Pamplona, Spain, is in the news this week because it's San Firmin, the "festival" where wild bulls rampage through the narrow cobblestone streets rather like those wild horses going off the cliff at the Omak Stampede. The good news, so far: no one's been fatally gored or trampled by the bulls. Can you imagine how much faster the winning Seattle Marathon time might be if the participants were pursued by two-ton steers? On the other hand, the running of the bulls is a 10-day affair, so it's not over yet.
Seattle is not Pamplona, we can all agree. In Pamplona, the bulls run (from their corral to the bull ring across town) every morning during the festival, which would never work in Seattle (even though the Basque pintxos bar Txori sponsored mock chases through the alleys of Belltown). The Blue Angels strafe Seattle every August during Seafair, which would never work in Pamplona.
There's a huge campus in Pamplona for the Opus Dei university just as there's a huge campus in Seattle for the University of Washington. Big medical centers, check. Educated workforce, check. Nightlife, check. Green industries, check. Nearby mountains, check. Independent streak, check.
Better still, Pamplona gets 130 days of rain every year, just like Seattle. Thankfully, this is not one of those days.
Hemingway would come to Pamplona to drink and run with the bulls. Then he'd hang out at the Café Iruña and drink some more. He never made it to Seattle; he didn't have to.
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