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Rooftops of houses, Pamplona

The Navarre of the Hemingway ‘Festival’

Navarra

Pamplona and other places that the travel writer fell in love with

With just a suitcase and a book, be carried along those streets we have never visited. Admire the unknown vegetation. Breathe in the aroma of new flavours. Immerse yourself in the celebration of the spectacle that you have never seen but which, in some way, and thanks to travel literature, you feel you have already experienced. Writer Ernest Hemingway (1899-1961) set his novel “The Sun Also Rises” in Pamplona and this was not the only place in Spain for which he felt great admiration. His travelogue on Navarre , La Rioja and the Basque Country is well worth a read and tempts readers to travel to the landscapes he describes in its pages.

Fan of the Sanfermin festival

The best thing to do is get a copy of the travelogue, available at any tourist office in the three regions covered by this literary-travel route. The document includes drawings and quotes from the writer, maps and other curiosities for finding the best routes, restaurants, accommodation, landscapes, etc. Navarre and the fiestas of San Fermín play a leading role in Hemingway's Cuadernos. This Nobel prize-winning North American author became such a huge fan of the bull running tradition that, from his very first trip to Pamplona in 1923, he attended this popular celebration, which each year receives thousands of travellers from all over the world, on at least nine occasions. This route proposes visits to various references to the writer and journalist found around the city. The most well-known of these include the life size bronze sculpture in the themed corner dedicated to the writer in the elegant Café Iruña; the 8,000 kilo granite monument that pays homage to Hemingway, in front of the Plaza de Toros; and room 217 of the Gran Hotel La Perla where he used to stay in order to see the bull runs from its balcony on Calle Estafeta. Trips to nearby towns such as Burguete, Aribe, Lekunberri and Yesa are other places of reference.

The Hemingway Corner in Café Iruña, Pamplona

The footprint of the Nobel prize winner in La Rioja

Ernest Hemingway describes the landscapes of La Rioja in another of his novels, “The Dangerous Summer”. His journeys through places such as the Sierra de la Demanda, Haro y Ollauri, Calahorra, the Rioja Baja region and the capital, Logroño, all leave their mark in the writer's prose. Another significant popular festival, the San Mateo festival, also caught his attention, as well as the region's excellent wines. A good way to conjure up the intensity with which the travel writer enjoyed this region of Spain, is to read one of his famous quotes: “However you make your living is where your talent lies”. In this respect, the Hemingway Travelogues include a space where the traveller can write down their own observations on the places they have visited. The aim: to put into practice that capacity for observation that made it possible for the writer to produce such brilliant works of literature and which, on all our travels, helps us to connect to the culture we are visiting.

Vineyards in La Rioja Alta

“Eat with Hemingway” in the Basque Country

And to fully immerse yourself in the exciting tale of Hemingway, you need to explore the eateries where the Pulitzer prize winner also cultivated his palate. To make this task easier, the publication “Eat with Hemingway” features more than 100 recipes and 44 restaurants in the Basque Country, Navarre, Aragon and La Rioja visited by the writer. Fishing in the Bidasoa river, contemplating the views on the Basque coast, swimming in the bay of La Concha or relaxing in Donostia-San Sebastián were just some of Hemingway's favourite pastimes. Cycling was also one of his favourite sports, and in particular the Basque Country cycling race that covered the three provinces of Bizkaia, Álava and Guipuzkoa, led him to discover many other places such as Zumaia, Zarautz and Bermeo . His footprint in the region extends so far that there are guided routes such as the one in Kanala, with visits to the Mundaka estuary and the Urdaibai Biosphere reserve , and themed rural house projects on this distinguished writer in early 20th century contemporary literature.

Gastronomy collage of the Basque Country.
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