When the Weather Doesn’t Cooperate

Our third and final beach day in Santander, the temperature dropped by at least 20 degrees. It was dismal and rainy, and much too cold to spend at the beach. We were all disappointed to miss out on a day playing in the surf and sand. We decided to take a taxi out to see one of the lighthouses.

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We asked our taxi drivers to drop us off, but it was so cold and rainy they insisted on waiting for us. They told us to go take a few pictures, and then they would take us somewhere else. The taxi drivers in Spain that we encountered are the nicest collective group of taxi drivers that I have ever encountered. They were friendly and helpful, which was a huge bonus when traveling around with so many little ones. I wish I spoke more Spanish. It would have been pleasant to speak with them a little more.

We got out of the taxi and took some pictures of the lighthouse and the coastline.

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The northern provinces of Spain are green and rainy. We met an Irish couple in the previous town who told us it looks just like Ireland. Celtic culture is a part of the history of northern Spain as well. We saw Celtic symbols in some of the old churches we saw. The people also play bagpipes.

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Even though I was cold, I was so glad we had a chance to see this cliffs overlooking the ocean. I love the ocean in stormy weather!

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After we were finished enjoying the view and taking some pictures, our taxi drivers kindly suggested that we go to El Corte Ingles. El Corte Ingles is a large department store in Spain, similar to Macy’s, but also like a mini mall. It was a great place to spend a rainy day. The children had a great time checking out the toys, and playing in the play area. We ate at Burger King, which had Lalaloopsy Toys as part of the kids meals. My girls learned to love Lalaloopsy on this trip. It’s a children’s show that has dolls with button eyes as the main characters. I found the Lalaloopsy characters to be somewhat creepy, and my kids thought that was hilarious. There was a grocery store where we picked up some needed snack items and toiletries. My husband was even able to go to the doctor while there. He┬áhad developed strep throat on our trip. Thank you, taxi drivers, for the excellent rainy day recommendation!

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We were sad that our last beach day was rained out, but it was nice to have a low key day to rest and recharge before heading to Bilbao the next day.

How do you handle wrinkles in your travel plans? What’s the best impromptu experience you’ve had with your family traveling?

Santander, A Coastal City

For those of you who have read my blog before, I must admit that this past year I have not been writing about our travels. We’ve been on several family trips, so it isn’t a lack of traveling that has kept me from writing. In returning to this blog, I thought about skipping the rest of our trip to Spain and starting with a more recent family trip. But in looking back through our pictures of Spain, I remembered just how wonderful a time we had there. So here I am, picking up where I left off.

When we decided to go to Spain, we knew we wanted to spend some time at the beach. The glorious, glorious beach!

Santander is located around the center of the northern coast of Spain. A long ferry travels to Santander from England, so you hear a mixture of British English and Spanish everywhere around town. We were there in May, so it wasn’t quite peak beach season. The weather, on average, was warm enough to spend a day at the beach as long as you didn’t spend too much time in the water. Playa del Sardinero is the largest and most popular beach in Santander. That is where we spent our beach time. The sand was soft and golden. The waves were large enough that you felt you were swimming in the ocean, but small enough that I felt safe enough to let my children play without being an arm distance away. Not like the California riptides where I feel that I have to hold onto each child at all times to keep them from being swept out to.

The curve of the beach is bordered on both sides by a rocky outcrop. When the tide goes out, there are tide pools to search for aquatic treasures. We stayed at Gran Hotel Sardinero, which is just across the street from the beach, a gorgeous white hotel with an architectural style similar to the casino, which it is adjacent to.

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Our hotel room wasn’t quite ready when we reached Santander. We arrived in midmorning. Our children couldn’t wait to get to the beach, so we left our luggage at the hotel, ran across the street and splashed right in.

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The central white building in this picture is the casino. The white building on the right is our hotel. In addition to playing at the beach, we took a boat tour around the harbor. There are two lighthouses in Santander, one towards each end of Playa del Sardinero. We got a good view of both on the tour, plus a view of the former royal palace.

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We didn’t do much else in Santander besides playing at the beach. It was a welcome respite for our children from the medieval cities and museums we took them to. Sometimes, you just need a day (or two or three) at the beach.

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