Driving through north-west SpainJuly 6, 2018 in Spain ⋅ ⛅ 18 °C
We drove about a third of the way across the top of Spain this afternoon and evening. We were looking at spectacular views of the Atlantic Ocean and the Bay of Biscay on our right as we drove. The countryside of very green and hilly. It is not flat and dry as we typically think of Spain; not at all. Even though it is summer, the country is green and lush in this northern region. There is agriculture aplenty and lush crops everywhere.
The roads are excellent. Freeway all the way, although there are quite a few tolls, so we need cash or card at the ready at all times. Unfortunately there was a truck that had burst into flames on the freeway and it causedi a 2-3 hour delay. Not what we were hoping for. So we arrived at our destination at about 9pm instead of 6pm.
We are staying tonight in a five-star hotel called Casa del Marques in a very old Spanish village, Santillana del Mar. The whole town is from the 14th century. They have kept cars out of the town for the most part. The whole town is Heritage listed. It is the Spain you imagine in your ideal view of this country. Stone buildings and terracotta tiles. Arched doorways, churches with bell towers and cobbled streets and squares. It is an incredibly magical place. I went for a couple of hours wandering as the light dwindled and look forward to more fully exploring the town tomorrow.
Our destination tomorrow is Santiago de Compostela, on the northwest corner of Spain, but we will make the most of the morning to explore this town before heading off on our journey westwards.
I sat with a man in the lounge tonight before venturing out. He was about 60 and watching the world cup. He told me he was from Israel. He was born in Israel. His parents escaped from Poland just before the war. He was born in Israel. All his grandparents were killed in the war. He spoke a lot about his life in Israel. His aunty married an Australian soldier who was posted to Israel during the British mandate and married him and lived in Adelaide. His parents disowned her and never spoke to her again for betraying their Israeli life which they had gained at great cost. His wife came later and she used to be a teacher. They have one son in New York in the real estate game, and another son in Israel who is into IT. They lost their daughter at 17 to Lupus about 25 years ago and it is still raw for them. The man was a bit vague about what he did for a job but he was in Spain organising ships on the coast for Israel. He is a typical Jew with a big deep voice and very sharp and incisive. I would love to have spoken to him and his wife, Itti, for longer. I gathered that he grew up through the kibbutz movement. He has a friend from South Africa who went to Melbourne and is now a Principal of a Jewish school there - his surname is Reuben. I said I would look out for him in case our paths crossed in the future. Who knows, with school principals. It's a small world.Read more