Santander

Field of sunflowers, seen from the train

This weekend I went up to Santander to visit David.  On the way up, I saw several fields of sunflowers, and I just slapped the camera up against the window (as my grandmother likes to say) to grab a picture of them.  I think it turned out fairly well, given the moving train and all.  The field reminded me of something I saw in a fruteria the other day–“dead” sunflowers for sale, for their seeds!  I didn’t have my camera, but the full head of the flower was just sitting in the window, seeds still attached.  I’ve never seen anything like it before!  I guess if you buy them that way, you have to roast and salt them yourself, haha.

The city is beautiful, and very different from the Spanish cities I’ve visited.  The buildings are more ornate, with lots of wrought iron and picture frame windows.  I had a wonderful time, and got to meet David’s charming roommates, Jon and Sarah, two other Fulbright kids.

There’s this incredible mercado not far from where they live, where David and I went and bought fresh clams, lots of great produce, huge fresh eggs, and some amazing blue cheese.  I was excited about the market near my house, but now I’m jealous!  (My market’s still pretty awesome.  I have to go back and take pictures.)  We made some incredible linguini with clams, and if I were better at this whole blogging thing, I would have remembered to take pictures both a) at the market and b) while we were cooking, but of course I didn’t think of that until we had started eating dinner.  Next time, I promise.

The Funicular

On Sunday, we went to the beach in Santander, which I’ve been told is basically”the beach of Valladolid,” because it’s only a few hours away and Valladolid is landlocked so all we have is this awkward little strip of sand alongside the river in the middle of downtown.  People still go sunbathing there, though…it’s kinda strange.  Anyway…Santander has a large hill right in the middle of the city, and to get to the beach you have to get to the other side of the hill.  Apparently David climbed tons and tons of stairs the first time he went to the beach, but lucky for me, by the time we went they’d found the route that has giant escalators and a funicular (which is a word I had never heard before, and still find very amusing).  So we went the easy way, and were rewarded with an incredible view of the city when we got to the top.

The view from the top

After another 30-minute walk, we finally made it to the beach.  I’m sad that it probably won’t be warm enough to go again until May.  The sand is very smooth and very fine, and the water is just beautiful.  I see why the rest of the country likes this beach so much.  If I lived there, I’d go there all the time.

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