Thursday 23rd November 2017
You can always tell when you have had a good day by the number of photos you have taken. 71 today! It was a great day.
We decided to head off to the small island that I mentioned in my last blog. After a light breakfast with the largest crust on a slice of bread I have ever seen
we jumped into the car and drove the 10k. The road was great and ran along the coast again. We pulled over a couple of times to photograph the views down the coast.
We then found the parking area to visit the island taking a few photos from its elevated position.
Now we are not shy in walking but Angie is still nursing a cold she has had for nearly 6 weeks and whilst it was lovely and warm in the sunshine the shade had us reaching for our jackets. The walk was just under 2k and about 1k of that was straight down the cold windy and shaded mountain side to sea level. We Um’d and Ar’d for a few mins before deciding that the view from the top was the best, and one rocky outcrop is much of a muchness as another. With a journey ahead of us spending a few hours traipsing up and down a hillside was low on our priorities. The Spanish love a saint and especially the Mara-donna . In the early 1960’s they commissioned a 20ft high solid brass statue of the Virgin Mary and having had it made, spent an inordinate amount of effort and planning and then immediately took it out to sea and sunk it under 63ft of sea water anchoring it to the sea bed to never be seen again by the naked eye unless you have an aqualung. – WHY?
Anyway enough of silly saint worship rituals. We had a two hour drive ahead of us and a mountain to cross.
The road out of Bermeo to Bilbao was of superb quality and excepting one fairly tight hairpin bend uneventful. The motorway links around Bilbao were testing and as chaotic as the Spanish drivers. Angie following in the smart car and with no sat nav and being my rear guard must have wondered what was going on when I changed to one lane then back again and then back once more, however after we got on the A8 it was plain sailing and the Spanish Autovia’s are fantastic to drive on.
We arrived at the “Bigged up” Prettiest town in Spain at about 3pm and having parked in what appeared to be our private car park we walked into town to check it out and what all the raving was about. Well it certainly lied in three ways, Santillanna Del Mar literally means saint (Santi) flat (llama) by the sea (Del Mar). It is non of the above but apart from the three lies it is very very pretty and like stepping back in time. Even the Santander Branch has no red branding on it. Every time we turned a corner another cobbled street oozed character and history. In 1575 the town was one of the first to have a town planning policy strictly governing what was built. What that means is the town is a gorgeous muddle of golden stone dwellings with wooden or wrought iron balconies with flowers flowing off of them and embedded coats of arms in the walls, all set around a myriad of cobbled streets and a 12th century monastery. The town is big enough to be interesting but small enough to walk in its entirety in a few hours.
We sat outside a small taverna and had a couple of tapas. I had a small beer and Angie had an enormous Pink gin who’s glass and colour matched her outfit perfectly, (She was always one for co-ordinating her accessories but this takes it to a whole new level) all for the pricey sum of £9.
We returned to our private car park (The Aire GPS n43.38895 w 004.10721 is right in the centre has no facilities but it’s free) only to find that another motorhome has turned up.
Tomorrow we aim to go to the Altamira museum 1k down the road and see the replica of the Neolithic cave paintings of Bison and other animals that I first learnt about at Junior school some 40+ years ago. The original cave has been closed to the general public for many years now (so this is the best we can get) to save the paintings for future generations who also probably won’t be able to see them either as they will still being saved for their future generations. What’s that all about!!