A short adventure in Santander, Cantabria

DSC_0531_01.jpgCantabria is a strip of land sandwiched between the state of Asturias and the autonomous Basque region in Northern Spain. It is a region that abounds in nature’s wealth. I had been traveling in Asturias for a while and decided to move to its neighboring state with some sadness in my heart because Asturias had been delightfully beautiful, the people had been so good, I had made new friends as well, but as I had read in a café, you have to keep moving forward to keep your balance, its just like riding a bicycle! So I proceeded to Santander, the capital of Cantabria from Llanes in Asturias, on a morning bus expecting to see more of this criminally under explored part of Spain.

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Santander is a bigger and a more modern city. Moving from rural Llanes to here was certainly a change. It is possible to do excursions from Santander into the mountains (the Cantabrian mountains) but it is much more convenient to stay closer to the mountains than in the city. I had been exploring a bit of the mountains the last few days in Asturias and this time I decided to just stick to the coast and explore nearby areas. It is surprisingly easy to see the ocean here and I had already had plenty of glimpses of the same on my bus ride. The waterfront of this city is absolutely gorgeous. It is wonderful to take a stroll along the promenade where the whole city seems to come to life.  I was lucky with the weather and treated myself to fantastic (and generous portions of) gelato while basking in the mild sun as I felt the wafts of sea breeze on my face . An absolutely charming experience! But I am sure, even if the weather weren’t great, the dramatic skies would have only added to the distinct beauty of the rugged coastline and I wouldn’t have skipped the gelato regardless.

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The weather, as is its proclivity, does change; but to better visualize the coast, I ventured to take a ferry ride into the Cantabrian sea which many ducked out of in the last minute. The sea is part of the Atlantic and has a very Mediterranean look about it and it is not uncommon to see crowded beaches. The sea was harsh that day though and I did not see any surfers in action although a few did ply on the beaches. The turbulent sea and the sparsely populated ferry made it even more adventurous for me as my ferry maneuvered deftly and wound along the popular Somo beach, the light house and offered beautiful views of the gorgeous Magdalena palace which was the summer getaway of Spanish royalty and the exquisite coastline, all offered magical views of the along the port city. It is possible to halt at all these places and take the next ferry back into the city too.

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The city itself offers plenty to do over a weekend. A very walkable city, apart from the above mentioned places for exploration, there are quite a few museums including some interesting ones like the bull fighting museum, maritime museum or for the ones of the outdoorsy kind, the city is just an hour away from the mountains anyway. There are also beautiful quaint villages nearby for the culturally interested or if not in a mood to do anything, one can just laze around on any of the beautiful beaches, watching the skies and the sea merge in the horizon.

 

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