Imagen del chupinazo de san fermin lleno de gente y con los gaiteros saliendo del ayuntamiento


“The essence of pleasure is spontaneity.”  

Germaine Greer.


At the end of the encierro in Pamplona the adrenalin’s edge softens and the sense of relief, satisfaction, fulfilment and even disappointment takes its place.  At the same time, amid the Kaiku y cognacs, coffees and conversation, thoughts turn towards breakfast.

There was a time when groups of runners would take the short stroll down Plaza del Castillo, crossing Estafeta and up to Calle de la Merced where they would find a few spare benches outside La Raspa and sit down.  The crowd would vary day to day but ultimately it would be a relaxed affair where a group of friends could eat a simple breakfast, share a few bottles of tinto with gaseosa and chat away in a mood of contented camaraderie.  The odd jota would meanwhile float over from a nearby table. It was always the perfect way to ease into the day and to transition between the drama of the encierro and the rhythm of fiesta.

Not now.

Now the tables are all reserved: booked up in advance for the “right people” and the impromptu breakfast has been replaced by a stage-managed event.  The very concept of spontaneity has been sacrificed because the breakfast “event” is so popular that everyone wants to join in. Everyone wants a piece of the action and to be seen to be there.  When the essence of a thing vanishes what is left is an artificial facsimile of the original.

We have seen it before in so many ways.  If you have ever dreamed of visiting a famous monument or notoriously beautiful site then you will be aware that the truth does not match the dream.  That amazing view across to Niagra Falls, across the Grand Canyon or up The Mall to Buckingham Palace is not something you can enjoy in the way you imagined.  This is because of the sheer mass of humanity getting in the way of the view. The forest of selfie sticks, or ego poles as someone else has described them, has to be waded through and any photograph has to be captured in that split second when a group of Japanese tourists, British schoolchildren or American coach tour is not right in the optimal place.

Popular sites are popular for a reason – people believe they are worth seeing “in the flesh”.  Their essence is something that is worth enjoying in person. Yet in doing so we end up killing them through popularity.  Pumphrey described it as the “devil’s bargain”, and that experience is greatly diminished not just because it has to be shared with dozens of Antipodean backpackers but because that sense of intimacy, that personal connection, is compromised.

It is very easy to leap up and blame the very modern phenomenon of social media for much of this.  After all the attitude that drives so many of us to share our lives with the rest of the world has found a natural home in the digital age.  Not only that but there is an accompanying theme of the need to prove how amazing our lives are while sharing them with the world. As a result the selfie stick pervades and every visit to a famous monument or site has to be captured as evidence not only that we were there, but that we were having the most amazing time while we were at it.

Yet it wouldn’t be fair to blame this solely on the rise of social media.  As long as humans have been able to travel for leisure and been able to share that experience so the complaints of over-crowding and spoiling have existed.

The famous European Grand Tour was an expected trip for wealthier members of British society, particularly between the 17th and 19th centuries.  Yet even as far back as then there were complaints that the circuit was getting too crowded and too rowdy.  As Professor Kathleen Burke writes; “The undisciplined and sometimes violent behaviour of young Englishmen was often commented upon; certainly, for the staff of British embassies abroad, the activities of English visitors, ‘each vying with the other who should be the wildest and most eccentric’, were a major preoccupation. ‘Even Russians were impressed by the cohorts of wild English youth they found in the cities of western Europe.’”

Hemingway too acknowledged the down side to the popularity of something so beloved.  “Pamplona was rough, as always, overcrowded… I’ve written Pamplona once, and for keeps. It is all there, as it always was, except forty thousand tourists have been added. There were not twenty tourists when I first went there… four decades ago.”

Social media has merely exacerbated this and contributed to it on a global level.  Take a trip to San Sebastián, home of the most wonderful pintxos and tapas, and you will see what popularity has done to this culture.  The principle of tapas, how tapas traditionally works in Spanish towns and cities, has been erased. In its place there is a much more stage-managed, tourist-friendly version where the bars do not want people to pop in for a mini and a single pintxo.  Now they hand you a plate and encourage you to stay long and spend deep in order to keep the cash registers ringing. (This is not to denigrate the gastronomy of San Sebastián, which is outstanding).

This is not how tapas works elsewhere, but San Sebastián has become popular on a mercurial scale.  When this happens a critical mass is reached and something has to give. As Hassan Bougrine points out; “…the essence of the capitalist economy is the need to ‘make money’.”  No wonder that tradition is distorted. Though perhaps some would say that it is actually more positive – an evolution that gives the customers what they want. Given that a high proportion of those present in the Basque city are foreign travellers, that evolution to ‘Tapas Tourism’ is not surprising.

The intense beauty of Cornish fishing villages is such an allure that those with enough income have been buying holiday homes there for many years.  This has had such a negative impact on the communities, effectively destroying the villages outside the holiday seasons, that bans on purchasing second homes now exist in a number of Cornish locations.

The essence of a thing is so fragile, so precious and so difficult to grasp that when we reach for it, it vanishes.  Like grasping a handful of sand on the beach, the tighter we hold on the less we are able to keep a grip on it and the sooner it slips through our fingers and is gone.  We rarely aim to destroy the essence of a thing intentionally, we merely realise that it has happened almost by stealth and the truth of our impact has crept up on us, seemingly out of nowhere.  Yet, destroy the essence of something we most certainly do.

With something fragile and something so desirable the answer, surely, is to handle with care.  We want to reach out and grasp something that shines and yet, like ice crystals, the very touch itself can destroy the thing.  In this case it must be wiser to enjoy a thing in the moment and be prepared to walk away, to change and to sacrifice the very thing we love so as not to destroy it.  This is not easy for, in the moment, we are normally overtaken by the desire to sink ourselves into the experience. Similarly we often destroy one small cut at a time and may not recognise it until it is too late.

Surely as soon as we feel a thing we love is at risk of being stage-managed or that its essence has been compromised or killed by popularity we should be prepared to walk away.  Perhaps we should even be prepared to walk away long before then. Take the post-encierro breakfast as an example. If we attend every single day are we expecting too much from it?  Are we forcing the fun to fulfil an expectation or are we merely contributing to the destruction of its essence. Once something becomes routine it is no longer special.

That is not to say that such things should cease and many people find enjoyment in routine.  Some would even claim that they are able to hold onto the essence of something even when it is a routine.

One of the most common complaints is that the encierro has been destroyed through being too popular.  Complainants point to the crowded streets and the high proliferation of non-Spanish runners (estimated to be 45% in 2017) as contributing factors.  Talk to any “old timer” and they will generally yearn for a time when the streets were quieter, when you had space to run and when you could actually see the bulls.  The essence of the encierro has gone, replaced by backpackers, beginners and wishful thinking.

The evidence does not totally support this view.

The encierro has been popular for a very long time and crowding is most certainly not a modern phenomenon.  Old black and white photographs and even film reels show crowded streets, a crowded Plaza de Toros, pile ups and packed barriers going back many decades – all seemingly without killing off the soul of the encierro.

Additionally, the modern crowding is not getting any worse according to figures released by the Ayuntamiento of Pamplona.  An article published on highlighted the fact that some years, such as 2012, saw over 20 thousand runners take part across the 8 days, while others much less.  2017 was estimated to have had around 16 thousand runners. Volumes also vary dramatically from day-to-day. It would appear that a patient and determined runner can find space on the right day if he bides his time and takes his chances.

So while it is true that we often smoother the thing we love and destroy its essence, sometimes the thing we love is not actually dead and we just need to look at it slightly differently.  Perhaps, as in San Sebastián, we need to experience it differently and re-learn what the essence now is. Ultimately we need to acknowledge that the essence of a thing is fleeting, transient and that we should enjoy what we can of it while it lasts.

Lucinda Poole, nueva Guiri del año posa con la mano sobre la barbilla

Face to face with Lucinda Poole, “Guiri” of the year

Picture by  José Luis Larrión

American journalist, Lucinda Poole, will be awarded during Sanfermin 2017 with the XIV Premio Guiri del Año, an award which is given each year by Kukuxumusu and to a foreigner who has stood out for their love of the Sanfermin fiestas. This year, in its fourteenth edition, the winner of this award is the versatile journalist and translator, Lucinda Poole, who will follow in the footsteps of last year’s winner, Englishman Tim Pinks.

Lucinda Poole is a 60 year-year-old woman, from Chapel Hill (North Carolina) and she has been associated with the Pamplona fiestas for more than three decades now. Indeed, her first writing on the fiestas was a guide book published as “Don’t Be a Foreigner in Sanfermines”(1982).

Continue reading…

Imagen de Lucinda Poole frente a la obra completa de Hemingway en un posado.

Kukuxumusu awards American journalist Lucinda Poole with the “Guiri Del Año” award of Sanfermin 2017

Photo by José Luis Larrión

American journalist, Lucinda Poole, will be awarded during Sanfermin 2017 with the XIV Premio Guiri del Año, an award which is given each year by Kukuxumusu and to a foreigner who has stood out for their love of the Sanfermin fiestas. This year, in its fourteenth edition, the winner of this award is the versatile journalist and translator, Lucinda Poole, who will follow in the footsteps of last year’s winner, Englishman Tim Pinks. Continue reading…

¿Qué haces aquí, Hemingway, sin tunearte de blanco?

Estos días por Pamplona se dejan ver unos cuantos dobles de Hemingway, barbiblancos, con generosas carnes y aspecto de abuelo de Heidi. Hoy hemos pillado a uno de ellos in fraganti, sin tunear, el que sale en la foto. Bueno, a lo mejor es el mismísimo Hemingway, que se ha reencarnado para pasearse de incógnito y revivir su fiesta preferida.

A Hemingway Pamplona le debe mucho: sus escritos y reflexiones sobre la fiesta pusieron esta ciudad en el mapa del mundo. Miles de personas vienen cada año atraídas por lo que se cuenta de los Sanfermines. La mayoría nunca ha leído “Fiesta”, ni lo hará nunca, pero les suena que aquí pasan cosas increíbles, como que todo el mundo se viste de blanco.

Hoy ya estamos en pleno follón festivo. Una parisina de origen navarro ha encendido la mecha del Txupinazo. Su abuelo, Honorino Arteta, logró escapar a Francia, con un balazo en la pierna. El resto de sus 21 amigos y compañeros, todos republicanos, como él, no tuvieron tanta suerte. Era el 23 de agosto de 1936, en plena guerra civil.

Honorino formaba parte de la peña La Veleta, fundada en 1931 por gente de origen humilde y de clase obrera. Ese año Hemingway también vino a los Sanfermines. Los de esta Peña querían distinguirse de alguna forma durante las fiestas, y eligieron vestirse todos igual, con un sencillo atuendo blanco, popular, asequible para todos.

Desde entonces, Pamplona por Sanfermin se viste de blanco y rojo. La mayoría de los visitantes también cumple casi a rajatabla con el ritual. Si llegas a Pamplona en medio de las fiestas, te metes en la parte vieja y no vas tuneado de Sanfermin, cantas mogollón. Te sientes como un marciano. Y no te queda otro remedio que pillar camiseta, pantalón y pañuelo.

Durante muchos años, el traje era blanco impoluto. Hasta que un día a tres amigos se les ocurrió una majadería: diseñar una camiseta, hacer una tirada y venderla por las calles durante las fiestas. Así conseguirían pagarse sus kalimotxos. A la gente le gustó… y aquello marcó el comienzo de nuestra marca, Kukuxumusu, el beso de pulga ‘cocido’ entre kalimotxos.

Hoy en Pamplona por Sanfermin conviven los atuendos blanco impecable con una gran variedad de estilos, dibujos, frases, ocurrencias.

Este año cumplimos 26 Sanfermines reinventando la fiesta con los lápices. Y para celebrarlo hemos resumido el recorrido del Encierro en la camiseta del año, con todos los puntos de interés. Para que la gente de Pamplona pueda chulear del Casco Viejo y para que los turistas sepan lo que no deberían perderse. Así cuando se la lleven de aquí podrán contar sus historietas sin tener que poner el dedo sobre un mapa.

Hemingway by Kukuxumusu 60 aniversario del Premio Nobel de Literatutra

60 years since Ernest Hemingway was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature

On this day, exactly 60 years ago, Ernest Hemingway learned, while he was residing at the Finca Vigía (CUBA), that he had been awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature by the Swedish Academy. This award ensured his eternal fame and the appreciation of his written work and, in consequence, the image of Sanfermin and the fiestas of Pamplona. We celebrate that date with this drawing from Kukuxumusu.

Ernest Hemingway look- alikes kick off the Running of the Bulls Saturday, July 19, 2014, in Key West, Fla. The whimsical event, a parody of its namesake in Pamplona, Spain, is one of many events during Key West’s Hemingway Days festival that continues through Sunday, July 20. Hemingway lived and wrote in Key West throughout most of the 1930s. FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY (Andy Newman/Florida Keys News Bureau/HO)

A Hemingways “Bullrunning” at Sloopy Joe´s in Key West

Photo: Andy Newman/Florida Keys News Bureau/HO

These days they are celebrating in Key West what would have been the birthday of Hemingway (21st of July, 1899). If he were still alive he would probably be just getting over a tough Sanfermin hangover or he would be in this edition number 34 of the Hemingway Days – a party they hold in his honor there every year on these dates.

The Hemingway Days are celebrated each year in the bar Sloppy Joe´s in Key West, which used to be frequented by Ernest Hemingway during the long period that he spent living in Key West. This image comes from the typical collection of “lookalike” Hemingways who dress up in Sanfermin gear and who take part in a “bullrunning” and in a quiz show in a competition to find the person who does the best caricature of Ernest Hemingway. All the finalists earn the right to be called “Papa” at Sloppy Joe’s Bar.

Images from the Tourism Office in Key West.


Hemingways running of the bulls
Andy Newman/Florida Keys News Bureau/HO

The 2014 “Papa” Hemingway is Wally Collins, the man who stands up the “Look – Alike” award.
Wally Collins, 2014 “Papa” Hemingway, “Look- Alike” contest’s winner of Sloppy Joe’s bar

Just to show how important this event is in Florida, a lawyer  who was representing a man charged with a plot to commit murder requested an adjournment of the court case so as to be able to participate in the Hemingway Days.

The judge in charge of the court case refused to grant the adjournment because “having the option of going to a murder court case and a lookalike competition , for sure Hemingway would have chosen the court case“. However, he wished the lawyer good luck in the lookalike competition if he entered the competition in the future, and  Frank Louderback, the defence lawyer,  accepted the decision of the judge and pointed out that at least in the way, “he was getting another year in which to get a bit older, a bit fatter and a bit more gray in the head”.


Hemingway writes a new Fiesta and rescues the memories of Orson Welles’s daughter

Hemingway has written “FIESTA”, again – well, almost. This time it is, in fact, John (Hemingway) who, incidentally, was chosen as Kukuxumusu Guiri del Año 2011 (Fiesta Foreigner of the Year)– and he has now written this book with the idea of explaining to all would-be runners from the Anglo-Saxon countries just what the bullrunning entails. In addition, he has the help of a trio of Joe DistlerBill Hillmann and Alexander Fiske-Harrison while photographer Jim Hollander, provides the accompanying images. Perhaps the most curious contributor of all is Beatrice Welles, who provides some unedited memories of when she came to Pamplona for the first time in the company of her father, Orson Welles. (Orson Welles first came to Pamplona back in the 1940s, when he was in Spain filming El Quixote, and he returned again in 1963.)

The book costs six euros and it is being sold by Amazon for Kindle and for smartphones. All four writers are men who have both literary experience as well as experience of running the bulls in Sanfermin. While some have had more experience in running than others, all of them write well about their initiations in the bullrunning and their love for the annual event. And now they have transmitted in well-written narratives their experiences and viewpoints for all those who might find themselves in a similar situation of wishing to take on the experience of running in the bulls.

The book has been published by Mephisto Press just a few days ago and it is published in English under the title “How to Survive the Bulls of Pamplona.” The text is distributed by Kindle and it consists of 217 pages. One of the authors tells us that if anyone shows him the book in their smartphone during these coming Sanfermin fiestas, he will put his signature on the back and invite the person to a glass of wine. However, for the moment, we will not reveal the identity of this particular author.

Una postal de Ernest Hemingway a Gertrude Stein desde Pamplona el 13 de julio de 1924

We have come across yet another proof that Ernest Hemingway was indeed to be found at least once in the Pamplona bullring arena immediately after the Running of the Bulls during fiestas. At we have already pinned up two earlier photos; one that we discovered in the archives of the Ernest Hemingway Photograph Collection from the John F. Kennedy Library in Boston (Here). The second comes from a publication from Harper Magazine and which is contained in the book – The Letters of Ernest Heminway: Volume 2, edited by Sandra Spanier. This current image is a photo/postcard, typical of the period of the 1920’s, which was sent from Pamplona on the 13th of July, 1924 to Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Toklas who were both living together in Paris at that time.

In the postcard missive, Hemingway identifies himself along with some of his colleagues, within the arena of the Pamplona bullring, sporting with the young bulls which were let loose immediately after the Running of the Bulls had finished. EH describes the event as a “Novillada” and gives a brief account of what where his second Sanfermines in Pamplona.

The image comes from the Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library at Yale University by way of the Press Department of the University of Cambridge.


Cuando Hemingway salvó a Alexander Fiske-Harrison en el encierro

We recently learned an intriguing story about the Running of the Bulls –one of those little anecdotes that get lost amid the heady days of July and the fiestas but which eventually surface with the passing of time. The fact is, John, the grandson of Ernest Hemingway, helped an English writer get out of a tricky predicament during the 2013 Running of the Bulls. And the anecdote features three characters in all, viz., Ernest Hemingway, John Hemingway (grandson of the famous writer) and Alexander Fiske-Harrison (an English writer and regular participant in the bullrunnings). Alexander Fiske-Harrison just recently published a literary criticism in the The Spectator magazine which dealt with the second volume of Ernest Hemingway’s letters which is edited by Sandra Spanier . In this article, Alexander Fiske-Harrison describes the work of the writer and his opinion of the author – from the point of view of a literary critic – and here he confesses that in one of his runs during the Sanfermin 2013 Bull runnings, Alexander Fiske-Harrison trip up and found himself being stampeded on by the panicky “runners” that lead the way forward well ahead of the pack of bulls approaching at some distance behind.

Alexander Fiske-Harrison describes how he was stepped on by an “overwhelming crowd of 5.000 drunken tourists”. And he goes on to say, “in July this year, while participating in my 19th ‘running of the bulls’ in Pamplona, I was tripped and trampled by a rampaging herd of drunken tourists, 5,000 of whom were crowded into the half-mile that comprise the world’s most famous encierro. After I was dragged to safety before a group of bulls could add their weight to the melée, I discovered that my saviour was none other than John Hemingway, Ernest’s grandson. As we later shared a drink, I half-jokingly remarked: ‘You know it’s you Hemingways’ fault that all of us idiots are here in the first place.’ There are more than a few novelists — Norman Mailer and Elmore Leonard spring immediately to mind — who could say the same thing.”


The book edited by Sandra Spanier is on sale at Amazon and other such sites and the title is: The Letters of Ernest Hemingway: Volume 2, 1923-1925 (The Cambridge Edition of the Letters of Ernest Hemingway).

You can read Fiske-Harrison and his article on the running of the bulls and his article on the running of the bulls in a piece he wrote for

Hemingway and Duke of Wellington in 1924 at Sanfermin´s Livestock Fair


Photo: Hemingway and Duke of Wellington in 1924 at Sanfermin´s Livestock Fair

It’s strange to think that a little over 150 years before the monument to Ernest Hemingway was unveiled in front of the bullring (on July 6th, 1968, with his widow, Mary present), there could already have been a statue of the Duke of Wellington in Pamplona.

Had they commissioned it, I have no idea how long it would have lasted…not very long, I imagine…longer perhaps than the one ofTeobaldo the 1st, whose statue was in Taconera Park, Pamplona, and disappeared in 1936, and certainly longer than if they had constructed one in San Sebastian! (Even today, if you dared put one up there, I doubt it would last a minute!). One of the differences between the two cities while Wellington was in Spain is that, whereas San Sebastian was besieged, Pamplona was only blockaded.

For those who want to know a little European history, Arthur Wellesley, the Duke of Wellington, (born in Dublin), was in charge of the British and Spanish forces, (and yes, some Basque) and mercenaries who were ordered to rid Spain of Napoleon and his French and allied forces, including his brother, Joseph Bonaparte, who Napoleon had made King of Sicilly and Spain. Known in Britain as the Peninsular War, it lasted from 1808 (when they invaded via Portugal) until 1814. In Spain it’s known as the War of Independence, and it caused Napoleon such problems that he called it his “Spanish ulcer”.

The French garrison at Pamplona finally surrendered on 31st October, 1813, and the starving town was free. And the statue to Wellington? Well, more of that later.

Fast forward nearly 200 years, and this year sees the 50th anniversary of the death of Ernest Hemingway.

He had already prepared for his visit to Spain for the summer of 1961. He had his bullfight tickets reserved for the corridas in Pamplona, and his accomodation was arranged. He was ready, like so many of us foreigners are every July, to make the return to a city that is like no other.

But was he really ready? Or had he been deluding himself? Although he was only 61 (and would have been 62 years old on July 21st of that year), he was an “old” 61. The years of drinking and partying, and of, yes, action and accidents, had taken their toll. Not to mention the demons that were having their own particular fiesta inside his head and were tormenting his very soul.

Now, if you have depression it’s a serious thing. For example, for the few of you who may understand the next two words…remember Gavilan. Depression can kill.

Hemingway was being treated for many things, and depression was one of them. He was depressed about his inability to write, he was depressed about his health, and I have little doubt he was depressed that, if he returned for fiesta in Pamplona, a city without equal on this planet of ours, he would be unable to enjoy it. Not just to write about it, to party in it, but to participate in it.

And for so many of us guiris, the beautiful thing about the fiesta of San Fermin is that we can join in. We are not only spectators, but participants. We are part of it, and it’s a wonderful feeling.

Whether he was ready for Spain or not, one thing is certain. At about 7 in the morning of Sunday, July 2nd, 1961, at his home in Ketchum, Idaho, Hemingway woke up, and went downstairs to the kitchen where there was a special key. Outside it was a bright and cloudless day.

The key was for the storeroom in the basement, where among other things he kept his guns. He chose an English one he had bought from Abercrombie and Fitch, a Boss double-barrelled shotgun. He put two cartridges in it and went back upstairs, and crossed the living room to the oak-pannelled entrance foyer. It would have been quiet, so quiet, fifty years ago on that early sunday morning. Then he put the gun to his head and pulled both triggers.

And so ended, by his own hands, the life of an extraordinary man. Whatever you think of him, or his books, he was a huge figure of the 20th century. Depending on your view, and knowledge of him, he was either a great writer, or an awful one. He was a good man, or a bad one. He was a genius, or a devil, fun to be with or a pain in the ass. He was a drunk, a liar, a boaster and a bully. He was also, to quote his original biographer, Carlos Baker, “the perpetual student, the omniverous reader, the brilliant naturalist, the curious questioner…” One thing he never was though, whatever your opinion, is boring.

By all accounts, if you were lucky enough to be at a table with him, you were in for a rollercoaster ride of a party. He was a thousand different things, some good, some bad. Human then, just like the rest of us, except most of us aren’t multi-million selling authors.

So, for bringing this wonderful town of Pamplona, and it’s extraordinary inhabitants, to worldwide attention (and hence bringing people like me to it every year), thank you, Ernest Hemingway. I can’t say that Pamplona or it’s fiesta wouldn’t have been world famous anyway, even without his help, for I truly believe that Pamplona and Navarra, and it’s inhabitants, are somehow blessed by some special spirit that runs through their blood, so that when it comes to fiesta time, or indeed anytime…magic happens. Pamplona and its’ fiesta would have been famous whatever the case.

But without Hemingway kickstarting the process, it’s doubtful I, or any of us, would know of San Fermin or of Pamplona in quite the same way that we do, or have the best friends on the planet that we do. Oh, and Pamploneses? I’ve always said that there is something beautiful about you, algo bonita, and yes, something impeccable. And there is.

Every year before fiesta a red scarf is placed around the neck of Hemingways’ statue, which I always think is a nice touch. It’s as it should be. Old Papa Hemingway is ready for San Fermin. I’ve never seen it done, and can’t honestly say if there is a special ceremony or not, or even who started it. My guess is it was done at the unveiling in ’68, and the tradition carried on every year after that. Maybe someone out there knows, or was even there…

So, finally, what of the statue of the Duke of Wellington?

Well, thanks to a book I bought about 10 years ago, I know a little bit about this. The book is by Carlos Santacara, a writer born in Bilbao but of Navarran parents, and is called “Navarra 1813”, and is a factual account of the British soldiers (and the foreigners who fought with them, such as the Germans or, if I remember correctly, even an American),and their experiences during the Peninsular War, and the letters they sent home.

Apparently, the people of Pamplona were so happy to see their liberators, that as the British marched into town they were greeted with cries of “Viva los Ingleses, viva los Ingleses!” (Can you imagine!)…I don’t know if there were any cries of “Gora ingelesak” though…

So happy were the townsfolk to be free again that the Town Hall wrote to Wellington asking him if they could erect a statue of him, to show their gratitude. The Duke of Wellington, who hadn’t actually entered the town, but had been many times on the outskirts, wrote back declining their offer, while at the same time expressing his gratitude for the sentiment.

So, there was to be no statue to that famous Englishman, the Duke of Wellington. Silly, really, to think that Pamplona would erect a monument to an Englishman. Why, that’s as silly an idea that they would erect one to an American…

¡Ya falta menos! ¡Viva San Fermin!