Friday, June 6, 2014

The Cartel For Sanfermines 2014 Has Been Announced!

Saturday, 5 July at 20:00 (8:00 pm)
Novillos de "El Parralejo"
Novilleros: Borja Jeménez, Francisco José Espada, Posada de Maravillas

Sunday, 6 July
Toros de Carmen Lorenzo
Rejoneadors: Pablo Hermoso de Mendoza, Sergio Galán & Roberto Armendáriz

Monday, 7 July
Toros de Torrestrella
Matadors: Antonio Ferrera, Miguel Abellán & David Mora

Tuesday, 8 July
Toros de Dolores Aguirre
Matadors: Uceda Leal, Francisco Marco & Paulita

Wednesday, 9 July
Toros de Victoriano del Río
Matadors: Juan Josés Padilla, Iván Fandiño & Juan del Álamo

Thursday, 10 July
Toros de Garcigrande
Matadors: Juan Serrano "Finito de Córdoba", Julián López "El Juli" & Alejandro Talavante

Friday, 11 July
Toros de Jandilla
Matadors: Sebastián Castella, Miguel Ángel Pererae & Iván Fandiño

Saturday, 12 July
Toros de Fuente Ymbro
Matadors: Juan Josés PadillaDavid Mora & Jiménez Fortes

Sunday, 13 July
Toros de Adolfo Martín
Matadors: Diego Urdiales, Manuel Escribano & Alerto Aguilar

Monday, 14 July
Toros de Miura
Matadors: Javier Castaño, Luis Bolivar & Esaú Jacqueline Fermandez

Saturday, May 31, 2014

The Procession of San Fermín

The Route of the Procession - 7 July

Church of San Lorenzo, Rincón de la Aduana, San Antón, Zapatería, Calceteros, Plaza Consistorial, San Saturnino and Calle Mayor.

The statue of San Fermín on Calle Mayor

9:50 am: Town Hall Square - The Corporation (mayor and city councillors) sets off for the Cathedra.

10:00 am: Cathedral - The Corporation collects the Chapter and they walk together.

10:30 am: Church of San Lorenzo - The statue of San Fermín heads for Rincón de las Aduana, surrounded by the procession.

10:45 am: Calle San Antón, 47 - First jota in honor of San Fermín.

10:55 am: Plaza del Consejo - First momentico; Coral Santiago from the Chantrea sings the iota "Al Glorioso San Fermín".
11:15 am: El Pocico de San Cermin (Church of San Saturnino) - Two children place roses on the Saint's pedestal.  "Agur Jaunak" is played by txistularis, Basque flute players.

11:40 am: Called Mayor, 20 - Jota from Napardi.  The statue of the saint enters the chapel of San Fermín for Mass.

2:15 pm: Cathedral - The Giants dance while the María bell chimes.  The Corporation bids the Chapter farewell in the atrium and returns to the Town Hall.  "The wonder of Damascus" is played.

2:45 pm: Town Hall Square - The Council dancers perform in the town hall square.

La Pamplonesa

The Procession passes in the following order:
  • Giants and Bigheads
  • Cross of San Lorenzo, Archbishop's Cross
  • Carpenters and laborers
  • Hermandad de la Pasión, the Brotherhood of the Passion, Marian Congregation
  • Heralds and kettledrummers, the city flag, Municipal dancers and txisturlaris, the Basque flute players.
  • Bearers and the statue of San Fermín
  • Cathedral Chapter, Archbishop of Pamplona
  • Macebearers
  • Corporation, Mayor of Pamplona, escorts
  • Muncipal Police and the ceremonial escort
  • The Pamplonesa, the Municipal Band and star of the fiesta

The Giants on Calle Mayor with at few thousand followers

Monday, April 21, 2014

What to wear during Fiesta!

The Traditional Costume

The official dress, for everything that happens during the Fiesta de San Fermín, is the traditional costume of white and red, blanco y rojo, a white shirt and pants, red pañuelico (bandana) and red faja (sash).  The "official costume, which is also worn by Pelota players in Navarra and the Basque country, and by celebrants during the festival in Bayonne, "Fêtes de Bayonne". can be purchased at any of the clothing stores you'll find around Pamplona, including Spain's leading department store, El Corte Inglés.  Or you can bring your own pants and shirts from home, but pack an extra pair, as hotel laundry service is limited on the 6th, the opening day of the festival, and the 7th, an official bank holiday in Navarra.

The red pañuelico, donned at noon on the 6th of July following the firing of the rocket, the 'chupinazo', in the town hall square, is not put away until midnight of the 14th, following the candlelight ceremony, the 'pobre de mi' (poor is me).  But it is recommended that if you are planning on running not to wear the pañuelico around your neck, as it might get tangled up on a bulls horn as he passes.  The same is true of the faja.  It should not be worn loose, but wrapped tightly around your waist, or removed altogether during the encierro.

Peña Seattle de Sanfermines provides our clients with its own official pañuelico.  The faja can be purchased from one of the many street vendors you'll find in and around the old quarter.  Dressing in San Fermín attire will allow you to integrate smoothly with the crowd and quickly get into the spirit of the fiesta.

Besides going well with white, it is said that the red pañuelico has a religious origin and was selected to honor Pamplona's patron saint, San Fermín, red being the color priests wear to honor a martyr who died for his beliefs.

It is also important that you bring a comfortable pair of walking shoes.  You will be doing a lot of walking day and night and a good pair of shoes are important, and as good a job as the city does in cleaning the streets each day, you will inevitably encounter some broken glass along the way, especially following the opening ceremony and during the early hours of the 7th.  And please, no sandals!

Monday, March 10, 2014


On a journey through northwestern Spain, Resting at its Paradors

Following the Pilgrims Route - León to Monforte de Lemos

During the fall we enjoyed a leisurely excursion through Northwest Spain to sample its wonderful collection of Paradors, which are government-owned, primarily historic monument hotels, former castles, monasteries, palaces, fortresses and convents, converted into sumptuous lodgings. 

We began our journey in the lively university city of León, at one of the jewels in the Parador’s crown, the grand, 16th century Hostal de San Marcos. We ended our travels in Tordesillas, in the Douro River valley; where in 1494 a treaty was signed carving up the New World between Spain and Portugal.  Travelers to this delightful corner of Spain can rest in regal splendor for very reasonable tariffs at these highly distinctive government-run properties.

Parador de León

The 5-star Grand Luxe Hostal de San Marcos of León is one of the most splendid examples of Renaissance architecture found anywhere in Spain today.  Construction of this stunning historic monument began in the 16th century; it was built to house the headquarters for the Military Order Knights of Saint James, responsible for patrolling the ancient Camino de Santiago pilgrimage route, and King Ferdinand, the head of the order, financed the project.  The most prestigious sculptors and architects worked on its magnificently carved Plateresque façade, its monumental stone staircase, its cloister, chapterhouse and intricately carved choir stalls.
Through the years the Hostal de San Marcos has served as a pilgrims’ hospital, a college, prison, barracks and a concentration camp during the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939). Now it serves as a sumptuous Old World palace-hotel, attracting discerning travelers from around the globe, along with weary modern day pilgrims seeking a bit of luxury on the long road to Santiago de Compostela.  A scene from the Martin Sheen film, “The Way” was filmed here in room 363.
This ancient capital of Castilla-León is also blessed with other fine historic treasures, including its soaring 13th century French Gothic cathedral, containing some of the most extraordinary stained glass windows in all of Europe, the frescoes of the San Isidro Collegiate Church, whose Kings’ Pantheon is known as the “Sistine Chapel of Romanesque art” and the Casa de Botines, a neo-Gothic creation of catalán Moderniste architect Antonio Gaudí.
The city also offers an atmospheric Medieval Quarter, where the locals and students gather for evening tapas in the Barrio Húmedo, or “Wet Neighborhood”, alluding to the large amount of wine spilled there each night.  It’s one of the best tapas scenes in Northwest Spain, and here it is still customary to offer a free tapa with each drink purchased.  Our favorites here: the new and buzzing gastronomic space, La Tienda del Mercado on Calle Varillas and the traditional El Nuevo Racimo de Oro on Plaza San Martín.

Parador de Villafranca del Bierzo

Moving west to the extremely scenic but far less explored northwest corner of Old Castile, the exciting wine region of El Bierzo, visitors will find a handy base at the modern, newly renovated Parador of Villafranca del Bierzo, which also lies on the pilgrimage route to Santiago. 
From here one can easily tour several top wineries, such as Descendientes de J. Palacios in Villafranca, in addition to the Knights Templars’ castle at Ponferrada.  The remains of the 1st-4th century Roman gold mining operation at Las Medulas, an archaeological wonder and World Heritage Site is only twenty minutes away by car.  The ancient Celtic circular stone and thatched roof dwellings (pallozas) of O Cebreiro are only a short drive away in neighboring Galicia. 
The stone and slate covered Parador offers guest rooms with large windows that face the steeply terraced vineyards to the south, simply gorgeous in the fall, and the densely forested Ancares Mountains to the north.  The Parador, with two seasonal swimming pools, opens on the 2nd of March, but closes from 3 November to 31 December this year.

About Castilla y León’s El Bierzo Wine Region

Wine production flourished here during the Roman occupation and in the 9th century regained prominence with the discovery of the remains of St. James in Galicia and the building of monasteries and pilgrims hospices along the pilgrimage route, the Way of St. James.  Monks kept winemaking alive and well throughout the Middle Ages, but the production died off at the end of the 19th century with the arrival of phylloxera.  It was resurrected once again in the mid 80s with the arrival of young, energetic winemakers like Alvaro Palacios, who, after bringing fame to the Priorat, has helped make El Bierzo one of the most exciting winemaking regions in Spain
El Bierzo sits in a square-shaped fertile valley protected by mountains on all sides, giving it a benevolent microclimate perfectly suited for wine production.  The indigenous mencía grape, covering two-thirds of its vineyards, thrives in these precariously steep, high altitude, slate-laced hills.

Paradors of The Ribeira Sacra

The Ribeira Sacra boasts two equally wonderful, historic Paradors in strikingly different settings from which to use as a base to exploring this wine region.  The first, sitting atop a hill overlooking Monforte de Lemos, is the historic site of San Vicente do Pino with its medieval castle keep, 17th century Benedictine Monastery and Palace of the Counts of Lemos, which now houses the elegant Parador de Monforte. 
You’ll find a very friendly staff, serene and beautiful cloister and a seasonal outdoors pool.  Plus, the Ribeira Sacra’s most acclaimed restaurant, O Grelo, is just a few minutes walk from the front door.  Here diners can feast on Galician specialties such as oven baked baby scallops, octopus, Cedeira goose barnacles, monkfish and sea bass, accompanied by fine wines from all of Galicia’s acclaimed appellations.  A spectacular white wine to accompany this seafood feast is Pena das Donas Almalarga Godello, which one can purchase from the Centro del Vino in Monforte’s town center.
The other option, in contemplative isolation, concealed within a chestnut forest to the west, is the Parador Santo Estevo.  The Benedictine Monastery of Santo Estevo de Rivas de Sil, dating from the 10th century, provides a peaceful and relaxing retreat in its secluded setting in Nogueira de Ramuin, a 30-minute drive from the regional capital of Ourense.
In its recent conversion to a Parador, it has retained the medieval elements of the original building, including the three lovely cloisters (Romanesque, Gothic and Renaissance) and the original chapel, while adding a dramatic architectural touch in contemporary steel and glass, avant-garde furnishings in the 76 former monks’ cells, and a seasonal spa.  In addition to the renovated monks’ cells, there is one suite, room 210, Abad Franqula, named for the first Abbott of the Monastery.

Exploring the Ribeira Sacra

The most spectacularly scenic region of Galicia, the Ribeira Sacra D.O., is found on both sides of the steep canyon walls of the Sil River, the natural boundary between the provinces of Ourense and Lugo, and west along the banks of the Miño River Valley.
This is a region known for its vertiginously steeped, strikingly beautiful vineyards, the oldest of which were carved out by the Romans 2,000 years ago, scenic and quite dramatic lookouts, castles, jewel-box Romanesque churches, and ancient Cistercian monasteries, all reached via country roads running through lush forests.
Artists will enjoy shopping for pretty traditional rustic pottery in the ceramic towns of Gundivós and Niñodaguia.  Nature lovers can take a leisurely catamaran cruise through the river canyons, and the more adventurous can enjoy white water rafting along the Miño.

Parador de Puebla de Sanabria and Pousada de Bragança

After soaking up the dazzling autumn colors in the Ribeira Sacra, we turned southeast for an overnight detour in the historic castle town of Bragança, but before then, we stopped in one of the most charmingly picturesque mountain villages in Zamora province, Puebla de Sanabria, where the local restaurants were celebrating wild mushroom, game and truffle season. 
The Puebla de Sanabria Parador is located in a spectacular spot, above the Tera River Valley, and the town serves as the gateway to the Sanabria Lake, the largest glacial lake in Spain. Nature lovers find plenty of hiking trails here, along with a highly picturesque medieval quarter of half-timbered homes and cobblestone streets. 
Although this Parador is of sleek, modern design, it enjoys a convenient, easy-in, easy-out location just below the medieval village with picture postcard perfect views of the town’s carefully restored 15th century castle.
Leaving Puebla, we continued south through the beautiful Montesinho Nature Park that forms the natural border with Spain in the historic and still somewhat remote region of Trás-Os-Montes in northeastern Portugal.
After an afternoon exploring the interesting and well–preserved medieval quarter of Bragança, we spent a relaxing night in the Pousada de São Bartolomeu, one of the Portuguese cousins of the Paradors of Spain, with its commanding view of the “Torre da Princesa”, the storybook Princess Tower and church of Santa Maria.

Zamora, Tordesillas and Back to Madrid

Our next stop was in Zamora at its Parador of the Counts of Alba and Aliste, housed in a richly decorated 15th century Renaissance palace sitting on a pretty square in the center of this historic provincial capital.  The feel inside is of fading medieval grandeur, with its display of coats of armor, heraldic shields, banners and tapestries adorning the glass-enclosed courtyard, and canopy beds in its superior rooms.  Zamora is located at the crossroads of the Vía de la Plata on the St. James pilgrimage route and is a living Romanesque Museum, as it is richly endowed with a wonderful collection of more than a dozen pale stone, superbly preserved Romanesque churches.
Zamora serves as a fine base for both wine and cultural touring, as does its neighbor to the east, Tordesillas, which played a major role in world history when in 1494 Isabella and Ferdinand sat down with the King of Portugal to work out a treaty that would divide all lands discovered in the New World.  While Portugal won Brazil, Spain got much of the rest.
Its Parador, housed in an ochre-toned ancestral Castilian home in the shelter of a pine forest, sits midway between Zamora and Valladolid and provides tranquil gardens, two pools, a Turkish bath and sauna and a children’s playground, inviting travelers to rest and relax. It serves as an excellent base from which to visit both the architectural treasures of Old Castile, such as the Royal Convent of Santa Clara in Tordesillas (a jewel of mudéjar art, called the “Alhambra of Castile”), the Colegiata de Santa María la Mayor, with its glorious polychrome Romanesque portal, in the town of Toro, Valladolid’s acclaimed National Museum of Sculpture and the former homes of Columbus and Cervantes and the castles of Simancas and Medina del Campo.  Plus the wine producing regions of Rueda, Cigales, Toro and Ribera del Duero are all within an easy drive.  
From Tordesillas we made the quick drive to Valladolid’s rail station and zipped down to Madrid on the high-speed AVE.

Let Iberian Traveler create a wonderful autumn holiday for you in Northwestern Spain, where you’ll be delighted by its atmospheric Parador lodgings, its cultural riches, hearty yet sophisticated cuisine, fine wines and spectacular fall colors.