After spending five months in Pamplona, the capital city of Navarra, the city truly became a home away from home for me. I’d like to think that I’m almost a local in Pamplona even though I’m sure actual Pamplonians would disagree. Nevertheless, I know some of the best cafes, meeting spots, and places to eat. To a tourist, Pamplona is a small and mundane city, but I disagree. I spent numerous of weekends enjoying my beautiful home city. Here are some of the ways and reasons why I enjoyed Pamplona.
Family Fun at Plaza Del Castillo
In North American culture, it’s uncommon to see an entire family enjoy time together throughout the week because everyone is always so busy with work and school. From observing and enjoying daily life in Pamplona, I began to rethink my priorities. Every weekend in Pamplona, there’s something going on in the main square, Plaza Del Castillo. The event gathers tons of families who spend time enjoying the festivities and one another. I don’t remember the last time I saw so many families come together in a public space to walk around and chat.
Pamplona has an abundance of parks and public spaces for people to enjoy. Public pedestrian-friendly squares include the Plaza del Castillo and Plaza de San Francisco. There’s also a massive citadel located in the centre of the city. The citadel consists of paths going through and around the structure, as well as an abundance of green space for locals to enjoy. I’ve spent time in the citadel jogging (once), napping (too many times), and playing football (ahem…soccer and it was more like watching).
Shopping in Pamplona
Shopping…yet another thing I miss about Europe. Spain is home to many fast fashion stores including Primark and the massive Inditex group which includes Zara, Bershka, Pull and Bear, and Massimo Dutti. On my free weekends, I would wander through the shopping area of Pamplona, visiting all of my usual stores. It was almost impossible for me to simply window shop in Pamplona; in fact, at the end of each shopping trip, I always came back with at least one purchase. For example, whenever I visited Bershka, one of my favourite stores, I would find five items I wanted. I had to pace myself when it came to shopping, buying only one item per weekend or forcing myself to leave and go back to the store.
Another store that I enjoyed was Kiko Milano, a European make-up brand. When it comes to cosmetics, I’m a drug-store girl; stores/brands such as Sephora and MAC are simply unaffordable for me so it’s surprising that Kiko became one of my favourite shops in Europe. Kiko has decent quality products at affordable prices. Additionally, the store is colourful and fun to shop in. Unfortunately, Kiko doesn’t exist in Canada so towards the end of my semester, I began buying up Kiko products. In total, I purchased five mascaras, concealer, foundation, and several nail polishes.
Going out in Pamplona
Going out in Spain is wild and Pamplona is no exception to this. With the siesta, Spain’s daily schedule for lunch, dinner, and partying is delayed. Dinner takes place after 8 pm which means that people don’t start drinking until 11 pm. By the time everyone is ready to go out, it’s close to 1 or 2 am. Everyone parties until the sunrise at which point, they return home to sleep. Because I didn’t go out often, I never got accustomed to this schedule.