After lunch we continued our stroll to the handsome old town of Castro Urdiales where the Town Hall stands adjacent to the immaculate main square next to what was the original tiny harbour that was sheltering behind its protective stone walls.
Around the harbour side women were working under parasols repairing fishing nets and past the fish market at the far end of the harbour a set of weathered stone steps took us up to castle which stands on an elevated rocky outcrop. We made the tour of the restored fortress and then walked around the outside of the impressive medieval parish church, the Iglesia de Santa Maria de la Asuncion, which had the external appearance of a much grander cathedral.
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Posted in Arts and Crafts, Cantabria, Europe, History, Natural Environment, Spain, Travel, World Heritage
Tagged Basque Country, Cantabria, Castro Urdiales, Eroski, Liendo, Life, Photography, Travel
When it comes to taking pictures I like doors, statues, balconies and washing lines, Kim on the other hand likes people pictures so I thought I might share a few of them with you.
This one was taken in the Spanish village of Carmona in Cantabria…
Carmona is a delightfully quaint village with tiny cobbled streets with wild flower verges and where sunlight spilled into the dark corners of the workshops where traditional wood carvers were busy making customary products of cattle yokes, sandals, clogs, canes, and cutlery which, I am told, are distinctive to rural Cantabria.
I say that in a slightly cynical way because I got the impression that there isn’t really a great deal of tradition here and that whilst a man was busy whittling wood in an open barn for the benefit of the tourists there was probably a factory somewhere full of modern drills and lathes where the products for sale were being produced for sale to the coach loads of visitors who visit daily.
Click on an image to scroll through the Gallery…
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Posted in Arts and Crafts, Cantabria, Europe, History, Natural Environment, Postcards, Spain, Travel, World Heritage
Tagged Bárcena Mayor, Burgos, Cantabria, Cantabrian Mountains, Carmona, Castilla y Leon, Santillana del Mar
It is now nine months without travelling and holidays so I have had plenty of time to look back at some of my old posts. On 9th December 2008 I was in the delightful town of Santillana Del Mar in Cantabria in Northern Spain.
On the final morning of the visit the weather proved to be a disappointment, I could hear rain on the window as I started to stir and when I did the weather check I could only report back that the sky was grey and it was drizzling. At breakfast our host confirmed the worst and informed us that the forecast was gloomy all day so we decided that it was probably a good day to go and do something undercover and perhaps visit a museum.
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Posted in Beaches, Cantabria, Europe, History, Literature, Natural Environment, Postcards, Spain, Travel, World Heritage
Tagged Altamira, Cantabria, Cave Paintings, Flintstones, Santillana de Mar, Travel, Upper Paleolithic period
I am sharing with you some of my favourite places in Spain; I started with Santillana del Mar in Cantabria and close by are the mountain villages of Bárcena Mayor and Carmona.
After an hour or so we left the main road and took a minor route into the mountains where the fields became smaller, the grass became greener and the sky seemed a great deal closer as we drove past verges of wild flowers sheltering under the dry stone walls, soaring buzzards and occasional herds of the horses of Cantabria as we climbed high into the clouds, way above the snow line with strips of ice clinging defiantly to the crevices where the sun didn’t reach.
Bárcena Mayor is said to be the oldest town in Cantabria and was declared a historic-artistic site in 1979. Because of this designation it is now one of the most visited places in Cantabria as tour buses fill the road and the edge of town car park but it was quiet enough today and we walked through the pretty medieval stone streets and houses with wooden balconies and washing lines in a hanging mist which added to the character and the charm of the place.
Click on an image to scroll through the Gallery…
Posted in Arts and Crafts, Cantabria, Europe, History, Literature, Natural Environment, Spain, Travel, World Heritage
Tagged Bárcena Mayor, Burgos, Cantabria, Cantabrian Mountains, Carmona, Castilla y Leon, Saja-Besaya National Park, Santillana del Mar
“Le plus joli village d’Espagne” – Jean Paul Sartre
In my last post as I left Trujillo in Extremadura I made reference to my favourite places in Spain so I thought I might take some time to share these with you. I begin with Santillana del Mar in Cantabria, almost four hundred miles north of Trujillo and in a very different part of Spain.
Santillana del Mar is a most picturesque town and often appears in any top ten of best villages in Spain. This may of course have something to do with the fact that the French writer, philosopher and all-round clever dick, Jean Paul Sartre declared it to be the prettiest village in Spain, although I am not absolutely sure just how much of Spain he visited and just what he was comparing it with or how he came to this rather sweeping judgment. Perhaps it was just a lucky guess!
Click on an image to scroll through the gallery…
There is apparently an old saying that Santillana del Mar is The Town of Three Lies, since it is neither a Saint (Santo), nor flat (llana) and has no sea (Mar) as implied by the town’s name. However, the name actually derives from Santa Juliana (or Santa Illana) whose remains are in the kept in the Colegiata, a Romanesque church and former Benedictine monastery.
Posted in Cantabria, Cathedrals, Europe, History, Natural Environment, Postcards, Spain, Travel, World Heritage
Tagged Cantabria, Doorsof Spain, Extremadura, Green Spain, Northern Spain, Santillana del Mar, Spain UNESCO, Trujillo
Discovering the works of Antoni Gaudi in Barcelona reminded me of a visit to the town of Comillas in Cantabria in 2013 where there is a rare example of the work of the architect outside of Catalonia, a mansion called El Capricho complete with a signature tile clad tower, playful ceramic sunflowers and whimsical images of animals playing instruments.
It was built in 1883 for a nobleman who wanted an exotic villa in an oriental style and the really significant fact is that this was Gaudi’s very first commission. There was a €7 admission charge which was a bit of a shock but having walked all the way through the town to find the place we went through with the transaction and made the visit to the house and the gardens and we were glad that we did. Kim may have got tired of towers, castles and cathedrals but she remains comfortable with palaces and Gaudi it seems.
Posted in Arts and Crafts, Cantabria, Europe, History, Postcards, Spain, Travel, World Heritage
Tagged Antoni Gaudi, Barcelona, Cantabria, Comillas, El Capricho in Comillas, Modernist Architecture
“And thank God for home-sweet things, a green and friendly hill,
And red geraniums aflame upon my window sill.” – Martha Haskell Clark
Two pictures taken in the village of Bárcena Mayor in Cantabria in the far north of Spain. In Green Spain in the rain and the mist the geraniums are not quite so extravagant as in sun-burnt south, they do not bloom so freely but they have a rustic elegance nevertheless!
Posted in Arts and Crafts, Cantabria, Europe, History, Literature, Spain, Travel, World Heritage
Tagged Bárcena Mayor, Cantabria, Culture, Life, Spain Doors, Spain Windows, Window Boxes
Trying to understand the work of the Catalan artist is rather like pushing a supermarket trolley with a wonky wheel. It is all over the place!
I am not a great lover of the works of Dali I have to say, I wouldn’t hang one in my front room, but even I could appreciate the genius of most of this eclectic work that seemed to me to be the product of a mixed up mind as though its contents had spent some time in a food blender.
The museum is only small but is full to the brim with his art and sculpture, his illustrations and collections in a sort of wild and random style that he put together himself and probably comes closest to providing an insight into what it must have been like to be him with his head overflowing with ideas and creativity.
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Posted in Arts and Crafts, Cantabria, Cathedrals, Europe, History, Literature, Postcards, Spain, Travel, World Heritage
Tagged Art, Besalu, Catalonia, Catalonia Postcards, Culture, Figueres, Life, Salvador Dali, Sant Ferran Castle Figueres