Thursday, February 2, 2012

A Grand Day Out. Part 3: The Grand Finale

Ready for part three of my Grand Day Out?  If you missed out on part one and two, read those before you continue....

So, how does one day give enough material for three posts, you ask?  Hey, I'm just really good at milking my family comes from Holland.  That's cow country, so I should know a thing or two about milking...maybe not about milking cows, but milking all the same.

So here goes...

Our little encounter with the vultures and the weremonk wasn't enough for Bob, who fancied a bit more excitement, so we fixed it so he could run with the bulls.  What, in January?  Well, let's just say that anything is possible, with the help of a little modern technology.

Bob, the brave Scotsman, keeping up with even the youngest of the "mozos".
Once we'd all had enough of escaping from wild beasts, we ended the day on a quieter note, with a visit to a couple of castles and a lesurely stroll through the center of Pamplona. And of course, a pincho or two before dinner....because guys never stop being hungry, do they? Our fist stop was the castle of Javier, which was completely deserted, except for us. Just as in Leyre, the hotel and bar were both closed, but the castle itself was open. It's low season here in the cold, wet North, so if you're looking for cheap holidays in Spain, this might just be the time and the place for it...provided you can find a hotel that's open. We didn't have much time left, so we only went inside the church that's attached to castle.

The best thing about coming here in the middle of winter was the chance to get a photo of the castle with no tourists milling around.

Even though it was getting late, there was still enough time left to monkey around a little:

Do boys ever really grow up?

The church.
By the time we got to Olite, it was very, very cold again, and all I wanted was to get inside and have another cup of coffee, so I didn't get a shot of the castle.  But I did have enough presence of mind to take a picture of the egg-shaped ice house that's next to it.  The castle itself is impressive, but it's the icebox that I think is most interesting.  This structure used to be packed with ice and hay to keep the palace food fresh.

The best place to keep your eggs fresh.
I also got a photo of a stork.  Aren't they supposed to have gone South for the winter?  I just hope that's not a sign that the virility fountain worked just a little too well.

Bet this bird has fresh eggs.
Before heading back to Pamplona, we stopped off for that long-awaited cup of coffee, another pincho de tortilla, and Rob and Bob revealed to us what Scotsmen really wear under their kilts.  They didn't actually show us, of course, but they did tell us their secret. I'm sure you're dying to know the answer...but we promised not to tell.

And then it was nearly time to go home, our grand adventure was almost over, but we managed to squeeze in a quick walk around the center of Pamplona.  I was really suprised to find that Rodin's statues had followed us here all the way from C├íceres.

"I wish all these people would go home so I could get up and stretch a little."
We stopped at city hall, which is pretty when it's all lit up.

And I got to play tourist in my own city, because, after having lived here for nearly twenty years, I think I can call Pamplona my city.

The chestnut man thought I was a tourist too when I stopped to take his photo:

The chestnut vendor says "Hola!".

Of course we absolutely had to stop for a pincho and a beer at El Gaucho before dinner, because we wouldn't be eating again for at least a whole hour, heaven forbid we starve to death before then.  Yes, here is the photo of a man eating a sea urchin that I promised.  And no, pinchos are not the same as tapas, although there's a lot of debate about the exact definitions.  I'll be doing a post on that one of these days to see if I can explain it...if I manage to figure it out myself. 

Mmm, food!  Bob had the sea urchin. I'm not that brave, so I stuck with Roquefort cheese and red peppers.
A man and his sea urchin.
What do you think?  Would you eat a sea urchin?

After the pinchos, we decided to call it a day (and what a day it had been), so we headed to the car.  For some reason the boys thought the license plates on these two cars were hilarious, and they just had to take a picture:

Boys will be boys.
And finally, we went home....and ate some more.

To see more photos of our Grand Day Out, vist The Rain in Spain on Facebook.


  1. Nice castles Javier and Olite, a pity you didn't take a full picture of Olite, that's a nice one.

    Pintxos and tapas, great topic :) I wrote last week about it, different things but both necesary haha

    And I agree with the boys, that license plates are pretty funny!

  2. Yeah, I kind of forgot to take the photo, but I have many from previous visits, because whenever we have people from out of town here, Olite is one of the first places we take them. I agree that it's a very nice castle. And yes, pintxos and tapas, delicious and very necessary. :)

  3. I didn't know you were blogging again! Great pictures. I still have Spain on my list. My last attempt to go was thwarted because we were building a house. Money has a way of flittering away when you're building a house. Perhaps I'll try again this June or Sep...

    1. Yeah, I've been back to blogging for awhile...I didn't realize had the VE blog up again until just recently either. Money has a way of flittering away once the house is built too, we just spent a bundle on repairs, but I guess that's what owning a house is all about. You should really try to get to Spain sometime, there's so much to see.

  4. I have to admit, the sea urchin creeped me out a bit! Otherwise, very enjoyable photos, as always. Someday, when I win the lottery or write the next Harry Potter/Twilight bestseller (don't hold your breath) I will come visit you in Spain and we can have some wacky adventures. But no seafood ... please!

  5. that top photo cracks me up. glad you and your friends had such a nice day out. good memories with good friends are precious. and no, i don't think i'd have opted for sea urchin, but next to haggis...maybe so.

  6. Awesome, great photos! I don't think I'd go near a sea urchin :P