Monday, November 11, 2013

Towed away in Pamplona

Pamplona, synonymous for the running with the bulls.  A city that's famous for their 8 day festival in July full of complete madness, bulls, crowds, and tomatoes.

What happens in the city outside of those 8 days?  Not much, at all.

So how does the city earn?  Well, let me tell you...

My itinerary for the day was a drive from San Sebastian to Logroño, via Pamplona.  Pamplona is so hyped about because of the bulls and all that tomato throwing.  Since it was along the drive, it seemed like an interesting stop.  Driving through the city and into the fortressed walls, we approached narrow streets and a policeman.  We asked the policeman in black and neon yellow where we could park to walk around the old town.  "Just outside those walls."  So that's exactly where we parked.

After an hour of strolling through the town and into the Catedral's museum, we grabbed some food for the road - fresh bread and chips to eat with our jamón purchased in San Sebastian.  Walking past the gated entrance, my heart stopped.  Our van was gone!  My first thought, "Our van was stolen with all our luggages!"  Horrified, I observed the vicinity and noticed tiny towing signs and a sticker on the ground where our van was parked.  We were towed!!

On the bright side, our car wasn't stolen.  But still, we were in a foreign country and our car was towed!  What happened to parking tickets?!  A Spanish couple told us it's a permit only area - something the policeman did not mention at all.  We called the towing company who refused to speak to my brother in English, so my mom had to speak to them.  Our only option was to find our own way to the police station.

With God on our side, a cab showed up and took us to the police station 20 minutes away.  This city and town are pretty old and you can see Spain's struggling economy in these empty streets.  There's no struggle at all at the police station.  It's modern and way too nice - with its own towing entrance.

After paying a ridiculous 130 Euro fine ($173.75 USD), we found ourselves surrounded by dozens and dozens of other towed cars - I feel their pain.  We tried to ask for why we were towed so quickly, and if there's any way we can pay a lesser amount.  "City package".  WTF.  Clearly this is how they make their money outside of the 8 days in July.  And to make matters worse, the office was filled with policemen dressed like the one who told us where to park.  Truly, it's a city package.

Gated entrances

Entrance to the fortress city

Fortress walls

Quiet streets


Gothic architecture

An old kitchen oven

With their exhaust system high up above

A museum within the Catedral

Deserted alleys and streets

The nicest area in town - the police station and their special towing entrance

With way too many cars towed during the day

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