Fishing in the Pyrenees – on route to Pamplona’s San Fermin Festival

Hemingway loved fishing. No wonder he did find this river called the Irati high up in the Spanish Pyrenees. On his way to the festival of San Fermin in Pamplona, (better known as “the running of the bulls”) he used to stop in the village of Burguete to stay in the local inn and would walk every day around 5 miles cross country to get to his favorite fishing spot in the little village of Aribe. Nowadays there is a decent road to Aribe and there is a hotel (ran by a local woman and her Italian husband). He did write a chapter in “The Sun Also Rises” about it all.

Los Banos - Aribe

From where the hotel is it takes you about 5 minutes walking along the river to get to “Los Banos“.  A bend in the river with the ruins of an old bathing-house looking over it. This was Hemingway’s favorite spot to fish for trout. The trout in the Irati river are a special sub species and are no normal brown or rainbow trout, but more colorful and they grow quite big.

Los Banos - The levy

Once done fishing, Hemingway would take the bus to Pamplona to celebrate the festival of San Fermin and run with the bulls. The road from Burguete to Pamplona falls from the high mountains to the plains (where Pamplona lies waiting) which makes it a spectacular trip with lots of great views (and lots of u-turns). It might have been 90 years gone by, but it is all still there…

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