It's a bright morning and the men have breakfast. They walk over the bridge of the big river and go to a tackle store to buy supplies and then walked to a cathedral. It is "nice and dim." They hire a cab for the coming drive to Pamplona, then go to a café for a beer. As the sit outside, there is a pleasant breeze from the sea. Jake doesn't feel like leaving, but they sort out the money for the rooms. While they wait for Cohn to finish up in his room, Jake sees a cockroach and they say it must have come from outdoors, because the hotel was so clean.
The change of scene and the proximity of the sea briefly bring the group into a state of harmony. Competition is at bay. They have a kind of ideal image of the town that for the moment cannot be marred by invaders like the cockroach. Yet the peace is fleeting—Jake doesn't want to leave, but times passes and he has plans to fulfill, so he does.
Cohn joins them and the cab and driver arrives. Soon they are out in the country, with rolling hills, behind which is the sea. As they cross the Spanish border their driver has to fill out some papers for the car, so the men go to a stream nearby to check for trout while they wait. Jake asks a soldier manning the crossing if he ever fishes, but he says he doesn't. Then, an old man comes to the border and is waved away by the carabineer and turns back on the road to Spain. The carabineer says he'll wade across the stream.
The country is natural and calm in dramatic contrast to the towns that have consumed Jake and the group so far. The soldiers guarding the border make clear that the after-effects and nationalism of the war still do exist—and their lack of desire to fish marks their separation from the joys of nature—but the soldiers also only guard the road, that symbol of civilization. Nature, in the form of the stream, provides an openness that the soldiers don't police.
The chauffeur returns and they drive on, through the country that Jake describes as "really Spain," with forests, plains and clear streams. Jake spots an old castle in the distance and points it out to Bill. Then, a big river comes into view and next, the skyline of Pamplona, its old city walls and cathedral. They come into the town and pass the bullring, which is imposing in the bright sun. They arrive at the Hotel Montoya. The owner, Montoya, welcomes Jake like an old friend and gives them good rooms. They eat in the cooler of two dining rooms. Jake says that the first Spanish meal is always a shock, with its many little courses, demanding a lot of wine.
Jake's comment suggests that the countryside is more honest, more "real" than the city. Jake said in Chapter 2 that all cities look like they do in the movies, but it seems unlikely that he would say that about the countryside. Because of Jake's close relationship with Montoya, they are welcomed as if they are locals, and Jake especially seems to fit in and feel at home with his special knowledge of the local customs.
Cohn tries to cancel one of the meat courses. He seems nervous, and doesn't know that Jake knows about his trip with Brett. Cohn says, with a superior tone, that he doesn't think Brett and Mike will actually come to Pamplona. Bill and Jake respond by making a bet. Bill bets they'll arrive that evening. Cohn goes to get a shave and Jake admits that he thinks Bill has a rotten chance at winning the bet.
Cohn, in contrast, doesn't fit in at all. He tries to make the meal conform to what he wants, rather than experiencing it as it is, and he compensates for his nervousness by action superior. The mere mention of Brett brings back the competition between the men in the form of the bet.
After the meal, Jake visits the old man who always gets bullfight tickets for him and is pleased to learn that his tickets are ready for him. The man can tell that Jake has been in a motor car by the dust on his clothes. Jake is impressed, and gives the man some extra coins.
Jake is impressed by the man's expertise about cars, which is often prized by men as an aspect of ideal masculinity. Yet the only way Jake knows how to respond is to pay the man, to turn it into a transaction. He doesn't know how to actually have a relationship.
Jake goes walking and comes across a cathedral. Though he found it ugly the first time he saw it, now he likes it. It is dim inside, people are praying and Jake decides to pray too. He prays for everyone he knows, and for the bullfighters. He prays for himself, that it will be a good fiesta, that he will have money. When he thinks about money, his thoughts begin to wander and he regrets being a bad Catholic.
That Jake used to find the cathedral ugly but now does not suggests that he is changing somehow, coming to appreciate something about religion that he had lost during the war. That he tries to pray and regrets becoming a bad catholic suggest the same. His prayers, however, seem somewhat shallow.
At dinner, Cohn arrives shaved, shampooed, and nervous. Brett and Mike are due on the train, and Cohn wants to go to the station to see them in. Jake goes with him. He enjoys Cohn's mood, even though he knows it's lousy of him to do so. He says Cohn brings out a lousy side of him. When the train comes, Brett and Mike are not in the crowd. Cohn says he knew they wouldn't be.
As Brett approaches on her train, masculine tensions heighten. Cohn, in love, goes tries to look his best, even though he expects Brett to disappoint him. He can't help himself. Jake's amusement at Cohn's behavior is little more than a way for Jake to make himself feel better. He feels much the same way Cohn does he just doesn't show it.
When they return to the hotel, Bill asks if he can pay off the bet later. Cohn tells him to forget the bet. He'd rather bet on something else, like the bullfights. But Jake says to bet on bullfights would be like betting on the war. Economic gain means nothing in a bullfight.
Cohn, in the end, doesn't want to bet on something that's truly meaningful to him, like love. Jake, meanwhile, feels the same way about bullfights! He sees them as living on the edge of death, containing a passion and intensity that make them beyond money (unlike most other things in his life).
That night they get a card from Brett, saying they've stopped in San Sebastian. Jake, jealous and angry, spitefully tells Cohn that they send their regards. The men decide to get the earliest bus the next morning so that they can to the fishing.
Jake was amused at Cohn's nervousness, but when Brett doesn't show his own jealousy comes out and he lashes out at Cohn to make himself feel better. As their Brett-induced jealousy intensifies, so does their need to escape into nature.
Later, Cohn announces that he has decided he won't leave with them. In a confidential tone, he tells Jake that he is afraid that he gave Brett the impression that he would meet them at San Sebastian. Jake thinks that Cohn is finding pleasure in sharing the knowledge that something happened between him and Brett.
Cohn's insecurity about Brett leads him to tell himself a story that he is actually the reason she stayed in San Sebastian. Jake, meanwhile, thinks that Cohn is enjoying trying to torture him. The Brett-driven competition is intensifying.
Back at the hotel, Bill says that Cohn told him all about the date with Brett, which makes Jake angry. Bill comments that the funny thing about Cohn is that he may be awful but he's also very nice. They laugh about it. Jake says Brett went with him because she can't be alone. Bill marvels at the things people do. He wonders why women don't choose him because he has such an honest face. Then he looks into the mirror and changes his mind. Finally, Jake and Bill decide to unite in their current dislike of Cohn, and reconfirm their plans to go fishing and have a good time.
The men are insecure about everything—Jake about Brett, Bill about his own looks. Yet Bill has a penetrating insight about Cohn. Cohn is nice! His awfulness is not about him being a bad person, it has more to do with how his insecurities are so obvious that it makes the other men have to face their own hidden insecurities. And that makes the other men dislike him. Going into nature stands as a refuge for Bill and Jake from all this social mayhem and sadness.