Visitors may be confused by the fact that many of the most prominent place names in the city maps are not used by the majority of the population, which calls them otherwise. To avoid confusions, these are some of the streets and squares of Santander with their official and unofficial versions:
- Plaza del Ayuntamiento is officially known as Plaza del Generalísimo.
- Plaza de Pombo is officially known as Plaza José Antonio
- Plaza Porticada is officially known as Plaza de Velarde
- Plaza de la Catedral is officially known as Plaza de las Atarazanas.
- Plaza de las Farolas is officially known as Plaza Alfonso XIII.
- Calle Martillo is officially known as Marcelino Sanz de Sautuola.
- Alameda Primera is officially known as Calle Amós de Escalante.
It is even more surprising when you notice that, more than 30 years after the end of the fascist dictatorship in Spain, the city still honours its symbols and main characters in their main streets and avenues (General Mola, General Sanjurjo, Alcázar de Toledo and the rest of the Franquist paraphernalia are still well present in the streets of Santander). Not to mention the fact that Santander is the only city in Spain which keeps a statue of General Franco, and not precisely in a hidden corner. And all that in spite of the fact that Santander remained loyal to the Republic and was severely damaged by the rebel fascist troops during the war.
There used to be identical statues in the cities of Madrid (the original one), Barcelona, Valencia and Ferrol (Galicia), but all have been removed so far except in Santander. A law has recently been passed in the Spanish Parliament requiring that all the Fascist symbols be removed from the streets of Spain and, apparently, the far-right local authorities have reluctantly accepted to remove this statue also. But this will be done only in May 2008 at the earliest, when some works in the square are foreseen. The statue will be then moved to a museum.
One night, coming home from clubbing, we got into a cab, only to find the cabbie was completely drunk! He even told us so. When we finally got out at our hotel, he put the cab in neutral and it started slowly rolling backwards while we were still trying to pay. He didn't even notice!
We also had a horrible cab experience in Barcelona, but that one was partially our fault. Just be careful about the cabs in Spain.
Watch out for the weather in Santander. It's a bit cooler than most of Spain, which makes it nice in the summer. But it also means the occasional rain and even hail storm in June! I started walking home from university when day when it began to lightly drizzle. Within five minutes, it was pouring. Another few minutes and the rain had given way to quarter-sized hail stones--I had to take cover under a bus stop for half an hour.
Remeber: if you got to Vascongadas (Bilbao or San Sebastian), the people there are very proud of not being Spanish, but Basks. You shouldn´t offend theie feelings, even though the signs of the ETA are obvious everywhere.
Even the statues huddled together under trees to escape the elements.
I think in nice weather they stay there to avoid the harsh rays of the sun.