It took us seven days to arrive to Pamplona from Barcelona with all the biketour equipment. We had to cross the desert (Los Monegros) cycling in the crazy Spanish heat. Just one hour after we arrived to the “Gaztetxe” (squatted social center in Basque) Las Maravillas other people started showing up asking for Ecotopia Biketour. Perfect timing! At the end of the day we were already more than ten participants.
Las Maravillas has been quite recently squatted (less than one year). It is located in the old town in front of one of the main squares where people gather for festivities. It used to be a palace for one of the supporters of the dictatorship and after it was abandoned the local people decided to reclaim it and make a youth social center. Although it doesn’t have toilets or showers yet, we had a nice big room for us to sleep in and a kitchen upstairs.
We had the first circle the next day where we decided how we were going to organize ourselves the next days. Our main priorities were to build a new rocket stove and to create a structured task system which we call “rota”. For the first one we went to another gaztetxe called Jazar where we expected to find enough material to build the stove. The place is a huge building with many different workshops (wood, fabric, paper and sports) and a big central area for hanging around with a free shop and a kitchen. Behind the building is a large yard with an amazing self-built skate park. There we joined a small bike fixing workshop to prepare our bikes for the days after Pamplona. Finally we failed to find any material or tools to build the rocket stove there so we continued with it the next day.
During our stay in Pamplona we were dumpster diving all over the city center. Although half of the dumpsters were locked we managed to open them either by pushing the back of the lid or afterwards with a key that we found in the lock of one of them (we called it “the magic key”). It was very successful and we only had to buy oats for the breakfast. We even found an unexpected new member while skipping.
The second full day we continued looking for the rocket stove parts in the city. By midday we collected two empty small barrels from restaurants and a steel pipe from a construction area. To build it we asked our contact person in Las Maravillas to use his private metal welding and cutting tools. While working outside his workshop on it suddenly storm clouds and a strong wind came so we had to continue inside a garage nearby. In the end we succeeded and the next day just before leaving we stuffed both of our rocket stoves (the new one and the old one) with rock wool insulation that we found in the squat.
Even under the stress from the pre-festivity of San Fermines (every evening the city center was full of people partying) we had a really productive and nice time in Pamplona. When we left the city we were already nineteen people, two dogs and five trailers.