Tom Pinks’ own Fiesta Recipe

Heart of Pamplona Apartments

Photo by Rodrigo De Medeiros

Describing San Fermin becomes complex when you want to transmit the many layers of meaning and emotions that this festival, this amazing fiesta gives us. Tim Pinks, author of Bulls Eye and Once Upon a Time In Pamplona, gives us his….Pamplona’s Fiesta of San Fermin.

There is an avalanche of words one could write about fiesta, as it is fiesta that provides the blood to Spain’s beating, pumping, pulsating heart, so I’ll stick to just one…Pamplona’s Fiesta of San Fermin.

There are so many things we go to where, although we become deeply involved, (sports events, rock concerts, etc) we are still basically spectators. Fiesta is different. Oh-my-goodness, how it is different. When one is deeply immersed in fiesta, you become a part of it, you live it, it’s as if all those people in the street dancing with the bands or running with the bulls become part of the life-blood that is rampaging through those party arteries of fiesta, providing the oxygen to its hedonistic heart.

But what makes up the magic mix that becomes this extraordinary event called “fiesta?”   Well, part of it needs you to take a large, a very large, glass, and pour in some fun, laughter, dancing, drinking, singing and high-jinxing, then add some special ingredients like wonderful get-togethers at long liquid lunches or drink-drenched dinners, topped off, if you’ve made it through the night, by a streetside outdoor breakfast with other nocturnal survivors, while a lone voice sings a song… plus a magical dose of secret sorcery sprinkled with sunshine during the day and sparkling stars at night,

Then throw in some ice and music, shake and stir and spin and sip for 204 hours, yes, 204 hours…and finally add that most important ingredient of all – friendship – and that, perhaps, gets you something close to the crazy cocktail that is fiesta. But only close, because even after you’ve been and experienced it and loved it and left it…you probably won’t quite believe it and so hopefully you’ll come back for more. They say there is nothing like the Fiesta of San Fermin…and there isn’t. And they also say Pamplona is a city without equal…and it is. Spain is a wonderful country and it’s fiestas are its gift to the world.

A little bit about Tim Pinks

Tim was given a book by his parents that would change his life. The book was ‘The Drifters’ by James Michener, about 6 youngsters in the late sixties, three girls and three guys who meet up in Torremolinos, Spain, and begin travelling together. The first place they travel to in the book is Pamplona. In July. During fiesta. Well, that was it for him… Although he knew the book was fiction, he’d heard of this town where they ran bulls through the street, but couldn’t believe from what he read in Michener’s book that such a wild, medieval and crazy place could exist in this modern day and age.
But it did, and staggeringly, it still does. He rode down from London to Pamplona on him Norton motorcycle in 1984, (although only just made it, as he crashed the thing just north of the frontier!) and he still remembers the feeling as he walked into Pamplona’s main old square, the Plaza del Castillo, on July 6th. He adds
Honestly, I’m getting goosebumps just thinking about it now”.
And without really knowing anything about the fiesta, he knew he’d found his paradise on earth. And now, approaching his 34th San Fermin in a row, he still feels the same way, and still does whenever he arrives in that town without equal, be it for fiesta or any other time of year.
“I love Pamplona, it’s people and its fiesta beyond words. That one book given to me by my parents has changed my life for the infinitesimally, unequivocally better”.



Once Upon A Time In Pamplona
Where your travels in northern Spain begin