Cueva del - Soplao - Cave
A "soplao" (blown) is a current of air that is noticeable when drilling a gallery from another with less oxygen
This mine has eight levels and we can imagine the surprise of the first miners who discovered this part of the mine in 1908. Fortunately though they worked near did not major damages and the conservation of the Cave is very good
Inside you will see stalactites, stalagmites and the very curious and interesting eccentrics
The normal visit lasts an hour and three-hour the adventure option, that requires better physical preparation
The view is interesting and do not forget that in the interior of the cave is cold, so bring warm clothes
Un "soplao" ( blown ) es una corriente de aire que se nota al perforar una galería desde otra con menos oxígeno
Esta mina tiene ocho niveles y nos podemos imaginar la sorpresa de los primeros mineros que descubrieron esta parte de la mina en 1908. Afortunadamente aunque trabajaron cerca de ella no ha habido grandes destrozos y la conservación de la Cueva es muy buena
Dentro se pueden ver estalactitas, estalagmitas y las excéntricas que son muy curiosas e interesantes
La visita normal dura una hora y la de aventura dura tres horas y requiere mejor preparación física
La vista es interesante y no te olvides que en el interior de la cueva hace frío, así que lleva ropa de abrigo
Gandarilla is a small village not far away from San Vicente de la Barquera
It has a nice church , the restaurant La Coteruca ( the only one ) were the food is great , you may eat some stews( cocido , alubias...) as starter , then a dish of meat of an special type of local cow named "Tudanca", you will not forget and to finish a nice rice pudding
From here you may start some nice trekkings
The Saint Patron is the Virgen de las Nieves ( Virgin of the Snow ) that is celebrated on the 5th and 6th of August , during these days there are many activities in the village as bowling , dancing , stone dragging...
Gandarilla es un pequeño pueblo que está cerca de San Vicente de la Barquera
Tiene una bonita iglesia, el restaurante La Coteruca (sólo hay uno) en el que la comida es genial, se puede comer algunos guisos (cocido, alubias ...) de entrada , luego un plato de carne ,de un tipo especial de vaca local llamado "Tudanca" , que no vas a olvidarlo y para terminar un arroz con leche
Desde aquí se pueden comenzar algunos trekkings interesantes
La patrona es la Virgen de las Nieves que se celebra los días 5 y 6 de agosto, durante los que hay muchas actividades en el pueblo como bolos, baile, arrastre de piedra ...
Gandarilla4-Arrastre paso a paso-Drag step by step
Let's see step by step what is done on a drag contest:
- Prepare apeos for oxen and cows
- Make the yoke of the two animals, using the yoke and straps, to tie the horns and end the "mane" which is a leather protection, which is placed on the head, with a fringe of wool to avoid the sun and flies
Only is missing the "ijada" ( long stick for the carrier
- Organize the groups and turns according to categories
- Loads are placed on a skateboard (100 kilos eachpiece , depending on the category of the oxen can lay up to 18 , equivalent 1800 kilos)
- Competition starts
- Award ceremony for the winners, usually a trophy and money for everyone but the champions also get a ham
- Finally collect, jump in the track and back home or to the stables
Vamos a ver paso a paso lo que se hace en un concurso de arrastre :
- Preparar los apeos para los bueyes y las vacas
- Hacer la yunta de los dos animales, unciendo a los bueyes, utilizando el yugo y las correas, que se llaman coyunda, para atarlo a los cuernos y al final "la melena" que es una protección de cuero, que se pone en la cabeza , con unos flecos de lana para evitar el sol y las moscas
Ya sólo falta la ijada para el arriero
( Vaya palabras . Os suenan de algo ? )
- Se organizan los turnos de salida en función de las categorías
- Se colocan las cargas en un patín ( 100 kilos cada una y dependiendo de la categoría de los bueyes pueden poner hasta 18 o sea 1800 kilos )
- Se inicia la competición
- Entrega de premios para los ganadores , suele ser una copa y dinero para todos menos para los campeones que también les dan un jamón
- Finalmente a recoger, subir al camión y de vuelta a casa o a las cuadras
Gandarilla 3. Vacas y bueyes - Cows and oxen
To drag the stones different breeds of cows and oxen are used
The breeds more common here are what we call Swiss cow , Black cow and Tudanca that is a cow that lives on this area with grey colour , you do not get milk from it , but you get meat and work of them
In Summer time they live in the mountains and not require much care of their owners but in winter before that the snow stars they are taken to the valleys
Gandarilla 2 - Arrastre de piedra-Stone dragging
The stone drag is a rural sport widespread throughout northern Spain.
It was originated when farmers used oxen to work in the field, because in these areas with many slopes and roads in poor condition were adapted to work better than horses and mules
Testing is done by different categories based on the weights of the animals, this day we saw oxen and cows that weighed from 600 to 1600 kilos.
They have to travel a circular path with some slope, where it is much harder work oxen, the test lasts five-minutes and win who has has travelled more meters
Oxen are stopping and resting to take up strength before the circuit parts that have more slope
Behind the oxen is the judge who controls that comply with all the rules of the test ( with red beret ) and before the herdsman is the man who controls and directs their animals ( with black beret )
El arrastre de piedra es un deporte rural muy extendido en todo el Norte de España .
Tiene su origen cuando los campesinos utilizaban los bueyes para trabajar en el campo , pues en estas zonas con muchas pendientes y caminos en muy malas condiciones se adaptaban a trabajar mejor que los caballos y las mulas
Las pruebas se hacen por distintas categorías en función de los pesos de los animales , en este día había bueyes y vacas que pesaban desde 600 hasta 1600 kilos .
Tienen que recorrer un circuito circular con algo de pendiente , donde se hace mucho más difícil el trabajo de los bueyes , la prueba dura cinco minutos y gana el que haya recorrido más metros
Los bueyes van parando y descansando para tomar fuerzas antes de subir las partes del circuito que tienen más pendiente
Detrás de las vacas va el juez que controla que se cumplen todas las normas de la prueba ( con boina roja ) y delante el boyero que es quien controla y dirige a sus animales ( con boina negra )
El Soplao cave
This cave is unique due to the whiteness and the abundance of its eccentric formations that, unlike stalactites or stalagmites, have not an axis. Their composition is aragonite and calcite.
These concretions appear on the floor, the walls, ceilings, on top of old stalagtites, stalagmites and even on the shields.
Enjoy the urban charms of Santander
The capital and main city of Cantabria, with a population of less than 200.000 inhabitants, is a charming place located on what has been dubbed one of the most beautiful bays in the world. Since Santander does not have many historical sites, it is the pleasant waterfront that keeps on attracting visitors to this area. The city's natural backdrop is indeed remarkable and the phenomenal beaches are perfect to enjoy the mild weather from which the city benefits year round. Beaches in and around the city are awesome and varied: surfers throng where waves are fiercest; the ones on the estuary are as quite as a pool, perfect for paddling; others are scenically fringed by rocks where toddlers go shelling.
The beaches and the mild weather turned Santander into a fashionable sea resort with Spanish aristocracy in the early 20th century. However, Santander could not cope with the changing social trends and the lack of permanent blue skies resulted in its popularity being eclipsed by the coastal towns on the Mediterranean, which boast a much sunnier weather. Today, many savvy tourists flee the extreme torridness of Madrileño summers in the mild northern coast, but overseas visitors are still relatively rare and that makes of Santander an even more rewarding destination to explore.
If you want to see more Santander pictures and have some ideas about itineraries in the city, you are welcome to visit my Santander page.
Have a Concentrated Taste of the Sea in Pedreña
Of all the small villages on the opposite shore of the Bay of Santander, Pedreña is the best known. Still, it is just a small fishing village which is famous for the quality of its shellfish and other sea fruits (clams and razor clams in particular) and for its gorgeous golf course, where the local hero Severiano Ballesteros started his career.
Pedreña is very easily reached from Santander by road (about 20 km of scenic drive around the bay) or, much better, by a short ferry ride across the bay.
The pedreñeras, women who collect clams and razor clams in the sand banks around the village during low tide, are some of the most idiosyncratic characters in the Santander area. They are still a common sight today and the fruits of their work are particularly appreciated throughout Cantabria. If you want to experience what the sea really tastes like, do not leave without trying a portion of grilled razor clams, seasoned with just sea salt, olive oil and a splash of lemon juice.Related to:
- Food and Dining
In spite of officially being called Nature Park, Cabárceno is actually a zoo, however one of the best in Spain. It was built at the foot of Peña Cabarga in a former iron mine that had been exploited since the time of the Romans. Ancestral mining techniques and the remains of the iron mineral had turned the landscape into an out-of-worldly space, full of bizarre rock formations and appealing chromatic clashes between the red of the earth and the bright green of the fields. For the beauty of the environment, a visit to Cabárceno is a very pleasant experience even for those not travelling with children or without an interest in animals.
There is not a large variety of species in Cabárceno, but they are kept in a friendly environment for the animals. The enclosures where the animals live are huge, so you can do the visit of the park by car, which is very recommendable if you do not have much time (there are about 17 km of hiking trails altogether!). You will need a car anyway to reach the park, as public transportation to Cabárceno is not very extensive.
Explore the Santander Bay
The so-called Santander Bay is actually the largest estuary in the North coast of Spain. Most of the region's population is concentrated in the city of Santander and around its bay, and yet, there are plenty of unspoilt beaches and wetlands to enjoy. For instance, if you visit Santander by the end of the Summer, you can presence the annual gathering of thousands of swallows on their route from the British Isles to Africa. They usually concentrate around the Marisma de Alday.
Beaches like Somo and El Puntal have commanding views of the city and the Madeleine Peninsula. Despite their easy access from the city, they have remained in a beautiful state of almost wilderness.
Enjoy the Medieval Charm of Santillana
For most Spaniards, Santillana del Mar is the perfect medieval town. Not in vain, most surveys on the most beautiful town in the country are topped by this charming little village crammed with wooden-balconied houses and heralded palaces around the impressive Romanesque collegiate church of Santa Juliana. Its 12th-century cloister contains the most exquisite collection of Romanesque sculpture in this part of North Spain. The capitals of the double columns that enclose the courtyard depict bible scenes with great detail and in a perfect state of conservation.
Not far from the old town, the Altamira Cave is a UNESCO World Heritage Site that contains breathtaking paintings dating back to the Magdaleniensis period of the Palaeolithic. This is possibly one of the most anticipated tourist attractions ever, as entry to the cave is extremely restrictive, which translates in waiting lists of up to three years. Should you not be that far-sighted, you still have the option to visit the well-presented Museum of Prehistory, which includes a replica of the grotto and its paintings.
No doubt, Santillana is a victim of its own success and feels often too crowded with tourists, particularly on weekends and during Spanish holiday periods. Schedule your visit on a tranquil early spring mid-week day.
The one reason that would take you to this remote little village nestled in the rolling hills of Campoo can only be its beautiful Romanesque Saint Peter's Church, possibly the best in Cantabria. The atmosphere in the tiny town is deliciously rural, but already since your first glimpse from the highway, your attention will be dragged to the pure Romanesque lines of temple.
However beautiful and inspiring, the church is not really very different from many others in South Cantabria and North Castile. A closer inspection to the carvings that decorate the corbels sustaining the roof will reveal, though, a surprising display of hard-core sexually explicit images that most people would never expect in a Catholic temple. Actually, it was common in the Middle Ages to display such sinful images in religious buildings, so that the mostly illiterate populace could look not only at the models to follow, but also at the perversions to avoid.
Cantabria: what you can do
I would second the choice of staying in Somo, especially with kids. There's a 8 kms long beach there and several hotels and rural inns that are great, extremely well-equipped.
Hotels include http://www.hotelesdesomo.com/ or
http://www.hoteltorresdesomo.com/ and rural inns maybe searched at
e.g. La Posada de Somo.
August is peak season so book right away. There are fine restaurants (La Caracola, Rompeolas, etc.) and bars-cafes and instead of the taxi mentioned, you may take the bus-boat to Santander, every 15 minutes, takes you to the heart of Santander. Somo is fine surfing beach too in some of its areas.
Cantabria has a lot of things to do, lovely beaches and towns in Santander, Langre, Galizano, Oyambre, San Vicente de la Barquera, cliff walks, etc. Weather is cooler than the South.
Cabarceno is fantastic, the now natural zoo is an old iron mining area since Roman times and the landscape and views are not to be missed. All Cantabrian valleys are worth exploring: Valle de Pas, Valle de Miera, Valle de Cabarniga with the village of Barcena Mayor at the end, Valle de Nansa, and the roads that cross the mountain ranges go through some fantastic scenery and villages, Palomberas pass is lovely and Puerto de La Lunada and Sia are not for the faint-hearted driver!
There are a lot of rambles and mountain walking, and one of our favourites is to park the car in the station at Barcena Pie de Concha, go up two stops in the Renfe train, get off at Pesquera (stops only if you tell the conductor!), and walk the old Roman and medieval route back to Barcena. It is well-signaled from the station itself, and you go through some abandoned villages and the Roman road is really intact in some places, right down to the rut-marks. An easy 2-3 hours walk.
Another part of Cantabria is Potes and the Liebana valley, drive of about 1 and half hrs from Santander, with the Picos de Europa and Fuente De Cable Car.
The village of Santillana is a must despite the tourism, and the caves of Altamira and Soplao are essential, but you must buy tickets in advance (any branch of Banco Santander will sell them): you have to go at the fixed time you select.
Santander and everywhere abounds in restaurants, both fine-end like the
http://www.cenadordeamos.com/restaurante.html near Somo or
family run places serving excellent everyday fare.
You won't regret your visit and want to come back for more.
But it is totally different from the Mediterranean and interior Spain.Related to:
- Family Travel
- Road Trip
- National/State Park
Watch out for Animals at Balcon de la Cardosa.
We were driving north and climbing steadily along bendy-twisty roads in the Reserva nacional de Saja Parque.
Suddenly, as we neared the brow of a hill on a bend we spotted a rather startled, large deer.
But he was very tame!
It was a lovely warm, sunny day at the end of March but the mountains ahaed were still snow-capped.
The cave of Altamira
The place for pilgrimage for each historian, it is Altamira. Be prepared for long rows and limited time for going inside. The best way how to get into the caves is: the first day to buy tickets, the second day to go in. Check the timetable!Related to:
- Historical Travel
The Bahía is a classic in the Santander hotel business. The building collapsed while undergoing...more
At the entrance to the historic and pedestrian only centre of Santillana del Mar we were halted by a...more
c/ Cántabra no. 6, Potes, 39570, Spain
Good for: Solo
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