It's Sunday night and I just got home from our first weekend trip away from Valladolid! In the picture above are my two closest friends on the trip thus far, Jessica is on the left and Rachael is on the right. So we quickly found out that Santander was a popular destination this weekend because of summer vacation here. We had a group of 12 going and we weren't sure what we wanted to do or where we were going to stay! Turns out that my host father, Jesus, lived in Santander for 11 years and met my host mother, Paula, there too. So, having lived there, he had a close friend that owned a hostel in town and called to make Jessica and I a reservation.
The bus left at 7:30 a.m. and I slept almost the whole time. When we got there, none of the other people made reservations where to stay so I gave them the name of Hostadaje Lucy where I was staying and turns out all of us stayed there! It was really nice, but the only downfall is it was far away from the beach and we had to take about a 20 minute us ride to the other side of town. Santander is known for it's gorgeous beaches and of course we picked the one weekend that it rained and there was quite the cold front coming through. On the ride there, I could not see out the window because it was SOOO foggy! (I have pictures of this fog level from the way home) The bus dropped us off directly at the beach, but it was too chilly to stay so we started our search for the hostel. I remember my host-father talking about how it was near a casino so we walked along the coast and came up to this HUGE casino. We asked a cab driver where it was and they said it was just up the way, but when we didn't see the street name, we asked the tourist stand and that's when we found out it was on the other side of town.
We finally got there and met Lucy right away. She was so nice and she set aside a special room for Jessica and I that looked over the port. I thought it was soo beautiful, especially at night!! (I have pictures, don't worry ) Everyone was pretty tired so we all took a siesta and the bed was so comfortable. Jessica and I each had our own bed, and a nice bathroom. We got a great deal for the view and the condition! After our nap, we planned on going to the beach, but it was still chilly out so instead we decided to go see the Palace of Merida. We walked the coast line, next to pretty gardens and on our way in, we saw a bunch of campers with horses on them! We were just kinda winging the afternoon and we came across a horse competition! It was sooo awesome and I got some great pictures and the best part was it was FREE! The horses were jumping over bars, I can't find what the name of the competition was, but it was great! After, we walked up to the Palace, but there were a couple of big parties going on, people in gorgeous formal dresses, so we couldn't go inside, but the view from above was so worth it! The water and coastline was absolutely gorgeous! After we got back down, we took the bus back to the hostel and got ready for dinner. It started pouring rain so we just went to a little diner around the corner. It wasn't the best food in the world, but we got to experience "tapas" or free appetizers for the first time and I tried my first Rioja! Wine is SUPER cheap here!
After dinner, Janneth, Rachael, Abbie, Jessica and I went out. We were walking down the street and asked a young group of people where they were going. We took cabs to this little bar called Floridita, which played great music and had a fun atmosphere. After, we walked around town a little bit and we came across hundreds of poeple in the central sqaure! There were six bars surrounding it and it was soooo crazy to see that many people out in the open just drinking and having a great time. We ended up running into another group at our school from Texas and met some people, but wanted to dance again. We went back to Floridita and there weren't many people there, so we left and walked around the city a little and came across the "ayuntamiento" or city hall all lit up! It was gorgeous!!! I didn't take my camera out that night, but Jessica got a picture of it. Then we took cabs home and went to sleep.
The next morning we woke up to rain. We were planning on getting up early and eating breakfast at this modern-outside seated place that we walked past coming back from the palace, but it was raining and we just went back to sleep and slept in. We turned in our keys at noon and left for the day. We were planning on going to the casino because most of us have never been to one, so thought it would be fun. On our bus ride there, we notcied a TON of people walking around in this tunnel and we figured it was a flea market or something. Jessica, Janeth, Abbie and I got off at the next stop and walked back to the flea market to check it out. There were soooo many people but we found some really great stuff. I found two beautiful jeweled bracelts and another bracelet that had a white stone all the way around, with gold detail. I also found a purse that is like basket weave at the top and a really pretty fabric made the body of it. I got a black one so it goes with everything and I think my mom will really like it too
After, we went back to look at a beautiful church, The Cathedral Basilica y Claustro. Janneth and Abbie had to take pictures of a church here for their art project and I heard the churches here are so pretty! We took pictures in the courtyard, but pictures were not allowed inside. We walked inside still and pictures could not show how gorgeous this curch was. It was really big and had gorgeous gold art everywhere and OH MY, it was beautiful. After, we were hungry so we stopped at a place I saw earlier, where people were standing with wine and eating. Bodega de Estacios was a cute little resturaunt. We took a seat in the back and had Rioja and split some food. I got fish with a little salad and Abbie got Paella Marisco, so we split each and they were sooooo good! Especially the paella, probably because the seafood came straight from the ocean right on the coast :) After, we talked and on our walk to the train station, we saw this wall with writing in copper and metal. It was sooo cool, I will definitely put up pictures, but it was kinda tucked away. This is what winging a trip is all about!
The bus ride home was faster than the ride there. I watched "The Day After Tomorrow" in Spanish and took pictures of the scenary. It was still foggy, but clear enough that I could see the rolling green hills and pastures with little pockets of towns. The scenary was sooo pretty! It reminded me a little of Switzerland with the mountains in the distance. I fell asleep for a little bit of the movie, and when I woke up, there were huge white windmills outside. Those was pretty cool! After we got home, we walked along the river to get home, which felt great after sitting in the bus for a couple hours, and had a great big dinner with the family. What a great first weekend! Although the weather did not cooperate, it was still so much fun! Pictures coming soon!!