Monday, October 17, 2011

Cantabria, My True Love

This weekend I fell in love with the northern coast of Spain.  Nobody really ever mentions the northern coast, but it is the loveliest place I've ever been.  Imagine Appalachia in springtime on the coast of a beautiful sea.  But you won't have to imagine because I am about to show you all the pictures you ever wanted to see!  (Maybe more!)

There is a P.E. teacher at our school who is so friendly and has invited us on trips with her.  She said, "Hey I'm going to Santander this guys want to ride with me?"  And we said, "YES!"  And ain't that the way it should be?!  So we hitched a ride with her and she dropped us off in the tiny village of Santillana del Mar.  The Spanish call this the town of the "tres mentiras" (three lies) because there is no saint there, it is not "llana" (flat) and it is not near the "mar" (sea).  Despite these lies, it is such a lovely town.  Farm animals grazing on the verdant countryside and quaint shops lining the 15th century cobblestone streets.  The people of this town like their cheese stinky and their cider STRONG!  Cabrales cheese is particular to this area of Spain and let me tell you, that is some stanky cheese.  It puts blue cheese to shame.  Annie and I saw everyone drinking the local cider called "sidra" made in this area and wondered why the waiters poured so little in the glass.  However, after we tried the sidra ourselves we had no more questions.  WHEW!  That stuff will put hair on your chest!  It is made from fermented apples and they can't get enough of it in Santillana del Mar.  Here are some pictures from our stay there.  I was actually depressed the whole time because it was so beautiful and I knew I could never ever capture the beauty on my camera to share with you all.  But I tried:

Didn't actually go inside the Torture Museum but it makes for a good picture!

Random beautiful courtyard.

A pretty church with the bones of a saint inside.  Who'da thunk it?

Typical charming buildings in Santillana.

Omg I'm going to puke it's SO CUTE!

I hate horses in America but I love this Spanish horse.

Cantabrian countryside.

Hate olives in America but these Spanish olives are so yummy! Can't beat the wine here either!

From Santillana del Mar we went to Santander which actually is on the sea.  It is a popular place for Spaniards to spend their summers and a lot of Brits come over on an overnight ferry to get their tan on.  Santander has a free bike rental system which is the best.  You put a deposit on your credit card to rent one but if you return it at the end of the day, it is free!!  So Annie and I cycled around the sidewalks of Santander and explored all of the lovely beaches.  It was a sunny day with hardly a cloud in the sky.  I seriously wish I could have hired a person to ride behind me blasting "Walking on Sunshine" on a boombox throughout my day.  It was perfect.  We hit the beaches and then stopped for a chorizo bocadillo.  After lunch we returned our bikes, got some ice cream and then went for a boat tour around the harbor.  Here are some pictures from our comically great day in Santander:

My free bicycle!

Love these little statue boys!  Also, they don't believe in guard rails in Santander.

There is another one of those statues on top of this huge sea rock.

Eating ice cream by the sea.  This is pure joy on my face.

Way too pretty to actually exist.

Just chilling on this beautiful sea rock.  No biggie.



I was too cold on the boat tour to take pictures so I will just leave that to your imagination.  The next day we went to Comillas which is a little village on the sea.  The way the mountains jut into the sea is spectacular.  Google image this town because my camera died before I could take pictures of the coastline.  Antoni Gaudi (a super famous Spanish modernista architect) built a super whimsical house in this town.  It is called "El Capricho" and we took a tour.  After our tour of his house we went to an old cemetery that overlooks the sea.  The view is breathtaking and I want to know what a girl's gotta do to get buried in an awesome place like that.  After touring the cemetery (kind of weird, right?) we went to a cafe that overlooks the beach and got "rabas".  Rabas, delicious fried calamari, is a common dish in this area of the country.  Here are some pictures from Comillas that I was able to get before my camera died:

The sun was directly in the background, but this is "El Capricho" built by Gaudi in the late 1800s.

Hanging out with good old Gaudi.

This is the cemetery with the beaaauuutiful views in the background.

So, that concludes my weekend in Cantabria.  I miss Appalachia this time of year the most but Cantabria filled that void a tiny bit.  You all need to go to these places immediately.  It is a thing you need to put on your bucket list.  Maybe you can skip the eating of the stinky cheese.  But the rest is a must!  Not sure where my next trip will take me but I'll be sure to fill you in on all the lovely details.

Adios, y'all!


  1. you look like a mermaid on those rocks, I can picture you in your halloween costume on them...also, I dont really believe you wrote this, because there is clearly no way you would ever like a horse.

  2. I am very jealous. What a beautiful little corner of the world.

  3. I want to be there!!! Save some good visits for us!!!! This is a great post! Love you!

  4. Thank you Sarah! These are beautiful and I am writing these places down for my bucket list! I am so happy you are taking this all in and absorbing every moment! Keep em coming! XOXO