SANTONA BY THE SEA FOR SEMANA SANTA
Trip Start Oct 05, 2009
325Trip End Oct 31, 2013
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JOURNEY: Intriago, Llanes, St Vicente de la Barquera, Comillas to Santona= 175 kms
WEATHER: Sunny, mid 20's by noon.
We said goodbye to the hotel crew and set off back to the coast road with a few towns marked on the map to visit on our way to our next destination-Santona. How do we pick the stops? Lonely Planet is good, local tourist information and locals themselves are a good source.
Tom-Tom our GPS has been great in getting to tricky places and saves a lot of time. The road back to the highway was a small country one and scenic with farms and green hills around.
First stop Llanes is a small town of 5000 people with a beach and a port. We learned that many Spanish films are made here because of the diversity of landscape. The contribution of the Indianos, the Spanish who went to South America, Cuba etc. and who returned with great fortunes in the early 20th century , is evident with large mansions and town infrastructure.
The sun made an appearance early afternoon as we walked the promenade and admired "The Cubes of Memory", the painted seawall blocks, a huge modern challenge for the artist.
The old city has the obligatory castle, church, tower and attractive stone work.
Next stop San Vicente de la Barquera, an estuary and fishing village which was very cute and once again there is an old town where you can find a castle and church. But our mind was on food, so we went where the crowds were eating, El Pescador and ordered squid, navajas (sand molluscs), potato fritters. We had noticed the navajas in various restaurants and decided today was the day to try them-they were ok but one try would be enough. It was lovely sitting outside, beside the water in the afternoon sun. Hard work being a traveller!
Comillas, our next destination was a must-see from everyone! It is mostly an old town with a smattering of the Indianos wealth; a fellow who made a tobacco fortune in Cuba returned in the late 19th century and commissioned architects to improve his town.
We tried to see the Capricho de Gaudi, a building commissioned by the above mentioned Indiano, but unfortunately you can only get to see the outside for 5 euros, paid at the gate or eat at the expensive restaurant that the building houses. We will wait to see the Gaudi masterpieces in Barcelona!
We walked up to the lookout with a good view of the pretty beach and harbour and decided that it was time to set out for Santona where our hosts were waiting for us to hand over keys to our apartment there.
Mariano and his wife showed us through the spacious 2 bedroom apartment and gave us a tour of the town. We were grateful for their orientation but frankly we were tired and happy to be left alone to explore. We will stay here a week to have a base for exploring this area during the busy holiday season of Holy Week and we are happy with the airbnb accommodation once again.
Semana Santa, Holy Week/Easter is very important in Spain; in some ares like Seville, it is almost hysterical! We encountered a few processions and a festive ambience!