We awoke once more to a listing ship - As mentioned by Lord Gibbs of the Foreign Office, we have been trained well and a crazy sea doesnt bother us too much. We had breakfast and mooched around the ship - again we werent allowed to go astern and the French Crew had now sealed off the entrances properly after the Army lads stunts & removing their temporary signs. It was fun to watch the swells and yes they were very big, the ship would sometimes hit a big one and you'd get a good thump which moved the furniture. Eventually we spotted land and so went to the deck to watch the landing. The sea had calmed down a lot once in shallower waters. There's lots of sandbanks towards the dock and so a Pilot and Tug boat are employed to get the tub into harbour. We talk to a few fellow travellers and had a bit of a laugh with them, most were off in their big camper vans and we met one chap who'd decided to sell up in Blighty and was off for a new life, taking only his push bike with him. He was a very fit guy and said he liked the fact he could cycle anywhere he wanted, he'd done a fair bit by the sounds of it - he was now going to see where fate took him. It was raining in Santander and our cycling friend had been offered a lift by a guy who was heading to the south west of Spain....I told him to go for it, get a lift, throw your bike in the back of the van and see what fate throws at you. He said you're right...and said he was off to find the man with the van.
We were first off the boat and passed an army of cleaners who were getting aboard as were jumping off. Our Hostal for the night wasnt too far away and so we decided to walk it, in the rain - as you can gather it wasnt that simple as we managed to get lost - yet again. During that walk though, we did get to see a bit of Santander - it's not as pretty as the picture when it's raining and we did see beggars and homeless people, the scourge of the west - Not a pretty sight. Eventually we found our place and the Receptionist would have looked happier if we hadnt shown up. He went charmlessly through the motions - he's obviously done it a million times before and couldnt care less.
We throw the bags in and have a shower, then it's time to check out Santander, we walked to the town centre and some of it was quite pretty, some grand buildings and lots of backstreets. We opted for a local market which hosted a number of bars and eateries. Once again we were greeted with dismay by our host - maybe our Army pals had visited the place previously and torn it apart, who knows? We were served a beer but were denied food - as in drink up and get lost - a group of Spanish people showed up and tried to steal my seat - Grant explained in Spanish that I would be back from the wash rooms pronto but they just shooed his conversation off with a wave of the hands and said "Non..." - when I came back the guy behind the bar was making a big deal about giving them food. So we opted for a visit round the back streets and found a little bar that looked like an antiques place crammed full of clocks and whatnots - they were only slightly more friendly in there - after that it was time to bail and head for bed. I think the Brits have probably had too much of a good time there in the past and the novelty has long gone.
Tomorrow - we hit the rails to Madrid.