Navarre San Fermin
PAMPLONA’S FIESTA de SAN FERMIN is
the last remaining stop on the romantic road. Those who gather
here each year dance to their own drummer. The drumbeat they hear
is not so different as it is distant. It is a faint rhythm which
the romantic hears all year long; a soft, strong sound which is
never heard by others, much like the heartbeat of a lover long
asleep in your arms.
This ancient city in the foothills of the Pyrenees Mountains with its high stone ramparts and walled citadel transforms each July to a place where the nights are never ending and the mornings majestic, as noble creatures, beasts of mythology made by a patient God, race through the streets for a brief moment ordering the whole universe, creating an energy field unlike any other on earth.
Fiesta de San Fermin has accurately been described as one of the most exhilarating experiences on earth. All a book can capture are images and impressions because the event is an elusive, metaphysical experience that nearly defies description. All of Fiesta is about the heart, the alegría or joy flowing from the generous spirit of those who call this enchanted country, once the Kingdom of Navarra, their home.
This ancient kingdom spread across the Pyrenees Mountains into France. This Basque country is a land apart, one of the most beautiful landscapes on earth. With images this book will show some of the Basque country which cradles the cities, villages, castles, churches, vineyards and farms of the region. It is from this land and these people that this Fiesta was born. The grandeur of this land provides a lush backdrop for the beauty of Fiesta.
When Fiesta de San Fermin is over, an impression is all it leaves. The moments fold into one’s memory like a kaleidoscope. For nine days beginning on the sixth of July you experience an incomparable and unrelenting sensory bombardment. The impressions that remain when the celebration is over hang in your head and heart the way wisps of white smoke linger in the sky when rockets fire from the town hall signaling the beginning and end of the celebration.
Some of the impressions you are left with are vivid while others are vague. Many memories are faded like an old black and white photograph while other recollections are brightly colored. And some of what you feel you remember is only what you imagine.
During San Fermin drummers are always near. The drummers never tire. When Fiesta’s final act is finished, at dawn following the last night, the musicians head home. Some march under the old stone arch, an ancient gateway to the city, strolling in loose formation down a steep hill across a bridge over the Arga river. As they go into the distance, fading into the dawn, their instruments go silent but occasionally one drum continues to sound. If you hear this drummer after he has faded from view and gone off into the dawn, then the sound of this distant drummer will beat within you for a year, until this time comes again.