Sobre Escaleras y Iruñasacas

By Tim Pinks (This article was written for the Diario de Noticias and came out on January 10th, 2018)

Happy New Year, Urte Berri On eta Feliz Año Nuevo, Navarrans.

Only in Pamplona can you combine the biggest party of Christmastime – New Year’s Eve – with the first big party of the year… the first Escalera on New Year’s Day. Just when the guiris – and there were a few foreign Sanfermineros in town over New Year’s course –  fancy a decent rest after the festivities of a Pamplona Noche Vieja, this City Without Equal throws down the gauntlet again and challenges us to mark the First of January and Escalera Day. A gauntlet which is happily picked up and a challenge eagerly accepted. As guests in your marvellous, magical and mythical town, it would be rude not to…

As a guiri with 34 San Fermin’s in a row, plus many other visits at other times of the year, be it for weddings, birthday’s, party’s or just any old excuse, you can rest assured I love, love, LOVE everything about Pamplona and Navarra, it’s people, it’s music, it’s food, it’s drink…and of course it’s fiestas. Especially The Fiesta. San Fermin. And I’m not the only one, of course.

There must be something in the water that makes this town so special for so many of us. Or maybe it’s something in the air. Or perhaps, or indeed probably, it’s just the patxaran… Of all the places I have been to around the globe there is nothing, nothing, NOTHING like San Fermin. It’s as if for nine days the planet spins off it’s axis and Pamplona itself becomes another world, where weird and wonderful things happen.

I swear that during San Fermin the phantoms of fiestas past come out to play, that the runners of old return to run their ghostly runs, and that San Fermin himself comes out into the streets to play, to sing and to dance once more in the town of his birth. You don’t believe me? Well, trust me, for in the midst of fiesta after midnight one year, I saw the Saint himself with his friends The Giants dancing in Old Pamplona Town up on the hill near where he was born, by the Church of San Fermin de Aldapa.

But that is a story for another day but oh, if only the walls could talk… But they can’t but I can write about it, and one day the tale will be told…

So, with the new year under way and the first escalera over and done with, many people, and not just the guiris, will be recovering from the party. And I speak as a man who doesn’t just love the party, but the history of the place. I walk the streets often, and look at the buildings and wonder what they have seen and heard over the centuries, and little by little I have learnt a lot over the decades.

I actually have a word for the special, San Fermin inspired, Pamplona influenced and Fiesta encouraged hangovers one gets in this town. Iruñasaca. And they’re the best hangovers ever. They are impeccable Iruñasacas.

northern spain travel out with the regulars

Stephanie Mutsaerts, Bunny & J.J. Centurion and Tim Pinks on Estafeta (Photo taken and added by Stephanie)

So all we can do is wait for the second escalera to come around. But the countdown has officially started and all I can say to everyone is: Urte Berri On, Feliz Año Nuevo eta Happy New Year. ¡Ya Falta Menos! Gora San Fermin! ¡Viva!