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

May 18, 2024

In Santillana: Day Two

With remarkable prescience I wake up this morning to a dream that our friend BobinVT had provided the solution to the problem with my iPad’s inability to access MSN and download our documents from OneDrive.  Before even getting out of bed I open up the iPad to check the mail and am bemused to find that a lifeline from Bob actually did arrive in the night, filled with several promising suggestions.  None are pertinent to the actual situation unfortunately, but I shortly discover that the issue is now moot.  The disabling symptom mysteriously disappeared overnight as mysteriously as it arrived.  What wonderful news to start the day with!

So next I check in on the weather, which the night before had forecast a showery day unconducive to an outing; but the news here is upbeat also.  It looks now like the rains won’t arrive until two or three in the afternoon, by which time we’d be back from our morning adventures and sitting down to lunch somewhere.  Excellent!

Rachael’s been awake this whole time also and sharing my elation over these happy discoveries, but we’re both brought down to earth by tomorrow’s forecast.  It still looks quite poor, as it has for most of the last week, and unfortunately it’s a travel day - to Santander, and the ferry the day after.  It’s only about a twenty-five mile ride from here but it’s a lumpy one that won’t be much fun in the rain.  Rachael’s on her second cup of coffee now and doing her own research while I’m studying the map again looking for the best route to Santander.   She sees there’s a bus possible but even if it took bikes it requires a transfer and looks impractical.  We discuss whether we should try to stay here another night, write off the cost our hotel booking in Santander, and bike tomorrow when the weather presumably will be better - we have a late afternoon ferry departure so we’d have time to bike in for it.   

And then she asks if there isn’t a train.  The train doesn’t come to Santillana, but to humor her I check it out and am stunned by what I find: Santander has a bike-friendly Cercanías network!  It never occurred to me to look for this possibility, which we’ve used in several other Spanish cities by now.  I see that there’s a stop only six miles away that leaves hourly throughout the day; and then I see there’s an stop even closer - barely four miles away, and nearly all downhill.  

I raise my arms in glee, give her a big hug for asking the right question, and then celebrations begin.  Let’s see, we ask each other - would we rather bike up and down hills in the rain for about three hours (one or two of which look steep enough that we might be walking them) or coast down to the nearest train stop during a break in the weather, have a coffee, and just wait to board the next train?  We’re giddy, almost hysterical as we revel in this string of very good news.  It’s very therapeutic, clears the system.

And a therapy session is called for as it happens, so the timing is perfect.  I didn’t mention it at the time but I experienced a rare morale crisis biking back from my ride yesterday.  It took me completely by surprise when something about the terrain reminded me of our many rides in the West Hills and over into Washington County.  For years - for decades really - we would routinely go out on 30 to 50 mile rides here and down in Salem after work or on weekends.  We were strong, we were much younger, and we didn’t give it much thought or doubt our capabilities.

It’s no news or any big brain flash that those incredible years aren’t coming back again, but for whatever reason I’m hit by the reality of it in a different way today and I bike home through this splendid countryside with an atypically heavy heart.  It puts a damper on lunch when I try to explain what happened with me this morning but keep having to cut myself off because I can’t finish my sentences.  It doesn’t last long though - I’m an incorrigible optimist by nature, we’re incredibly and unreasonably lucky and have wonderful lives, and it doesn’t take long to put things back in perspective again.  

I was fine already anyway - a good cleansing of the system every decade or so is therapeutic too - but this morning’s string of upbeat news really elates us both.  An old favorite standard comes to mind, and I find myself whistling it off and on for the rest of the day.

On that note, we make the best of the morning.  Rachael takes a long out and back walk to the southeast, which for reasons known only to herself she returns with few photos from.  I take up the slack for the team though, bringing back more than my share from my looping ride northeast to Suances, a coastal resort at the mouth of the Saja River.

All in a good day’s work. Compare this with yesterday’s shot from the same spot.
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There’s a story here. My timing was off, but right before this a cattle egret strode across the grass in front of them, attracting the colt’s attention.
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The ride begins with a climb over the ridge just north of town, lifting me up for a broader view. Santillana is tucked around the corner in the depression.
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Keith AdamsI could've sworn Hobbiton Hill was in Middle Earth but obviously I'd have been wrong, as it's clearly right there in northern Spain.
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4 weeks ago
Still climbing. Its a quiet road this morning, although a half dozen or more bikes are sharing it with me.
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Same hill, different cows.
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An uncommonly good look at a common buzzard. He just landed on this line and is trying to stabilize his position as it sways from his weight.
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A captive audience.
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Dropping to Santa Justa Beach, the spot Rachael walked to yesterday.
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Tucked into the rocks beside the sea, Santa Justa hermitage makes an evocative sight. Rachael had a shot of this in yesterday’s slideshow, but it’s nice to be able to zoom in on it.
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Kathleen JonesI’ll say here what I said out loud at the video: what the heck? How many times do you think they re-roofed? I was unable to figure out why they built there. And are those solar panels? Impressive optimism.
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1 month ago
Scott AndersonTo Kathleen JonesGood observation! I saw those too nd forgot about them, but look at the doorway also. It’s open, and someone’s inside. The guy outside even looks like a monk. They’re doing something with this here, maybe developing it as a tourism resource. I’ve looked at recent photos of the place and I think the solar panels are new.
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1 month ago
Two bugs.
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Steve Miller/GrampiesMaybe a kind of a mining bee, and a flower longhorn beetle?
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1 month ago
Scott AndersonTo Steve Miller/GrampiesWhat, you’re taking over for Bill now?
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1 month ago
Steve Miller/GrampiesThe difference between me and Bill is that I have no idea what I am talking about. But it seemed there was a vacuum of info here, triggered by the evocative label "two bugs".
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1 month ago
Scott AndersonActually, you done good. It’s a trick caption, because neither is a true bug. One’s a fly, the other’s a beetle. Nicely done!

So what’s the plant?
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1 month ago
It’s startling how much color there is in some animals if you get a good look at them.
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a painstaking restoration project, Tagle.
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I’d mapped myself to stay on the paved roads to the mouth of the river at Suances, but on impulse I decided to try this unpaved route around the headland. The Garmin says I can get through. The Garmin is wrong though, at least for this guy and this bike. The road ends at a nearly invisible trail that drops down a cliff, so I just turn back.
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At least I got this nice view of Ballota Point for my efforts.
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In the other direction, a view across the mouth of the Saja River.
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Near the mouth of the river now, looking back along the coast at Ballota Point.
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Looking across the bay, with the channel where the river cuts through visible on the far side of the beach. To the right is the town of Suances, the most important tourism resort on this part of the coast. It looks like it would be a nice place to stay for a few days, and has smoother streets than stony Santillana.
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At the mouth of the Saja River. It’s not too clear from this shot but the tide is coming in and there are significant waves in the channel. Off to the left outside the frame, surfers are riding the waves into the mouth of the river.
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Suances also has this very nice bike path for several miles along the river.
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And it looks like it would be an excellent birding spot under the right conditions. Not today though. Maybe it’s better when the tide is going out, or later in the day. There are a few additions to the year’s list though.
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#236: Whimbrel. This was a lucky accident. I didn’t even see them up at the top and was just taking a shot of the gulls. Pretty unmistakeable bird though - with that curved beak you can’t really confuse a whimbrel with anything else.
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#237: Eurasian spoonbill.
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Still following the bike path.
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Common shelduck, another striking bird if you get the right look.
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At the industrial port at Hinojedo, at the end of the bike path. This is the remains of the terminal used for exporting zinc ore from the nearby mines.
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At Hinojedo.
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At Hinojedo.
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#238: Whinchat.
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I think this is the small Mesa between Hinojedo and its port, with the river passing behind it. I earned this shot by hike/biking up a 13% gravel lane, on the most direct but probably not the fastest way back to town.
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Returning just in time. The rains will arrive in about half an hour.
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An excellent ride, and one that ended just in time.  I got back to the apartment about twenty minutes before rains commenced, which gave us just time to walk to La Villa for lunch before it began.  We were one of the first customers seated, and the ones that followed arrived folding their umbrellas.

They didn’t time their day quite as well as we did.
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Today's ride: 20 miles (32 km)
Total: 1,597 miles (2,570 km)

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