Spanish menu, or maybe I said it in French.

By the way, there are often people who say “You’re getting ripped off” when they get a Japanese menu at a tourist spot like this, but when did that happen? I’ve never encountered such a situation since I started to travel.

Anyway, what did we order? First of all, we ordered wine. Pamplona is a city in Navarra, so we ordered Navarra wine without hesitation. By the way, when you order a wine, you are often asked the name of the place of origin, such as “Navarra” or “Rioja”.

The grape varieties seemed to be 50% Merlot, 45% Temprariño, and the rest just a hint of Syrah and Cabernet.

Before the meal, the bread was introduced. It was very delicious. This trip made me think that bread is not as good in Spain as in France. But this place was an exception. Maybe because it’s close to France.

First of all, we had a cured ham called “Jamon de bellota” (Iberian ham). It looked a bit oily. The taste was not bad, but not good either.

The next dish was Habas txikis con jamon (fried mini beans and bacon), which was very tasty.

One more introduction, small shrimp ahijos. Yes, I’ve ordered ahijos several times outside this place, but I’ve only seen small shrimps in Spain. It’s like a normal oil stew, and it’s never served hot like in Japan.

For dessert, we had “flan”. Speaking of Spain, this is firm and crunchy. It’s not a smooth pudding with cream. I prefer this one.

I don’t have to tell you, it was delicious.

By the way, the Japanese menu also seems to be translated relatively correctly. It seems to be a firm shop. And although the impression for tourists was strong, the quality of the meal is also quite good. I was very satisfied to meet a good restaurant.

食事して宿泊しただけですが、パンプローナ、よい滞在となりました。さて翌日はサンティアゴ・デ・コンポステーラ巡礼路に沿ってフランス側にさかのぼり、フレンチバスクを旅します。(続く)

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