Monday, 14 May 2012


Day 18 - 10.05.12 Santander

We awake in Laredo to find workmen cordoning off the top of the road we’re parked on.  They’re painting markings on the road so we rush to get the van into a state for driving and nip down the road to a small car-park we’d spotted the night before.  After getting ourselves ready properly we hit the road for Santander via a picnic lunch in a rest stop beside the Cantabrian hills.

We park up at a car park alongside one of the quieter beaches.  Santander is a balmy 34 degrees, a big increase on recent daily highs of 24 degrees.  The sun feels incredibly strong too so we do what we can to stay in the shade on our way into town. 

We’ve had a continuing problem with the van since part-way through France.  The fan seems to be working intermittently causing the van to run at high temperatures and need frequent breaks.  We’ve come to Santander to look for a garage to check this problem over for us, hoping that it’s just that the fan is jammed or the connections are faulty.  We find a decent looking place and agree to bring the van in the following day. 

Santander, Northern Spain
We’ve been to Santander before and didn’t think a lot of the place to be honest.  It just has no personality as a city.  There’s no definable centre to it and no real major attractions of great note.  The city was massively damaged by fires in 1941 and lost many of its grand and historic buildings.  It’s just more of a working city than a seaside town but it lacks the vibrancy of similar seaside cities like Barcelona.  Most of the people here seem pretty grumpy and the drivers are just awful! 

Santander beach, beside the Picos de EuropaIt has to be said though that the coastline is great, the beaches are huge and very clean.  The real beauty comes from the Picos de Europa in the background framing the beaches against snow-capped mountains.  The side of town near our car park is a little less manic and much nicer than the main part of town.  We enjoy an early evening stroll along the beach front and feel a little more positive about the city.

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