The sea was as calm as a summer lake, we slept well and after breakfast disembarked. Our plan had been to look round Santander then take the train to Llanes for an overnight stay before making for the Picos de Europa, but after two days of sitting on trains and the ferry we wanted to get moving. The early train was just too early for the ferry’s arrival and the next one wasn’t until 16:10 so we cycled out of town, with the assistance of Chris, a France-based cyclist who was initially going our way.
The weather had looked promising when we rose, blue sky visible above thin white cloud, but the mist descended as we approached the shore. Mark and Ruth took a less direct route out of town via the coast, but with their lighter loads and superior fitness caught us up. We’d done no training for this holiday, so full days heavily laden would be a shock compared with seven mile commutes. We rode together as far as drizzly Santillana where we paused for lunch. The others enjoyed a good cheap meal, but Spain is a difficult country for vegetarians so we had to settle for a cheese sandwich – thin slices in a thick baguette without even a slice of tomato. Mark and Ruth were going to look round and stay the night in the town, so we were down to three.
The road was quiet now, and the scenery more interesting with misty views of hills, estuaries and occasional glimpses of the sea. We passed the entrance to an enormous stately home, with “private property” signs. We booked into a hotel at San Vicente, only €36 low season price for an en-suite room, about what we’d have to pay for bunks on a youth hostel dormitory in Britain. It’s a lovely old town with a long low many-arched bridge across the estuary. Surfers rode the waves on the sandy beach on the other side.
Finding somewhere to eat was again a challenge, vegans would find Spain impossible.