We arrived in the beautiful heritage town of Santillana del Mar in the afternoon and it gave us time to take it all in before dinner. straight out into the streets and it was a real buzz as it was festival time and the locals were coming to town. the streets were alive with kids and when we found the town centre the fun really began.
There was a flower contest going on as part of the summer festival and so many lovely old houses were dressed up for the occasion. Our clear winner was the photo top left and the lovely old lady who lived there showed us through her husbands woodwork studio.
This place loves its beasts of burden so bullocks, Horses and even Goats are revered. The Festival saw children being chased all over town by Gouhly creatures and whitches that had to whack kids on the bum with a broom . it was mayhem and we had front row streets at a bar to take it all in.
Our Hotel was very pleasant indeed and being located in an old 15th century house of the local mayor it was beautifully appointed, historic and interesting as well and the gardens were a real delight. The town is only small and the farms run right to the edge so a very rural environment as it the whole North Coast of Spain.
The old Palace of the Marquees is almost in ruins but it dates back to the 24th century and strikes an imposing picture in the centre of town. They also love their Rams around here
The Main church is of Romanesque style and dates from the 12th century with its cloisters being some of the best we have seen. the double columns all all individually designed and were the big feature.
We found the most delightful garden restaurant in the front end of town and had a few visits to enjoy an ale and vino in the lovely ambient gardens
The history in this town is really amazing and everything is so well preserved even down to the old well house and washing sheds that are still in use.
We spent some time visiting the beautiful beach side town of Comillas where we had heard about a Gaudi designed house, El Capricho that was crazy so of course we had to see it. But that was not the only jewell in Comillas crown as right next door is the home of the local Marquess Count Sobrellano and it even has its own chapel right next door.
The Sobrellano Palace was amazing and they even used Gaudi to design the chapel furniture while he was working on the house next door
Some of Gaudi’s dragon design work that he is so famous for is seen throughout the Palace and the chapel.
El Capricho is one of Gaudi’s most out there works and was designed for the Solicitor of his Patron the Guell Family and he gave Gaudi free reign to create a fanciful home that took full advantage of the aspect and location. The sunflower is featured all over this home and it all opens to a unfilled glass conservatory that captures all the south sun.
Ceramic Tiles, wrought iron and bricks are the main building materials and the whole effect is spectacular.
Just across the valley on the next hill is another Comillas landmark. The University seminary was designed to be totally cutting edge at the turn of the 20th century and the effect is amazing with both exteriors and interiors breaking new design ground with very strong Moorish inspired features.
But we discovered even more fatalistic homes with both Indians styles and Old English or what could be called New England designs from north America highlighted.
The beaches around santillana del mar were lovely with masses of sand and the big European tides make for pitt street style usage where the whole town and people of all ages out and about enjoying the lovely summer conditions.
there was even a very promising little rivermouth peeler running down the beach.
we enjoyed a lovely high end lunch at a Michelin star restaurant at and old Palace just out of town and explored more of the delightful rural countryside