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Road Trip Day 2 – Zaragoza-Pamplona

And on the road again. Today we want to experience two cities in one day, San Sebastián is the destination and on the way we have lunch in Pamplona …

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Have you ever been to Pamplona? Probably not. But surely you have seen pictures from Pamplona. This is the city where once a year bulls are allowed to hunt people. And then land in the bullring after 825 meters as punishment. 6 bulls, 4 oxen and 3000 people. Most of the time, people probably trip over each other …

Bullrun in Pamplona (Source: Pamplonabullruntickets.com)

After our usual long period of indecision, my big daughter suggests that we go to San Sebastián already today and stop in Pamplona on the way. A good idea!

Jam award winning Hotel Sauce

The morning started with a good breakfast in our somehow funny and adorable Hotel Sauce. The hotel offers not only a cake-filled café in super quality, but also has award-winning jams in the assortment. Did not know that there are prices for … So I test three of the varieties together with a very very mediocre croissant. Hmm. Well, they are interesting flavor combinations. But I don’t really understand the sense of it. Strawberry, raspberry and vanilla is now obvious, apple with blackberry we had already but tomato with chili I find for breakfast already a bit scary. But I’m probably just offended that my joy for a good croissant was disappointed (again). Dear Hotel Sauce, please change this. Everything was so great. You don’t have to serve that soggy slob for breakfast!

Beautiful weather makes colorful pictures

The weather is much better than yesterday, a fresh wind can be felt. The sky is ripped open, the light is fantastic. Even the yellow brick, which dominates the streetscape in Zaragoza, suddenly looks friendlier and more valuable. Before we go down to the underground car park, we take a few photos of El Pilar and Co., I have put them in the gallery for you. Incredibly impressive and worth seeing! This is the first time I tried out the functions in Lightroom to adjust image geometries. As you can see, I succeeded very differently, but I keep practicing!

Off we go in the direction of Pamplona. We start on the highway and at first the landscape remains a bit, let’s say, pale and not really beautiful. At some point we decide to drive the rest of the short stretch of road. Which is a super decision, because we find directly a beautiful and gigantic aqueduct, which we would not have seen otherwise.

Yes, the Romans … Thought …

Wikipedia tells us that it is the aqueduct of Noáin. I thought the Romans were to blame for this infrastructure project, which probably wouldn’t be built today because of a rare bark beetle species somewhere that brings small beetles to beetle school. But it was King Carlos III of Spain who had this marvel, over 1 kilometer long and consisting of 96 arches, built in 1782. Whereby it certainly had a longer construction phase than one year …

The landscape is changing, as you may see. More Tuscany – Feeling comes up. The colors become fresher. The green more saturated, the yellow more intense. Beautiful! And we reach Pamplona. My big girl has chosen the restaurant after hours of research, we park directly under the bullring – of course – in the underground parking. Once again I admire the Spanish civil engineering and we are already in front of La Olla.

The La Olla in Pamplona

At first I’m a little disappointed because it basically seems more like a touristy place in the pedestrian zone. And we are largely ignored by the overloaded service at the time. But when we are seated and get the menu, I understand why my big girl chose La Olla.

At the next table, the Spanish couple has one last little sausage on their plate, which somehow smiles at me. I ask the nice waitress if we can order that too. That works and I learn that the little rascals are called Txistorra. I should also order only two as a greeting from the kitchen, because otherwise it would be too much.

D’acuerdo! When the two sausages come we quickly agree that they have this on it in Pamplona. With sausages … The typical consistency of Spanish sausages, but not too fine or strained too often. Good texture! And of course, it oozes reddish out of the sausage. There the really really good bread (!!) must hold out, in order not to let this unhealthy and tasty aromatic oil go to waste.

Then I had ordered something from red bell pepper. Called Pimientos de Cristal. Was horrified when the plate came. Looked like a slimy nightmare from the failed cooling. But: far from it. Mega tasty. Still slightly firm to the bite. You might have been able to remove individual threads, but that’s splitting hairs now. Taste a slight acidity with the slight sweetness of the peppers. Very tasty! Great appetizer.

Road Trip Northern Spain Day 2 Zaragoza Pamplona La Olla
Red peppers.Not slimy.

After that come the mussels. A great sauce. And honestly, with many dishes, it depends… Light acidity from the white apple cider vinegar. And then there should be cognac in the sauce, I honestly did not taste it. But it was mega tasty and just also more interesting than mussels in the typical wine broth. Clear recommendation!

Road Trip Northern Spain Day 2 Zaragoza Pamplona La Olla Restaurant
Shells. Yum!

The octopus, which I had as a main course, then unfortunately fell off. It had a very bitter aftertaste in parts. It was probably roasting aromas in the pan that had been colonizing the cast iron there for a while. But I was already basically full anyway and had stopped eating.

My tall one had ordered Bacalao. However, the cod is prepared differently, especially in Portugal but also in Spain. It has been traditionally dried in salt, which in my personal opinion does not benefit the taste or texture. I find that it becomes salty rubber. For many people, however, bacalao is a real treat. So you have to find out once in your life which group you belong to.

Road Trip Northern Spain Day 2 Zaragoza Pamplona La Olla Restaurant
Pulpo. Unfortunately a bit bitter.

So the super attentive service bristled when we suddenly found ourselves sitting in front of two relatively full plates, claiming to be full. I did not let up and explained the Pulpo problem from my point of view. But added that we were full anyway, because everything else had been very good and also “abundant”. It bore into him and he disappeared into the kitchen. Came back and asked if they could take us out for dessert. 110 kilos of me screamed “yes” and fate took its course.

Road Trip Northern Spain Day 2 Zaragoza Pamplona La Olla Restaurant
Ingenious! Period!

Teja de chocolate Blanco it should be called. When I googled this, other things came up, so please don’t take this too seriously. Anyway, it was a white chocolate mousse. I mean, there was a cream cheese incorporated. In addition, a bit of lime gave a touch of acidity. Over the mousse were very finely grated pistachios and coconut. Just enough to create a fine complement and extension of the flavor explosion. Without the dominance of a single flavor. Next to it a mint leaf, on top a few sweet and bite strawberry pieces and a few wild berries. The whole marvel arranged on a paper-thin shortcrust pastry base.

Road Trip Northern Spain Day 2 Zaragoza Pamplona La Olla Restaurant

Wow. Yum! You can go to Pamplona just for that. And after that you will already show the cattle who is the master in the house! My opinion of La Olla: Super recommendable. Great value for money. Insanely attentive service except for the slight weakness at the beginning.

So, now we move on. Get back to you later!


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