Pamplona - the place of the best pinchos
Me at Univeristy of Navarra
I had the opportunity to visit Pamplona during a conference organised by Discourse Analyses, in March, 2016. Was for the first time in Spain, and took any chance to see and experience as much as I could.
The name of Pamplona comes from the Roman General Pompey, which camped in Navarra in the winter of 75-74 BC, when fought against Sertorius (the latter has a fascinated life and he was compared with 'Hannibal' for his courage; he was assassinated though, by means of tracery exactly when he was about to establish an independent Roman republic in Hispania - the modern Spain).
As I read about it, this land was the centre of numerous military campaigns between V to VIII century, and even before and after: the Roman sovereignty, the Germanic invasion, the Visigoth domination, the Franks raid, the Umayyad invasion, the Basques, the Berbers, the Vikings, the Andalusians - all of them left influences in the culture of Pamplona.
Even though so many invations, Pamplona was more a fortress than a town and in 924, the Cordovan documents (source) described Pamplona as 'not being especially gifted by nature', with his dwellers being poor, eating bad, little food, and being mostly part of banditry. They also speak Basque language and this makes them incomprehensible.
The town gained shape after 1083, when new cultures mingled due to the travellers from north of the Pyrenees.
The Conference was organized at University of Navarra, a not for profit entity funded in 1952 by St. Josemaría Escrivá de Balaguer, the founder of Opus Dei, an institution of the Roman Chatolic Church. The entire university is very well maintained, modern and international. Students from all over the world attend lectures here and I had the chance to meet also students from Chile, Ecuador, Vietnam.
In Pamplona, people are so friendly, sociable and give you a hand any time when you get lost. I always asked someone about directions from the hotel to the university and always someone offered to walk me there. The latin blood is always warm!
In the historic centre of Pamplona, I have eaten the best pinchos in my entire life! They came on a slice of bread having on top sea food, cheese, egs, olive oil, meat and vegetables. The pincho comes with a spike so you can use it when eating (or after eating, up to you :P). In front of the bars there were people from Africa (man and women) selling bracellets or other handmade stuff for the purpose of saving their relatives back in Africa. They also asked for money as begging. I bought a bracellet and gave them some euros, but not too many as I was under a student allowance and made huge financial sacrifices to come there and present my paper.
Pamplona is famous especially for Running the Bulls but had not the chance to be there on time for the festival, maybe next time :)
Kises and hugs,