Saturday, 30 August 2014

From Basque country to Cantabria

I hope you've watched my video on The Oma Forest, published in the previous post. It's a sense of impotence I get whenever I feel like I've accomplished something wonderful and want to shout it to the world and the world doesn't share my enthusiasm... Never mind, I'm sure plenty of others go through the same situation... I think of the masters of the past, whose works had gone unnoticed until long after their deaths... Not that I would dare to compare myself with them, but, still, I take comfort. ;-)

Urdaibai Nature Reserve, Basque country
Urdaibai Nature Reserve
Today, the destination was to be Asturias. Breakfast was served in the garden on a cool sunny morning. It was nice... I do not get the chance to breakfast in the open often and situations such as this remind me that I'm on holiday. I'm travelling. And I felt a tang of regret of not being able to stay here for more than this past night, of not having had more time to spend in the Oma Forest, of not being able to just walk leisurely in the open fields, in spite of my hay fever!

So, we set out towards the coast. The car felt good as we headed south first, then north-west. Passing Bilbao, we eventually caught sight of the sea, hit a stretch of coastal road, back inland again, until we arrived at our first scheduled stop - Laredo.

Wow. I wasn't expecting this. It has a beach that stretches to 7 km at high tide, so it shouldn't have surprised me to find that Laredo was very built up. A typical Spanish resort town. Lots of people. Even the beach looked full, so you can imagine how it was. I had no urge to stay longer then necessary. Stretched my legs for a bit, decided that our bowels could handle another stretch, and we moved on.

Cantabria is quite small. Before long, we were approaching Santander. I was caught by surprise. Got in touch with my friend, Noreen, to see if we could meet up but it turned out she was in Astillero. Oh, Asti what? Ok, fine, I diverted, drove on, came to a crossroad, and, hey, guess what. Typical situation here in Spain. No signs. By this time the GPS was going all haywire, confused by my constant deviations from the programmed route.

A piece of advice. Multiple destinations on Google Maps don't work so well. If I were to do another trip like this, I'd programmed each destination separately. I'd been sent the wrong way too many times on this trip. If you have someone doing the navigating, it may not be so bad, but if you're driving and have to be navigating at the same time, it can get complicated. Mind you, using the traditional map would have been far worse for me! Dangerous, even!

Anyway, to cut the story, I didn't get to meet Noreen. We headed on to Santander, drove around several times until we eventually spotted a car park. Headed there, got lucky, left the car. If Laredo was busy, what about Santander? Took a short walk around, and I actually found Santander quite attractive, and decided to have lunch here. We need to get to Asturias, remember? And I don't want to arrive too late. Haha, what a joke, right?

Sat down in a place called La Bodega, in Calle Joaquín Costa. Santander in August was terribly busy. Every place was full. We'd chosen to sit in the "terrace", which was basically a few high stools on the pavement. We were told in no uncertain terms that we could only sit there if were having a proper lunch. Tact was something the waitress didn't have.

Anyway, we didn't feel like walking off to find another place, so we sat, ordered a few tapas and off we went. Food was edible, no more. I'm sure Santander has far better places to offer. We had little time. There were still a few more places we would like to see before we get to our eventual destination.

Name: La Bodega
Address: Calle Joaquin Costa, 41, 39005 Santander
Type: restaurant, bar, tavern
Verdict: Walk on by!