My self-improvement/educational books began getting dry and it was time to learn more indirectly by ingesting some classic novels again. It may seem pretty naive of me looking back, but when I picked up a copy of Hemingway’s The Sun Also Rises I had no idea how relevant it would be to our trip. I’ve read a couple of Hemingway’s books before and loved their balance between simplicity and great emotional depth.
As many of you seem to already know, the majority of the Sun Also Rises is based out of Pamplona, Spain. There, Hemingway’s characters find themselves in a bizarre love (or loveless) story entangled within its now famous annual fiesta of San Fermin and the Running of the Bulls. As it turns out, Hemingway’s story is exactly what gave the Running of the Bulls international popularity. Today San Fermin is now the largest festival in the entire world which he himself attended nine times in his life.
As Jake (the main character in the book) drew closer to his visit to Pamplona, I in turn drew closer to mine. I arrived with about twenty more pages to go and find it fitting to finish the book while I’m here.
It is amazing to walk the very same streets that he made famous in the novel. In some ways I feel like I’ve been here before – seventy years or so ago. Before we began doing research online for our standard “things to do” list, I surprisingly already knew when the rockets would go off, where the bulls would run and a general idea of what to expect in the chaos. I would never have thought a novel would make such a great travel guide! It is such an unforgettable feeling to experience a town in two ways such as this and I am excited to enjoy the festival only 24 hours away!
Off to finish the book and start my very own version of the experience. (I’ll add notes about the book in a later update.)