In Santillana: Day One - The Seven Year Itch - CycleBlaze

May 17, 2024

In Santillana: Day One

We’re in luck, and the weather looks fine this morning.  Rachael plans a walk and I’ll hop on the bike, with us both planning to be back by around one for lunch.  Rachael finds another route for herself on Wikilocs, this one an easy walk to the coast to Santa Justa Beach and back.  A small outing of barely ten miles, but one with steep hills, many cows and goats, and stunning views when she finally makes it to the coast.

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For myself, I’ve drawn up a loop west along the coast nd back, thinking I’ll surely see a new bird along the beaches somewhere.  We’re in the north though and I expect to see some gulls or terns that don’t make it further south.

I don’t though.  I think I see exactly one gull, way off soaring above the bay in the distance.  There’s more to life than birds though, and the steady stream of knockout views are a fair consolation prize.  Especially interesting is Comillas, a small town with a remarkable architectural legacy.  In the second half of the 19th century it was one of the most distinguished seaside resorts in northern Spain, and the summer resort of the Spanish king and other royalties.  And in an odd historical quirk, Comillas was the capital of Spain for exactly one day, on August 6th, 1881.

It’s a hilly ride that fills the morning and tires the legs, but I make it back in time for lunch, just a few minutes after Rachael.  We walk the terrible streets of Santillana toward the Plaza Major, rhink8ng we’ll go to that same restaurant we planned on for yesterday, but we see a menu that attracts us on the way and stop short again.

Later, while it’s raining outside I spend an amusing afternoon and evening wondering what the hell has gone wrong with my iPad.  Not fun.

Before leaving for the ride I go around to the back to get my bike from the shed and say good morning to our shaggy neighbor. I can’t tell if he even saw me.
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The exit through town is a mess while we’re here because the street is torn up for a new restoning project. I can’t believe they’re not taking the opportunity to convert this horror to asphalt.
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Karen PoretTradition !
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1 month ago
Rich FrasierI think this paving is often used in city centers for traffic calming.
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1 month ago
It’s not long until I’m out of town and biking though gorgeous but hilly countryside. Were so lucky to be getting a break in the weather so we can see it!
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Rolling along a ridge a few hundred feet above the sea. In the far left the village of Cóbreces catches my attention for its striking, unusual church.
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Approaching Cóbreces.
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The Church of San Pedro, in Cóbreces. It’s striking because it is so unlike the other church architecture in the region and looks like a structure you might see in France or Germany. In fact it’s fairly modern, built in th3 late 1800’s in the French neo-gothic style,
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Next to the church is another modern neo-gothic construction. This one is a Trappist monastery, but was originally a Cistercian abbey when opened in 1910.
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Dropping toward the sea, accompanied by a steady stream of peregrenistas. We’re on the Northern Way here, the route that originates in the Basque Country near San Sebastián and follows the coastline the whole way. It looks like it must be a spectacular route.
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Looking out toward the Bay of Biscay.
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Looking southwest, toward what must be the Picos de Europa.
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The hermitage of Our Lady of Remedies stands in a remarkable position, with wonderful views to the sea and mountainous interior.
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The inlet below the hermitage.
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Crossing the next headland, the beach at Comillas comes into view.
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In Comillas, the impressive Comillas Pontifical University, founded in 1890.
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Beyond Comillas now, I continued along the sea past a few more headlands before doubling back.
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This really would be an amazing walk along the whole Spanish north coast. One idyllic vista after another.
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Same inlet, closer look.
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Doubling back through Comillas we get another view of that university.
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Still in Comillas is Palacio de Sobrillano, the Marqués de Comillas’ summer palace built in 1888. It’s good to be the Marqués. I wonder where he went south for the winter.
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And just across the street from the palace is this remarkable structure, El Capricho.
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El Capricho was built in 1883-1885, intended to be the summer residence for a wealthy client who unfortunately died before its completion.
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The architect? Gaudi, in one of his earlier works, at the same time he took over construction of the Sagrada Familia. Just something he knocked off in his spare time apparently.
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Karen PoretHence, the term “Gaudy”…;)
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1 month ago
It’s market day in Comillas. If I didn’t have my own lunch date to get back to town for I could have stopped and looked around.
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Today's ride: 25 miles (40 km)
Total: 1,577 miles (2,538 km)

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