post-"running of the bulls"

Feb 25th, 2010, 06:03 PM
  #1  
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post-"running of the bulls"

Dad and I will be in Pamplona for 4 days for the running of the bulls, but don't know where to base ourselves for the remainder of our stay. Pamplona is just too darn expensive and we'll probably be tired of all the madness after a few days anyway. We'll have 3 nights and two full days before we fly home out of Bilbao. Is Bilbao a better base than, say, San Sebastian? We don't know the region at all, so we're not quite sure what to do with those few days. Any suggestions are appreciated. Thanks,
Roundtrip is offline  
Feb 26th, 2010, 04:08 AM
  #2  
 
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San Sebastián would be my crystal clear recommendation, lots of postings on this jewel of a town. The best food in the world, great beaches and an unbeatable atmosphere.
http://travel.nytimes.com/2007/11/18...l/18hours.html
http://www.ivebeenthere.co.uk/places...an/profile.jsp

Direct bus to the airport in Bilbao, 1h 15mins. You might also want to see the extraordinary Guggenheim museum in Bilbao: http://www.guggenheim.org/bilbao
kimhe is offline  
Feb 26th, 2010, 06:16 AM
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This video gives you an idea of San Sebastián: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9zrnRSSrZXs
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Feb 26th, 2010, 11:16 AM
  #4  
 
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4 days in Pamplona during San Fermin ..may be a bit much ... IMO ... we spent 1 full day there ... had the experience, sang the songs, watched the bulls, then moved on .. there is loads to see in that part of the country.

Don't forget your white pants, shirt and red hankerchief!

Enjoy.
alexislovesspain is offline  
Feb 26th, 2010, 12:04 PM
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Donostia* for me too - you can take the Trein Eskro thru Basque villages - rolling right thru town streets to experience an un-touristed Basque area - you could easily day trip by train to France - St Jean de Luz, Biarritz, etc. Hop Tren Eskro to Hendaye, France and then just a few minutes to those neat French resort towns - or take mainline trains but these are not nearly as frequent.

San Sebastian is the Spanish name for the Basque town of Donostia - you will see San Sebastian crossed out on many signs by locals, who rather IME detest the Spanish as outsiders preventing them from having a Basque state.
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Feb 26th, 2010, 12:17 PM
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And you can day trip to Bilbao by bus (1.5 hours each way from Donostia) - i have not been to Bilbao but friends have and they say it ain't much to go out of your way for except for the Guggenheim - but it is a relatively easy day trip from Donostia.
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Feb 26th, 2010, 12:58 PM
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Thanks for all the replies and links. We're flying into Bilbao so we'll have two nights there before we head for Pamplona. We were leaning towards returning to Bilbao because it's closer to the airport and we have an early return flight. We dislike moving around too much, but I think we'll have to spend a couple of nights there.

ALEXIS,

This is our first "running of the bulls" and we decided to stay for 4 nights starting on the 5th since we KNOW this will be our one and only trip to this festival. We want to make sure we're going to have numerous chances to see everything. One morning we'll view the encierro from the street and on another we'll be inside the bullring awaiting the arrival of the runners. If the festival gets too much to handle, we can take day trips to smaller towns surrounding the area.
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Feb 26th, 2010, 01:29 PM
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Bilbao is also a great city, you should take a look at these pages on mikelg's blog:
http://mugalari.wordpress.com/2010/0...ar-the-basics/
http://mugalari.wordpress.com/2010/0...ably-never-go/
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Feb 27th, 2010, 12:27 AM
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I always used to have my first drink in Bilbao at Café Boulevard. It was closed down in 2006 - after 135 years - to great public protests. This 10 min film from the last day before closing, speaks volumes not only of the café and its significance, but also of the city and los bilbainos themselves.
http://www.vimeo.com/2690209
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Feb 27th, 2010, 12:41 AM
  #10  
 
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Missed the final point and the good news: Café Boulevard will reopen next month!
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Feb 27th, 2010, 03:26 AM
  #11  
 
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Mikel´s blog is pretty good, and that two days route (without time to visit the Bellas Artes museum ...) is quite accurate.

Bye, Cova
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Feb 28th, 2010, 08:21 AM
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Roundtrip - I'm sorry to say that you will only be able to glimpse a split second of the bulls, a blur at best from any vantage point you may find and hold on the street. The crowd will be 50 deep on the 7th, for the first encierro. Note: There are only 6 locations along the barricades open to the public.

To hold a place on a barricade, you'll have to pick a spot and arrive before the carpenters erect the barricades, say 05:30, and then try to hold your place for the next 2-1/2 hours.

Since this will be your only visit to Pamplona for the fiesta, I highly recommend spending the money for balcony, if they are still available, but just be careful of whom you deal with. You don't want a balcony on the 3rd, 4th or 5th floors.
Robert2533 is offline  
Feb 28th, 2010, 02:49 PM
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Robert2533,

I have looked into renting a balcony and securing bullfight tickets, but they're both extremely expensive, so I'm hesitant to pay for something that I really can't judge in advance. There's nothingin the literature that gurantees a first floor balcony, and the bullfight tickets are only described as lower level sombra (no row specified). With my father's advanced age I may have to bite the bullet, but I'm just not sure yet.
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Feb 28th, 2010, 03:59 PM
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Sombra are shade seats, something that comes in handy during July in Pamplona, if it's a typical day.

Fighting the crowd at the barricades can be difficult for someone young and in good shape, so I couldn't recommend it for you and your father.
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