Tapas and Estrella, Viva España! – Santillana del Mar

After a heavy crossing on the Plymouth – Santander ferry, the sea and wind dropped as we came into the lee of land. Those in dog friendly cabins we sent to the car deck an hour before in preparation for arrival. Lizzy and Lola seemed pleased to be back in familiar territory. After what felt like a long final hour, we disembarked into sunshine 🌞 and 24.5 degrees C and you could never imagine the storm we passed through had happened. Perhaps ignorantly, I had not expected the lively snow capped mountain backdrop in Santander, with green rolling hills and fields and beach edged shore.

Snow capped mountains from Santander

We followed the vehicle queues for passport control and pet check, finally able to stop there on the car park. We let Lizzy out to wonder, after her refusing to do her business onboard at all, expecting some urgent need, it again she refused to go on the tarmac car park. Animal Health certificate checked and no grass in the vicinity we decided to make the 20 min run to our first overnight stop in Spain at Santillana del Mar. Our first planned stop on the outskirts of town had 2m height barriers installed and building site nearby, after a brief stop on some grass for both dogs to relieve themselves followed by a well deserved happy dance. We moved to plan B to an in town car park with motorhome parking for 10€. We got great spot on our own in the beautifully preserved medieval town centre. With cobbled streets and many original buildings well preserved, we parked up and went for a wander.

We found a nice bar in the main plaza and grabbed ourselves a well earned beer. Kev was impressed and pleased to receive our free tortilla with cheese and ham tapas with our beers, famous in Spain and invented in this region. I had the odd sensation of seeing people sightseeing and going about their usual business that I did after our Atlantic crossing a few years ago, it’s seems odd everyone is going about normally when we had survived such a rough crossing of Biscay. Obviously others felt the same as there were two other couples we recognised from the ferry at the bar.

Keen to sample a meal out in the evening, we realised we would need to reacclimatise our usual UK early eating habits as the restaurants did not open until 8pm. So back to the van to feed the dogs and wait. However, it was worth the delay as we ended up in the Restaurant Gran Duque run by husband and wife with no additional staff. Still excellent service, even though you saw the chef having to pause cooking to answer the phone. Lovely home cooked Spanish food was enjoyed, I even managed to find some menu options for my vegan diet.

Restaurant Gran Duque

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