Camchain and tensioner seen up close in a cutaway bike engine

Home Travel StoriesNorthern Spain 2018

Splish Splash Santander

Day 11 2nd June 2018

By Sharon Parker

We wake to sunshine. The campsite looks glorious nestled below the glorious mountains. The blue sky contrasts sharply with the steel grey of the jagged peaks. The trees dazzle in the abundant variety of colours. What a magnificent morning.

However it is sadly time to start heading back towards the coast and Santander today in preparation for the ferry back home. At least the sun decides to finally shine on us as a fond farewell to our time spent in The Picos. The newly filled pool at the campsite looks most inviting but sadly we have no time today for swimming.  La Viorna is most definitely one of my most favourite campsites.

The snow tipped and lush green mountains of the Picos and Potes from the campsite

What's not to love at La Viorna 

Once packed and loaded we head back along the N621. As it is a Saturday the closed part of the road we encountered on our first day in Spain should be open. It's fabulous to see the mountains in all their glory today, bathed in sunshine and blue skies. What a lovely panoramic farewell. 

It is amazing what difference a few days can make. 10 days ago I rode this road with trepidation, today I ride with so much more ease, feeling relaxed and confident. This is a fabulous road and we are lucky we get an almost free run at it. However on the opposite side traffic is suddenly heavier than I have seen so far on this trip. With no opportunity to overtake on this twisty road the bikers coming in the other direction are stuck behind several cars. Definitely a feel on this penultimate day that the season has finally begun.

A deep gorge with steep white stone side, the road runs through it and Sharon is happy in th sun
Farewell, hope to see you again Picos

We have been so blessed with roads to ourselves that finally hitting  traffic in Santander city comes as a bit of a shock. Santander is jammed, traffic and pedestrians doing the unexpected, numerous roundabouts and traffic lights, stop start, stop start... pfft! I don't like cities. I am grateful when we arrive at Camping Cabo Mayor in one piece phew! It is a ordinary campsite in as much as it is clean and functional. Apart from some stag do party in one of the cabins it's quiet as there are few campers. We only have one other tent in our row.

The basic but perfectly functional surroundings of the campsite at Cabo De Mayor
Camping Cabo, it serves our purpose just fine. 

After pitching up the sun is still shining and it is warm enough for just a vest top and skirt for me. We go for a lovely walk to the nearby lighthouse and then down to the beach. I finally get to put my toes in the ocean as I go for a paddle. Despite the heaving mass of people within the town the beach is quiet on this day of sunshine. I guess unlike ourselves the Spanish do not feel the need to rush to the beach when the sun shines. Because unlike us they have no fear this will be the one and only opportunity to partake in a little ocean swim this year, here sunshine is as common as our rain. 

Sharon in vest top and skirt sitting beside the large white lighthouse at Cabo Mayor
A rocky cove with turquoise sea leads to a sandy beach just north of Santander
Sharon is paddling in the warm waters of the small cove
Sun, sand and splashes.

On our stroll back to the campsite we meet a pilgrim named Mike who is looking for a campsite. We know just the place so we walk with him to ours.
Mike is a charming and interesting gentleman and we spend the evening chatting to him. Mike is  72, an ex journalist and is enjoying a simpler less extravagant lifestyle in retirement. To this end he stopped buying thousand pound suits, stopped staying in luxury hotels and stopped paying eye watering amounts for hair cuts. He tells us how if we give up some life luxuries we too could free up cash to travel more. 

Well, err, I seem to have a limited source of luxurious habits to give up. I cut and dye my own hair, no fancy salons for me not even a local hairdressers. No fancy clothes or top notch hotels. Haa! It's my being frugal that means I get to do this,  two weeks in the Picos on my shiny motorbike. 

I guess my life is as trimmed back as it can be, no cigarettes to give up to free some cash, no drinking to cut down on. Damn my lack of bad habits and luxuries. Guess I have no thousands awaiting release. Never mind I have this day, this holiday and that is something to be very grateful for. 

Soon it is time for bed, my last sleep under Spanish skies for this holiday.  

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Building Up To EspaƱa In the prologue to their journey Ren can't help but feel that the forthcoming journey might be a costly disaster. Forever the optimist.
Getting Ready For Spain Sharon is determined to be ready, organised and prepared for her forthcoming trip to Spain. However life is even more determined to ruin her plans.
Bodging Daaan Saaaf Ren bears witness to an impossible event. Then there's some last minute bodging to be done.
Motorway Miles And Muses Sharon's derriere proves more than tough enough for the big ride across England. Can she manage to lose them emotional luggage while securing her physical luggage though?
To The Ferry What are the chances of Sharon getting out of bed very early twice in the same week. Well she'd better had otherwise the Muppet's will miss the ferry.
Ocean Blue Sharon's more excited than nervous but this is the first time the Kwakker has been aboard ship. That's if customs let her on board.
Lost Off The Ferry The great adventurer and motorcyclist Ren is proving that he is in fact a useless idiot. He can't ride and he can't find a campsite that is open. Oh what will become of the BAT muppets?
Campsite Conundrum Sharon is having way too much fun while Ren is trying to find a place to sleep. Well someone has to be happy when Ren's such a grump.
Discovering The Picos After a troublesome first day in Spain hopefully Sharon and Ren's luck will improve. Thing is they have a 187km detour to reach their destination. There have been worse detours though.
Heaven's Mirror Putting fear and doubt to bed for a while Sharon enjoys the wondrous ecstasy of nature and the joy of riding a motorcycle through it. Oh and a lot of sharp corners too.
Rain In The Picos Will the rain bring doom and gloom to the already grumpy Ren? Luckily there's enough scenery and interesting things to keep him going.
The Sound Of Silence In spite of a dire weather forecast Sharon's day in Spain is filled with the beauty of nature, fond memories and the creation of great new memories.
Riding to Burgos Is motorcycle touring a non stop stream of excitement, beauty, wonder and exploration? Erm, nope. It's a rather ordinary day on the road to Burgos.
Tin Tin It's both a good and bad day for Sharon as she travels from the delights of the mountains to the grim reality of the city and the rain. At least her hair is looking good.
Higher Than I've Ever Been In spite of the weather forecasts. In spite of no longer being in The Picos. In spite of Ren being a pessimist. In spite of all this it seems Northern Spain has more delights in store.
Magical Kingdom Sharon's having another amazing day riding around Northern Spain. She's on a high, metaphorically and literally.
Boots And Burgos Ren is suffering a footwear malfunction and it's time to go and do that city thing. Can Burgos convert Sharon and Ren into city lovers?
Burgos Bimble Sharon explores the city of Burgos, Spain. Architecture, stone masonry, pilgrims and tempting food. But can a city really endear itself to this country girl?
Lost In Luxury How to turn a fortuitous and splendid day into a nightmare. Just follow Ren and he'll sort the rest out. Still, it could be worse.
Dam Lost Fearing the weather Sharon is braced for a drenching. Thing is the weather isn't really the problem.
Gritty Northern El Bierzo There's time to explore a different part of Northern Spain today. It might not have the beauty of The Picos De Europa it is however a fascinating area.
Blink Of An Eye Sharon has an interesting day poking around north west Spain. There's a something of a shock in store for the evening.
Back To Beauty, Dodgy Caravan It's time for the dynamic muppets to saunter their way back towards the ferry and Ren is in reflective mood. Wonderful scenery, weird accommodation.
The Good, The Bad And The Musty It's a day of confusing emotions for Sharon, but life is for living. Will this evening's accommodation be as luxurious as the previous evening's?
Beautiful Potes While going to a now familiar town is hardly intrepid at least it means Ren is calm, chilled out and not lost. For once.
Head In The Clouds Sharon is calmed by the wonders of Northern Spain's wondrous scenery as she returns to the comforts of Potes.
Sun, Sand, Sea And Santander The weather has improved now it's time for the dynamic muppets to head back to the ferry. Ren is intrigued by stories or walking across Northern Spain, will we see "Walks And Travels" or W.A.T.?
Splish Splash Santander The beauty and grandeur of the The Picos means Sharon does not want to leave, ever. It's back to the city, ready to sail home. Fear not, there's still pleasures to be found.
The Ferry Home It's the dynamic muppet's last day in Spain so it's time to catch the ferry. A mixture of sadness and relief for Ren, but what about the other riders in the queue?
Final Thoughts On Spain Ren crosses the T's and dots the I's on the Spanish trip.

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