A trip through time in Santander

September 26, 2017 - Puente Viesgo, Spain

9am is a civilised hour for breakfast and we were there almost on the dot. We had a day in Santander planned and wanted to get away early. Evan so it is hard to rush through the Spanish idea of a Continental breakfast. Orange juice and fruit, coffee and toast with assorted cold meats and cheese and then more coffee.

We filled a bag with laundry to do if the opportunity arose, took our cameras and day packs to the car and set off with Miss Leading giving us directions. She led us into a paddock with a poorly defined grassy track between us and the main road so we opted to reverse out and follow the little lanes we had negotiated last night instead.

Miss Leading soon had us on the motorway then and heading for Santander. We had programmed Miss Leading to take us to the Museum of Prehistory and Arcaeology Cantabria and when we were close we saw an entrance for a carpark. That'll do nicely. Gracias. Or rather Thank You as she speaks with an English accent.

After securing the car in the carpark we made our way unerringly to the Museum and paid our €2 each (seniors rate) and went inside. The exhibits are laid out in chronological order so you begin with some of the first stone tools and work your way up through time. The exhibits are brilliant. Excellent examples, well lit and with very good descriptions in Spanish, French and English. I did not expect to see so many pieces on display and almost all of them are the real deal. I think I remember only two replicas among the thousands (literally) in the cases.

We were only halfway through when the lights started going out and moving us toward the exit. It was 2pm and they close between 2pm and 5pm. We had our ticket stamped to return at five and went back the car for our laundry bag.

The laundry (Lavado) that we knew about was back past the museum and on a little further. Easy to find. There was a change machine that worked so we had a pocketful of change but no detergent. The signs seemed (to our small understanding) to say that detergent was automatically dispensed but I went to the supermarket next door and bought some liquid detergent anyway. Twenty-five minutes and €5 for the wash, eighteen minutes and €3 for the dryer and we were done with the clothes dried folded and packed in their back. The €2 bottle of detergent we left for some other happy customer rather than carry it for next time.

After returning the clean laundry to the car we stopped at a cafeteria and had a plate of nachos and a plate of chips (fries) to share and a couple of beers each to while away the time before going back to the museum for the second half.

This time we worked our way up from the Neolithic, through the Bronze and Iron Ages, to the Roman and Medieval. The exhibits were just as good right through these eras as well and included many Cantabrian stele stones some more than a metre round and also many, many Roman milestones, gravestones and other carved and engraved stones. We spent another two hours in there and were grateful to have done it in two stints. That way we weren't overcome with the sheer volume of information all at once. Simply Brilliant!

We went back to pay up €15.50 for our parking. Far and away our biggest expense for the day. Now to find our way out onto the right street. Exit for Bilbao seemed to be right and when we emerged at street level that seemed to be heading in the right direction but Miss Leading had other ideas. There was too much traffic at this time of the evening to watch the road, look at the GPS display and follow directions so when she said 'Turn Right' I did just that. Whoops now 'Turn Left'. Well, not in this traffic I won't and certainly not from the right hand of three lanes. We missed a turn after that, turned right, did a long leg to a roundabout, another leg to a further roundabout and all the way round that had us coming back down the street about a kilometre back from where we had emerged from the carpark. Miss Leading indeed.

The rest of the trip back to the Hotel Villa Arce went according to plan as there was time to glance at the display again. When we came into Puente Viesgo and out towards the hotel there were four cars following us so I did a complete loop on a roundabout to allow them to get ahead. That way I did not need to come to an almost complete halt to make the turn into the narrow lane we follow up to the hotel. It may be that European drivers are more aware of these sorts of things but I have also witnessed the pace at which they drive through the narrow streets in what are supposed to be 50kph zones. I opted for discretion, especially when I had to negotiate narrow passages between stone walls and houses in a Rental Car.

Back at the hotel and after our late afternoon snack meant we did not need to go out again. It was already 9pm anyway so we sat back for a bit of quiet journal work and a look at today's photographs.


Looking in from the entrance of the Museum
A carved and engraved bear
A carved deer antler
Sets of beads designed to be strung and worn

1 Comment

Judy Crewe:
September 30, 2017
What a good time you are having. I am a bit envious of your being able to drive, saving time, getting to more sites. I'm too chicken to drive on the "wrong" side of the road.
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