The town of three lies...

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November 28th 2010
Published: December 2nd 2010
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Main square of Santilana del MarMain square of Santilana del MarMain square of Santilana del Mar

played around on picnik
In the Western part of Cantabria is the small medieval city of Santillana del Mar.

They say the city is of three lies, since it is not holy (santi), flat (llana) or on the sea! (del mar). Some good-looking liar! The city is quite a beautiful little jewel, perfectly preserved with its bright cobbled streets and tan stone and brick buildings surrounding centuries of history that lies within this city.

Cut off my automotive traffic, the city can only be explored by foot. So thats what we did. On a grey-skyed saturday three girls of all different nationalities piled into a very small car by any North American's standard and set off from Santander in Northern Cantabria Spain and drove through the Cantabrian countryside. Eventually finding there final destination of Santillana del Mar.

This medieval jewel of a city could easily be passed on the highway and never be the wiser. Strict town planning back in the 15th century included a stipulation that only residents may drive their vehicles or trackers (known as a village of many diary farmers) into the town. Most houses date back from 15th to 16th centuries, passing them down from generation to generation.

Some of the history that draws this city in its visitors is it's 12th century Romanesque church "Colegiata de Santa Juliana". Not to mention the famous Altmira caves, which dates some of the oldest cave art in the world. Although now to preserve the cave is closed to the public an replica has been made for visitors.

After taking our time to explore the city, Esther (american), Christine (german) and myself (canadian) stopped into a local bar in town called "El Estanco"; which in literal translation means "the tobacco". It is here where Esther and I had our first sampling of sidra (hard cider) which is typical of Cantabria as well as Asturias and Basque Country. It is traditional to pour the cider into the glass from a height of about three feet.

To get more of a taste to this beautiful little town, that you simply can't explain or capture in pictures; check out this little video at this website:

Also attached is pictures of a smaller village called Saunces that we had explored previously that morning. Only thing really notable of the village was its beach "Playa del Loco" (Crazy beach). Very well known to surfers.

Additional photos below
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see the height of the pouring!

car travel buddy, german student studying spanish in santander

close au pair friend; n good travel buddy

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