Day 13: Santander (played hooky and went up north for the day) aka Gran Hotel!


Woke up to a rain storm outside, which was at first a bummer. It was at breakfast (provided by the hotel/really decent), where we met Marcy, who’s from LA and completing the Camino with her son. He’s a couple days behind us because she unfortunately got an infected blister and decided to take the bus to the next big city to wait for him, while she healed. It’s sad that I keep hearing these tales of infected blisters and toe nails falling off. I can’t begin to stress how important it is that you take good care of your feet on the Camino. That means good shoes, sandals to change into, nightly foot baths, short toe nails and Compeed or Second Skin for blisters.

In meeting Marcy, it was decided that her, me my mom and Klaus, would all rent a car and head to Santander for the day ( a Camino detour). What was the point in walking in wet, cold and windy weather, anyway? We rented a car that included insurance from Europcar for €60. In our 1.5 hour drive, we got to know Marcy better while we heard Klaus humming ‘Guantanamera’ over and over again. In German, this is apparently called an 'ear worm.’ In English, this is called 'annoying.’

As we got closer to the northern coast, the rain stopped, the wind slowed down, and the sun began to shine. Also, the highways here are just the nicest I’ve ever seen. They seem new, clean and empty. Arriving in Santander felt like a dream. It was Lake Geneva meets Laguna Beach… Who would’ve known that this part of the Bay of Biscay was this aesthetically appeasing? We were all famished once we parked, and grabbed some fresh seafood at a local restaurant (€20 each), which we thoroughly enjoyed. After we realized this is a stop on the Camino del Norte, we questioned why we chose to walk the Camino Frances instead. 

After lunch, we walked to the Peninsula and Magdalena Palace or Palacio Magdalena, which the Gran Hotel, Spanish television series was filmed. Unfortunately, there were no tours being offered, but at least we got to walk around the premises, and I climbed up the stairs a couple of times to scream 'Dieeeggoooo.' I must say, the property was much smaller in person. I suppose that’s Hollywood for you, or at least Spain. The peninsula itself is a public park, with some great walking paths and what seems to be a miniature Sea-world (seals, penguins, etc.).

Later we grabbed some sorbet and felt the warm waters of the bay. This has definitely been my favorite city in Spain, and I was sad to have to leave such a warm paradise. As we headed back to Burgos, the weather got stormy as did my attitude. Klaus was still humming Guantanamera, and I swear that song has officially been ruined for me, and I may throw something at someone if I ever hear it again. Before going to our hotel, we stopped by Decathlon (Europe’s version of REI) to pick up some necessities for everyone. Klaus got a sleeping bag for €7 and both Marcy and my mom picked up thermals for €14. Since our previous hotel had only one room left for the night, we let Marcy take it. After dropping her off, we headed to our new hotel, which is the same company but cheaper, as it is quite a ways away. The hotel is called Hotel Camino de Santiago (real original), and only costed us €50, including breakfast to stay there. Upon arrival, I felt exhausted and feverish. I was just happy to be in a warm bed. I am seriously once again hoping for a sunny day tomorrow.