Christmas Vacation 2013

There’s not much to report on other than my Christmas vacation, which was spent with the usual celebration at J’s aunt’s, the trip to Etxauri, Spain, between Christmas and New Year’s, and New Year’s Eve celebrated at our house.

Etxauri is one of J’s favorite rock-climbing sites and he goes there every year between Christmas and New Year’s. Usually he and his friend(s) sleep in tents set up in the village playground, and usually they go to bed very early because it’s so cold they just want to be in their sleeping bags. This also typically leaves me alone at the house between the two holidays. So this year I told him if he reserved a hotel, I would come along.

Seven of us slept at a surprisingly inexpensive four-star hotel in Pamplona, a ten-minute drive from Etxauri. We went into Pamplona every night but one (when we tried the excellent hotel restaurant). We soon discovered than in the region of Navarra, tapas are called pintxos and are individual servings that are typically bought with a small beer or a glass of wine for 2 euros. Other than a first evening mishap where someone didn’t understand that ostras were oysters (less obvious to the French maybe…), we loved the food and paid very little for it.

I skipped out on climbing one day when it was threatening rain, to have a walk around Pamplona’s city center. It’s a very pretty walled medieval city, known for the festival in early July, when hotels triple in price though people typically don’t sleep at night but rather line up starting at 6 am to watch the running of the bulls.

Illustrated here in the statue in the city center

Illustrated here in this statue in the city center

Plaza del castillo (if I remember correctly)

Plaza del castillo (if I remember correctly)

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I did a little shopping, including a stop at The Body Shop where I finally got my hands on some good sulfate- and silicone-free shampoo.

Otherwise, not much is going on, though J and I have started house hunting and will be doing a second visit of a house we like on Thursday.

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