Small city, nice beaches, famous palace and escalators on the streets, that’s Santander.

Both excited and still sleeping I was getting on board my 4th flight in 1 week going from Seville to Santander. Excited because I have never been to north of Spain more precisely Cantabria and Basque country and tired because that 22-euro flight was at 6 am.

Landing in Santander

Anyway, landing in Santander an hour later was amazing because of the views of mountains still covered by snow rising behind the green lands and the ocean. Too bad we couldn’t stop in the air to take some better pictures.
We got on the in the last second and lets go to find out hosts via couchsurfing.org Manuel and Belen. Once we got out of the bus I realised that those crazy 35 degrees from Seville are far behind us. The weather was just so different and really cold even for me at that time of year. After 10 minutes of walking and following Manuel and Belen directions we got to their flat. After a short chat with our new friends and hosts we headed to explore the city of Santander.

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As we were walking throughout the city towards Magdalena’s palace I saw a typical fish market which I had to take some pictures of. In my country there is no sea and it is almost impossible to get a fresh fish. Some of them looked creepy to me, well I guess people eat them anyways.

Santander bank

My first contact with word „Santander“ was in Portugal, where I knew it only as a bank, not a city. So I had the chance to see the old Santander’s bank building. It was nice, but that’s all I have to say about that.
Believe or not the weather around 12 was still not that great. I barely took my jacket off. At least was sunny and I could take some nice pictures.
Wondering through the city we found a thing I have never seen in my life. Well, I have, but never on the street in a city 😀 holy sh*t I said, there is an escalator.

elevator

escalator in Santander

Santander

These guys are pretty damn smart… As a city with steep streets, there are escalators like this in Santander which help everyone to get up the street without getting tired. It could be very handy on Friday nights after going home from a pub. There is even an elevator which gets you onto 3 different floors where otherwise you would have to walk a lot to get to. All is absolutely for free but you have to wait in the line. While going up, inside the elevator there was a small debate whether the homeless could or couldn’t enter with wheel barrow inside… Thankfully that ride took only a few seconds otherwise it could get nasty there. Realising that we got on the top where was just a football stadium, which btw could be actually pretty cool playing football there, we took some nice pictures of the city and its views and left for Magdalena’s palace.

penguin

seal

Almost all the way there I was pretty positive it is not as far as Manuel had told us. I guess I wasn’t right. Well, I like to walk, especially when there is so much to see, but all that wind wasn’t very helpful. So finally we arrived to the main gate of the park where is much more to see than just famous Magdalena’s palace, which btw I have never heard of before. At the beginning of the park there is a small zoo where you can see animals like penguins and seals which we don’t even have in our zoos in Slovakia, which was kind of cool. Although the sign was saying NO TOUCHING AND FEEDING PENGUINS, you could touch those small cute penguins easily.

coast

I was very surprised that the park was very empty. There were just some Asian tourists, like everywhere, and mostly runners. As moving towards the palace we took some more pictures of beautiful coast and some crazy people swimming. So, after more or less 3 hours wondering through the city I finally saw the Magdalena’s palace which my mother and girlfriend were talking about so often and I didn’t know why…

This palace for us Slovakians is known only from a TV series called Grand Hotel, which exterior scenes were recorded here. Me and my girlfriend decided to go for an inside tour. Although I am not a big fan of tours in places like this, I must admit that it was actually pretty cool. It used to be a residence of Spanish king Alfonso XIII and nowadays is still providing a seasonal residence for Spanish royal family where a royal room with the best view of the ocean is still ready to be used at any time. Otherwise the palace is used as a conference hotel.

Magdalena's palace

Exhausted after all day walking and having to deal with that crazy wind we had decided to take a bus rather than walk all the way back to our couchsurfing flat. It was a great idea  Although it still wasn’t a Spanish dinner time we headed to a place which said “the best burgers in Cantabria” so we had to try that one. More about this in my food & drinks section.
After a tasty dinner we went back to flat of Manuel and Belen and talked for the rest of the evening.

After a good 8 hours of sleep we woke up next morning to travel to Bilbao. For the second time during the same trip we managed a pick up by a nice man heading to Bilbao by car via blablacar.es. We paid almost the same as for the bus but you must agree that car is more comfortable and faster than bus. So after just 1 day and night in a calm Santander, we found ourselves in Bilbao.

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Richard Jančovič

Richard Jančovič

My name is Richard Jančovič and I am a travel addict from beautiful country called Slovakia. Although full-time employed, I try to spend all my free time traveling. So far I have visited 41 countries, met a lot of amazing people and experienced many adventures.

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