Spain, Basque Country, Cantabria and Asturias - Story of my trip to Spain


TRIP TO SPAIN

Basque Country, Cantabria and Asturias: the crisp air of Atlantic Spain

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"From looking at you so much and again, from the horizon to the sand,
slowly, from the snail to the clouds,
shine after shine,
astonishment after astonishment,
I gave you a name; the eyes
they attributed it to you, looking at you ... ».

Thus begins one of the most famous poems by Gerardo Diego, a citizen of Santander, on whose beautiful promenade there is a statue of him, "sitting" on a bench with his face facing the ocean, contemplating the beauties that we too have had a way discover during our comings and goings to the Atlantic coast.

Yes, because strong winds and gray clouds, the foam of the ocean waves and the low flight of the seagulls, green meadows and high and white cliffs, fjords and colorful fishing boats ... could be the typical elements of any country in northern Europe, and instead what we are going to tell you, is our short journey in the "hot, torrid and dusty" land of Spain .... which here radically changes its connotations, coloring itself with green and blue.

We spent 12 days visiting a part of the Atlantic coast of Northern Spain, 5 wandering among villages and beaches, and the rest in some cities; once the games were over, an extra couple of days available for the first part would have been much appreciated.

Technical Info

Travel period: August 16 - August 28, 2009.

Weather conditions: temperatures from 14 to 31 degrees, in general always very pleasant; alternation of splendid sunny days with hours of constant rain, windy noises.

The Autovia del Cantabrico is free, but only in some sections it is a motorway. For many kilometers you travel in one lane in each direction, there are very low limits, you pass intersections and roundabouts, so do the math well. for shifts!

Car rental: with Europecar (through GlobelCars broker: 173.00 euros including insurance, total coverage of GlobelCars, fortunately not used), collection at Santander airport, return at San Sebastian airport (no extra charge paid for "one way" rental).

Accommodations used

(price per night): Hosteria Los Sauces (outside Santander): very small room, good buffet breakfast, owners a little dry. 50 euros each with breakfast
Hotel Restaurant Prau Riu (Llanes): a little spartan, but the owner is very nice and helpful. 35 euros per person with breakfast (not buffet)
Hotel La Casona de Lupa (Cudillero): excellent 4-star hotel just outside the town, with an excellent buffet breakfast. 35 euros each with buffet breakfast.
Hotel Porto de Rinlo (Porto de Rinlo): small and clean, nice room, breakfast not buffet. 30 euros each with breakfast La casa de Madera (Mungia): it is unb & b, very nice and large room, very kind owner. 33 euros per head with breakfast
Pension Belles Artes (San Sebastian): great little pension, excellent owners, clean and nice room. No breakfast. 43 euros each
Hotel Abando (Bilbao): good 4 stars, centrally located. Excellent buffet breakfast. Seconded staff. 36 euros each with breakfast. Hotel Silken Coliseum (Santander): good 4 stars, central. Great buffet breakfast. 60 euros per head with breakfast.

DAY 1

: Santander and its small airport welcome us on time on the evening of the first day, we retrieve our luggage and head towards the Europecar counter. Everything was regular, the broker with whom we booked the car (GlobelCars) proved to be very efficient, with a lot of emails reminding us of the reservation a couple of days before leaving. They give us a super-marked C3 (we waste time x highlighting a couple of other scratches), and we head straight to the first hotel. By now the evening has fallen, we walk through the slow-moving city a bit empty (due to some small problems with our navigator), until we find the right exit to get to our destination. The Los Sauces hotel is a few km outside the city. ', isolated. The owners are talking to other Spanish customers, and they make us wait 5 minutes with the suitcases in hand, until they decide without too many niceties to give us our room: it looks like the smurfs room, it is so small that we cannot open in 2. at the same time as the suitcases, there is a sofa that unnecessarily takes up space. It does not matter, it is late as they no longer serve dinner, we go back to Santander to look for a fast food still open .... for now the "vaunted" Spanish nightlife, there seems to be no trace.

DAY 2:

We have been full since the previous evening, and we do not enjoy too much the beautiful buffet breakfast that is presented to us, but we immediately understand that here, if you ask for coffee in the morning without specifying anything, you will get our latte! In addition, the default tea is served with milk, in perfect English style. Outside it is a bad day, gray and drizzly, forecasts say it will improve in the afternoon. Let's hope! Attracted by the photos of an information booklet in the hotel, we take an unscheduled detour to the coast east of Santander, waiting for the weather to improve. If nothing else, the 16 degrees that are here, do not make us regret the heat of our plain. For the whole morning we cross rather anonymous villages that overlook the bay of Santander, which can be glimpsed in front of us, gray and crammed with buildings and chimneys .... it does not seem to have a very inviting air. There are many beaches, some really huge in the presence of our Italians. And immediately we meet the first surfers ... they are kids who are part of one of the many schools in the area.

Slowly as you advance, the coast becomes more and more high and jagged, and landscaped much more interesting. We walk along small streets crossing green cultivated fields. There are a lot of cows, sheep and horses. It really feels like being in Scotland (and we also believe in Ireland, having never been there). The coast is of a wild beauty, there are several vantage points from which to admire the ocean. Unfortunately the rain starts again, this time without stopping. You see very little. Arriving in Santona, then also due to the timetable, we return to the motorway, pass through the busy Santander ring roads, and head towards Santillana delMar.

Costa Santander - Santona rating: 5.5

The rain gives us a respite, and we arrive in the crowded village where we find parking for the car in the municipal parking lot.

Santillana is really pretty, a small medieval gem teeming with tourists, who walk the few streets overlooked by beautiful palaces and ancient houses, many more or less interesting shops, up to the scenic square on which stands the splendid Collegiate Church of Santa Juliana.

There are several legends related to the facades of the houses in the town, and it is fun to turn with the nose upwards to discover new ones, more or less funny. We stop in a nice deli shop, and enjoy some excellent chocolate bars with very strange tastes .... we weren't even in Switzerland!

We like Santillana a lot, but the weather is not cheap and we are already late.

Santillana rating: 7.5

We leave the country to go to nearby Comillas, where in addition to some beautiful views of the beaches below, we take a look at Gaudi's only creation outside of Barcelona, ​​the Capriccio. Finding it is not easy, from the coast road there are not many indications, so we go into the narrow streets of the town, which deserves a more in-depth visit.

Today used as a restaurant, the Capriccio can still be visited externally, and there is a souvenir shop inside. The building is very particular, all covered with tiles with colorful designs and in the classic style of the artist.

We leave Comillas and take the Autovia del Cantabrico towards Llanes, where we find our room for the night.

We have several problems finding the Prau Riu hotel, which should be close to the highway exit, but due to work in progress, we have to take an incredible tour and we arrive only at 21:00 (thanks to the info left by a gentleman, otherwise we would never have gotten there). Luckily here the sun goes ananna late, you can still see very well, even if we are on the same Italian time zone. The very kind owner greets us and makes us sit in the room. A few minutes and we go down to the restaurant / pub of the hotel, where we have an abundant dinner.

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