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Pamplona (Basque: Iruñea) is the capital of Navarre and has about 200,000 inhabitants, the metropolitan area well over 300,000. The city is located in the middle of Navarre in a rounded valley that connects the mountains of the North with the Ebro valley. The city started as a Roman camp for the Roman general Pompey from 75 to 74 BC. Until the 11th century the city was more like a fortress changing hands between different Christian rulers, Basque leader and the Moors. After this period the city started to grow but it remained within the city walls. That means people built up instead of out, which made for some great architecture.
It wasn't until 1915, because World War I showed that Pamplona's fortifications were out of date, that the army allowed destruction of the southern wall and ended the construction ban. This allowed people to build in the country side outside the walls. In the 2nd half of the 20th century the city exploded and became a center for modernization. Although political life is a bit hostile because of the Basque Nationalist's view Pamplona as the historic capital of Basque Country.
Because of the inability to grow outside the city walls Pamplona has an amazing old city. The old city is very easy to find and is a great place to roam around. In the last 50 years there has been massive growth into new neighborhoods, which look like any other modern city.
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The running of the bulls is the highest profile even of the Saint Fermin Festival. The course is about 825 metres long and goes through 4 narrow streets in the old city center. The only requirements for entering is being over eighteen, choosing a street to run in and starting to run at the right time. Before the run starts people pray to Saint Fermin to protect them and dress in a white shirt and pants with a red waistband and neckerchief. It is also common to run with a rolled day's newspaper to distract the bull's if necessary. The fastest part of the run is up to Santo Domingo and across the Town Hall Square. The event is not without danger. Around 200 to 300 persons are injured every year and since 1910, 15 people were killed in the running. The last person killed was in 2009.
Since 2002 a few days before the Running of the Bulls, the Running of the Nudes is staged as a protest to bullfighting. It started with a couple of streakers in 2002, but quickly grew into a annual event with hundreds of participants. The running of the nudes is backed by a couple of animal rights groups, including PETA.
|Gestion de Alojamientos||Travesia Acella 1||Apartment||80|
|Hostal Acella||Travesia de acella 3 Bajo||Guesthouse||85|
|Hostel Hemingway||Amaya-Las Encajeras 26||Hostel||91|
|Hotel La Buhardilla||Avda.Serapio Huici 15 Villava||Hotel||-|
|Husa Avenida||Avda. de Zaragoza, 5||Hotel||84|
|Husa Noain Pamplona||C/Real s/n Pamplona-Noain||Hotel||-|
|Residencia de Estudiantes Los Abedules||C/ Soto de Lezkairu s/n||Hostel||-|
Internet is widely available within Spain. Most airports have wifi-zones and in most towns there are internet cafés or shops where you can use internet for a fixed price. Wi-Fi points in bars and cafeterias are available after ordering, and most hotels offer Wi-Fi connection in common areas for their guests.
See also: International Telephone Calls
The international access code for Spain is +34. The emergency number for police, ambulance and the fire brigade is 112.
In cities you can find plenty of public phones, and 'locutorios'. The latter are small shops where you can use the phone and use internet. Most of them also sell prepaid cards for mobile telephones. These shops are used a lot by foreigners to call to their mother country.
The main mobile network operators in Spain are Yoigo, Vodafone, Movistar and Orange, as in most of Europe voice and data coverage is generally good in urban areas however it can be patchy in rural locations. Cheap mobile phones (less than €50) with some pre-paid minutes are sold at FNAC or any phone operator's shop (Vodafone, Movistar, Orange). Topping-up is then done by buying scratch cards from the small stores, supermarkets, vending points (often found in tobacco shops) or kiosks.
If you want to post a card, you can head to the post office (Correos). The Spanish post is not yet as efficient as colleagues in other countries so receiving a card can take a bit longer than the number of days that it should take. On the website of Correos, you can find the locations of nearby post offices.
Post offices are generally open from 8:30am to 2:00pm, although times will vary according to the size of the city/town and the main post offices might be open until the early evening. Most will also open again on Saturday mornings, but in the smaller towns will close as early as 12 noon. When posting a letter, look for a yellow box and, if possible, post at the post office itself where there will also be divisions for local, national and international mail. Be prepared for long queues at the post office. This is why tobacco shops sell stamps and many will also have the facility to weigh packages. Standard letters/postcards of up to 20 grams sent within Spain are €0.34. However, non-standard letters/postcards of up to 20g are €0.39. Letters/postcards of 20 to 50 grams are €0.45. In the case of international shipping, the price is €0.64 to most countries within Europe for standard envelopes (letters/postcards) up to 20g, for a few European countries and outside Europe it is €0.78. If you want to send a package you are probably better off with a private courier company like TNT, DHL or UPS, as they offer quick and reliable services against competitive prices.
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