Pamplona: Casa Ibarrola and Pinchos

13 Sep 2019

I planned a rest day in Pamplona and by dumb luck wound up staying in Casa Ibarrola, an exceptionally well-planned and -run albergue.

Two brothers came up with this albergue’s design and implemented a bunch of clever ideas. One of them was to locate the bunkroom a floor above the showers and toilets, which keeps noise and smells away from the beds.

The backpack storage area, shown above, keeps them off the floor and easy to access, but away from the bunks. Unlike your boots, you can take your pack to your bed, but you’re asked not to leave it there long term, reducing potential floor clutter.

The albergue sleeps only 20 and has separate showers and bathrooms for men and women. All fixtures and hardware are very high quality.

Perhaps the most interesting items are the modular bunks. Each bunk includes a lockable storage cabinet inside the sleeping area, a light, several power outlets, a shelf above the pillow, and a privacy shade. Really well done, unusual, and comfortable.

Hospitaleros Caesar and his brother have done a great job in creating the place and they could not be kinder or more helpful in dealing with every situation. I was delighted to have stayed there.

Pamplona itself is charming and is, of course, famous for its “running of the bulls” festival. I ran into two fellow pilgrims in Pamplona that I’d met in Orisson, Laurent and Claude:

And we made a night of going to Estafeta Street, on the bull run route, and popular for its pinchos (tapas). The drill, supposedly, is to make your way down the street, having one pincho and small glass of wine, at several establishments. In my mind, this assumes that the pinchos are small hors d’oeuvres. They’re not:

In fact, they’re very large and some are works-of-art. In addition, the wine serving is not the thimblefull that would enable you to wander from bar to bar for hours.

Most pinchos are only 3-4eu (including the wine) so it’s hard to go broke. We had fun on a limited scale and everyone survived the night.

The next day, I did manage to locate, and get a selfie with, the famous running bulls statue:

Pamplona is a very pleasant city, with lots of parks and plazas, and was a nice, temporary break from the Camino.

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