Sunday 30 June 2019

I’m glad I didn’t skip Santander. You know those nights when you could get to sleep if only your arms and legs weren’t in the way, well one o’clock saw me give up and read for an hour, then seven o’clock wanted my company. I was inclined to try and get back to sleep but got my act together and hit the road.

For a town named after a bank, Santander is lovely.

It’s not as big as I expected,

has a wonderful wide promenade that sweeps around the bay, across beaches and out to the peninsula of Magdelena, upon which is perched a former royal retreat.

It stands in what is now a public park, where ships of the Santander born explorer Vital Alsar Ramírez, who was inspired by Thor Heyerdahl’s Kon Tiki expedition, are displayed.

This balsa boat, La Balsa, went from Ecuador to Australia,about 9000 miles, in 1970, showing that people from South America could have populated Pacific islands.

He took these Galleons around the world to Mexico and back in 1980.

The peninsula has sandy beaches on either side busy on this sunny Sunday.

Returning to the promenade, I had started off at Centro Botín,

a gallery opened two years ago,

designed by Renzo Piano who did the Pompidou Centre in Paris.

Another beautiful gallery. The walkways are an extension of the park.

The exhibitions were wonderful, I enjoyed them all. Sadly there is a ‘no photo’ policy. The highlight was the Alexander Calder exhibition that opened only yesterday.

I’ve pinched these images from t’interweb, to show the exhibition and the space.

These figures by Santander artist Jose Cobo Calderón stand in the park,

and these others along the promenade.

This, by him,

is a memorial to the fire that ripped through the old city, though only one person a fireman, was killed. There is a fire walk you can follow, though I didn’t. I found this pictur of the cathedral after the blaze.

Coincidentally, this afternoon, I took this.

Santander is a lovely beach resort but offers much more than that, even if it is named after this bank.

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