Spain Day 17 - Friends from home & Santander
Trip Start Jun 25, 2008
77Trip End Sep 01, 2008
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Janice wakes up with a new idea, "Its such a perfectly sunny day, lets surprise them at the train station in Santander ... and then go to the beach!" Great idea. We scurry in to our car (well, after Janice enjoys her morning coffee of course) ... and jam to Santander. We've been saving this city, Cantabria's capital and home of the areas most populare beaches, to explore with Bob and Rachel. Today will be a perfect day to do some suntanning and playing in the sand.
We arrive in Santander and discover a bustling city
After a couple of wrong turns, we find a neat underground parking structure (very high tech and clean, with a great feature that tells you what floor has openings, and each parking spot has a light above it, either red or green indicating if its open or full). We walk to the train station hoping to find Bob and Rachel before they catch their connecting train to Pie de Concha. We catch them just in line for the tickets! Its a perfect surprise. YES!
With only five seatbelts, but six passengers ... MY plan was to shuttle everybody around Santander and then get the Burts back on the train to get to our town (an hour away). But they were sick of the train and wanted to risk it. I made a deal with them. They can ride like lunatics, if they agree to pay the ticket if we are caught. Its a deal. We pile in and head to the beach! Bob and Rachel treat us to a fabulous lunch were we enjoy some of the best fish we've had since Pamplona. No photos... but yummy! Also had a great green beans with ham dish. And then, we hit the beach.
Lots of people. LOTS AND LOTS of people. Kids, old folks, couples, families. Its great. As we walk down to the sand, we see a group of people playing a competative version of what I've seen played in the beaches of Santa Monica ... paddleball. Here its played with much more vigor. Its not a game with winners and losers from what they tell us, ... its just about playing. One person strikes the ball with a good amount of OOMPH. The other person is the receiver and just trys to keep it in play. Some groups were playing 2 smashers vs 1 receiver. Janice and I are definately going to buy some paddles when we get bak to Sac. Great fun ... and people of all ages were playing.
Then some fun in the sun. Another adventure with the kids, I took them down the beach and out in to the ocean, around a large rock that seperate our beach from the next. Little Ella took a wave in the face, but shook it off like a champ and we succesfully navigated our way to the next beach area. Very fun. The kids loved it and now everytime we go to the beach are asking me for the next adventure. ... The topless factor in our experience has not been a big deal at all. Although it is acceptable here (from young kids to old women), the majority of people are NOT topless. Less than one out of ten bare their chest. ... And only one sighting of an all nude dude (last week) ..
We pile back in the car, doing our best to stay hidden from the passing police. All the way home, drop off the parents to get some their laundry started and take naps, and Janice, me and the kids head to the grocery store to get supplies for our last week here.
One hilarious story. I had told the kids to go show Nanna Rachel around the backyard. I went back inside and ten minutes later heard a blood curdling scream. Not just a quick shout, but a terrifying yell of fear and pain. I follow Janice out back sprinting to see whats happened. I watch as Janice scoops up Ella, who is scared out of her mind, but no blood gushing like I fully expected. She is shouting "ANTS! ANTS! ANTS!" and Nanna is running behind her trying to explain. Apparently, in their exploration of the backyard, they had walked on to an ant hill and the ants started up Ella's leg. The more Nanna brushed off, the more ants came, the more panicked Ella got, the more frantic Rachel got. Eventually, Nanna realized the ants weren't going to be easily dealt with and just yelled to Ella .... "RUN!!!" ... which I can only imagine to my frightened little girl sounded a bit like your platoon leader yelling, "RETREAT!" in the middle of a barbaric battle
We finish the night with a walk around town for Bob and Rachel to soak in the relaxing town of Pie de Concha and introduce them to JoseMiguel and Mariangeles across the street at the bar. Bob and Rachel been running NON-STOP on their whirlwind tour of all of Southern Spain and so the quiet tranquility of our little village is just what the doctor ordered. I head in to work for two hours, and then off the bed. Tomorrow, more relaxing ... maybe a visit to the town pool, then a big BBQ, and a nice dinner at a nearby recommended restaurant.