Escape from Pamplona
Trip Start Jun 26, 2004
15Trip End Jan 2005
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That was the plan, little did I know that I would be in for a bit more of an adventure. To understand what happened to us yesterday you have to picture the sheer mass of bodies that has invaded Pamplona in the last week. When we got to the Parte Vieja, where all the festivities take place, the streets were packed wall to wall with crazy partying Spaniards. There was wine everywhere and a lot of European-style chanting. (Ole, Ole, Ole...) On the morning after the streets were covered in filth. A huge slush of grey nastiness. It seemed that on every street I walked down I saw some dude casually peeing on a wall, or on a sidewalk, I even saw three guys peeing on a church in unison
Anyways, back to me. Around nine I guess (I donīt know, I never carry a watch), the three of us pressed our way through an especially tightly packed crowd. Suddenly I felt a hand near my front pocket. I have felt this many times with no real threat, so I casually put my hand in my pocket and held tightly onto my wallet and passport. I had heard that pickpocketers were all over Pamplona during San Fermin so I was especially alert.
A few seconds later, out of the corner of my eye I saw the hand again, this time it looked like it was going for the lady standing next to me. I turned around and spotted the guy, who was right behind me. I yelled at him, "what are you doing!" And he yelled back. I had enough of this and quickly ducked out of the crowd, but by doing this I also lost Mike and Justen.
The next two hours I spent looking all over the Parte Vieja for them, but didnīt see anything. I even climbed up on the bull fencing so they might be able to spot me better, but still nothing.
Finally I resigned myself to the fact that I wasnīt going to find them so I wandered around some more. I went to three hotels asking if they had room, or if anyone had room for that matter. I also went to the police station, to notify them that me and my friends were lost, thinking also that maybe they had stopped by earlier
The dude at the police department was no help at all, totally incompetent. He could not help me at all so I left my name for him and told him where my friends could find me if they happened to stop by.
By this time I was sick of the crowds and just wanted to get away from the Parte Vieja. So I found a row of bushes inside a perimeter fence and set up camp. By camp I mean my backpack as a pillow. The grass was wet and it was a little chilly but I managed to fall asleep. It was a cool little hiding place. I could hear the people that walked by on the sidewalk and the traffic from the street. It was San Fermin so the city did not sleep at all and even at 2 in the morning there were tons of people out and about, most speaking Basque, which kind of freaked me out. It is a totally alien language for me.
My little campsite didnīt last for long though because the night got very cold, so much so that I couldnīt bare lying out there and had to find a warmer spot. By the way, during San Fermin there are people camped out everywhere so it really wasnīt that unusual when I leaped over a shadowy fence right in front of a group of strollers. I said "Buenas Noches" and walked down the block like nothing happened. I think I frightened them a little though.
It didnīt take me long to find a warmer spot
I woke up to a group of about eight 20-year-old Mexicans, who spoke very fast Spanish, plopping down all around me. They had seen my cosy little spot and decided to move in. They took pictures with me and gave me some of their pizza. They felt sorry for intruding on my home but I just told them that it is better to have compaņeros. They made friends with everyone that passed by our window and after two hours of acting crazy, went to sleep. I fell asleep too.
They left around 5 but I kept sleeping until 6:30 when some party goers banged on my window to wake me up. I was up and headed to the bus station. This was another experience in massive amounts of human bodies. The station was packed with people with no semblance of lines. It was just one heaving mass that kept pressing forward, no patience at all.
So I left and decided that I would go see the Running of the Bulls after all. Didnīt happen. I arrived too late to get a good view. Plus all the people were drunk and kept bumping into me. I wanted to just turn around and deck these guys, but I didnīt, donīt worry.
So I went back to the bus station, to the heaving mass. Got my ticket and then settled in for my hour ride back to San Sebastian and a soft bed. My soft bed is still waiting for me so Iīm going to sign off right here. Hopefully next time youīll be hearing from me from Barcelona. Thatīs our next destination.