I’m really enjoying the chance to get to know Santander. When I studied in Sevilla, I made frequent weekend trips to nearby Spanish cities and towns, but never got to know any of them more than superficially. Just noticing the differences between Valladolid and Sevilla has been really interesting, but the chance to get to know a third city (without actually living there) is a pretty unique experience. Having met some other couples who managed to end up teaching in the same city, I was initially jealous and a little cranky, and while it would be really nice to be able to see David all the time, I’m growing to appreciate this opportunity to get to know another part of Spain.
Last weekend, we went with Sarah and Jon to a huge park in the northeastern part of the city, Parque Mataleñas, which is bordered on two sides by the ocean. We walked around the edge, looking out over the cliffs at the beautiful green sea. After our scenic paseo, we wandered over to the lighthouse, where they had a great collection of paintings of lighthouses on one side of the exhibition, and the most bizarre collection of lighthouse paraphernalia on the other (think matchbooks, salt and pepper shakers, and empty beer bottles, all emblazoned with some image of a lighthouse).
From the lighthouse, we wandered down the hill to the bus stop. On the way up, we’d caught a different bus than we’d originally planned because it came sooner and took us in the same general direction, and we decided we wouldn’t mind walking a little. Which is why it took us about 45 minutes to realize that the bus we were waiting for doesn’t actually run except from May 1 to August 31. We eventually made it down the hill and caught a different bus, only to get stuck in horrendous traffic, which isn’t the norm for Santander. Turns out there was a huge protest in the middle of the city, occurring simultaneously with others around the world, in support of the Occupy Wall Street movement. How cool!
In addition to our cliffside wanderings, David and I tried a couple of new recipes while I was visiting. I took pictures of both, which I was excited to share with you, but then I went and forgot my camera, so I probably won’t be able to add the pictures until we get back from Paris next week. On Friday night, we made fish and chips with a wonderfully simple beer batter. It wasn’t very difficult, and the resulting meal was absolutely incredible. The fish, a filet of bacalao or cod that we’d gotten that morning at the fish market, practically melted in my mouth as I ate it. And that is not a description I ever anticipated applying to fish. Then on Sunday, we made falafel, using the recipe Erik and Joanna posted on their blog. (We didn’t have cumin, so we subbed Garam Masala instead. Turned out great.) I couldn’t believe how easy it was! The best part was, we made a double batch, so we could both share with Jon and Sarah and also still have leftovers for both of us to eat the next day.
Side note: There is a half-naked Spanish man leaning out the window across the street as I type this. He seems to be trying to decide how cold it is before getting dressed. It’s cold enough that I wouldn’t want to be leaning outside half naked!