The one down side to traveling by car in this part of Spain is the time spent on the road.
Today we are off to Santillana del Mar, breaking up the very long trip to San Sebastián by stopping at this picturesque village some 450kms from Santiago de Compestela for the night.
When you are planning these trips you look at the map and say ‘she’ll be right’, just down the road.
Non! A long way down…and up, the road.
Our trusty stead, a Corolla, was ok on the flat, but struggled up the hills.
Luckily the road system in Spain is great, and the scenery when we hit the coast was spectacular. Hills and valleys separated by flowing rivers, charming little villages dotted around, all terracotta and white washed walls! Incredible engineering…some of the bridges are mind boggling.
A word on the roads in Spain….plenty of tolls, easily manoeuvred, speed limits that don’t apply to Audi & BMW, trucks that stay in the outside lanes and never speed….or tailgate! Cars that overtake then quickly move to the outside, minimal indication required. Everyone knowing how it all works, and behaving accordingly. Little or no fuss.
Would never work in Australia!!
Our trip was uneventful, which can only be a good thing, and was broken up for lunch in a smallish town called Aviles.
We planned to find a little patisserie in town, but saw what we thought was a large shopping centre so pulled in to save time…it had free parking!
The shopping centre turned out to be a huge department store, with a Kmart come Safeway at one end.
The department store was great, enormous, chockers with bargains… perfect time to replenish the suitcase with some new clothes.
One years clothes shopping done in 30 minutes in Spain, too easy!
We celebrated by having a romantic lunch….in the carpark!!
Refreshed we pushed on and reached our destination by about 4.30pm, happy to be out of the car, and to find a free car spot right outside our hotel.
Car parking costs are a hidden killer!
Our hotel was very quaint, an old 1850’s palace that had avoided the renovators touch with considerable success.
Actually it was perfect for a pit stop, right next to the historic town centre.
Santillana del Mar is regarded as one of the, if not the prettiest villages in Spain. Time seems to have stopped still, sometime just before the long winter in Westeros.
Very medieval, very Game of Thrones…..even has a museum dedicated to torture!!
Strangely, we found ourselves at a bar.
Later, a couple of bars later to be precise, we found a charming little restaurant for dinner.
Fixed price dinner…..alarm bells!!!
€15 for 2 courses, plus booze. What could possible go wrong?
Well….nothing, it was really good, including the wine.
€30 total for two courses plus a bottle of red; they’d go broke in a week at home.
Suitably refuelled, we wandered around this great little town, usually awash in tourists but pleasantly empty tonight.
A worthwhile stop over, a very pleasant dinner, and a most fascinating little town.