Day 12 Comillas

13/08/10 (zero miles)

“In the interests of International friendship and pacification, I refrain from pointing out to my large bellied neighbour, a Bergman is a bloody scooter and not a motorbike!

Friday 13th dawns and it feels like we’ve camped in the middle of a roundabout in Manchester, as there was non-stop traffic driving along the road 5 yards behind us through the night and it hasn’t stopped raining. Looks like we’re here for another night too, as it’s too miserable to pack and ride about looking for a new site. 😦

I dress to impress…or at least to stay dry, and head off to buy some breakfast…

The rain broke by mid morning, so we ventured forth to see what Comillas has to offer. We’d read an article in the Guardian travel section giving high praise to the N. Coast and recommended Comillas, San Vicente de la Barquera and Santillana del Mar (described as “the nicest village in Spain”), as well worth visiting given the chance. The sun managed to break through for a brief period as we strolled along the beach to the old port, before heading into the town…

Town is a hidden treasure with cobbled streets, street cafe’s by the dozen serving up huge paella’s and the incredible aroma’s of their range of dishes. We make it through the thriving market, where H was incredibly well restrained, and enticed by the food on display (and the fact it was pouring it down again), stop for a light lunch….burger for me (absolutely deliciously cooked) and ‘special’ toasty for Helen. We walk up to the Palace (which is closed for refurbishment) while looking for an ancient building, ‘El Capricho’ designed by Gaudi. H not feeling the best by now, (not sure if it was the toasty) and it’s still raining, and we’re cleverly dressed for the weather in vest and t-shirt, oops. Eventually we find said building….and it too is closed, marvellous. So we trudge our way back to the tent in the rain, where H has a siesta.

Campsite recce…

Eventually there was a break in the rain and I set off to find an alternative campsite along the coast, heading along the CA131 and soon spotting a camp site not 8 miles away, on a small coast road. A perfect little beach with surfers and kites flying, with a campsite on a field overlooking the beach, MUCH better looking. I ride on further along this road with gentle twists and climbs along its way, hugging the coast with beach after beach and people out enjoying themselves away from the main touristy type beaches. There appears to be surfer-style-chilled-atmosphere along the way with camper vans and modified transits all adorned with the usual stickers and boards. Eventually I reach San Vicente via an ancient arched stone bridge spanning the bay, and ride through the thronging main street packed with restaurant after restaurant with the seafood smells making my mouth water! Ideal for a good night in town methinks. On the return leg from town, I spot another campsite on the outskirts of San Vicente but a much bigger and busier site than the little beach-front one seen earlier. Elated I enjoy the ride back to camp, stopping off for our basic supplies of wine, beer and at last….chocolate. (Having a wife who works for Cadbury’s is never good for one’s diet, but on holiday I had been very well behaved in not buying any before now…but I gave in.)

Comillas at night…

When I arrive back a neighbour appears and tries to communicate with me about bikes. It transpires he owns one through the usual broken Spanish and pointing style, before he pulls out a pen and paper. Turns out he has a Bergman (an automatic scooter type bike, very popular over here judging by the amount passed on the roads) and he ask me what ‘cc’ my bike is, so I tell him. He writes down ‘400’ on the paper, before tapping his chest with his pen and saying my, then writing down ‘650’ on the paper, with a smile on his face! Cheeky get…trying to imply his ‘bike’ is bigger than mine. In the interests of International friendship and pacification, I refrain from pointing out to my large bellied neighbour, a Bergman is a bloody scooter and not a motorbike!

By early evening, we braved it and got our washing done, hanging it out to dry over the bikes (classy), before relaxing with some beer and wine with our books in our tent. We’ve decided to move on tomorrow morning, regardless of the weather. Soon our large bellied neighbour appears in front of me with large bottle of wine and a glass, tipping me to grab my coffee mug and join him in a cup. He’d brought it up from Madrid and I was happy to join our svelt friendly neighbour in a very nice indeed, cuppa de vino tinto! 😉

We ventured into town again as the rains had stopped and our stomach’s demanded some decent food, so we aimed ourselves through the now empty of market stalls cobbled town centre and on towards a tasty looking Italian pizza house. Surprisingly, not as good as the pizza we enjoyed at the Biarritz campsite, so we washed it down with a load of splendid house Rioja. We followed this with a stint of people watching in the cafe square, where all kids roamed and played freely without over-anxious parents keeping constant watch on them, while their relaxed parents chatted away under the restaurant canopy’s. All happy.

Back to the tent for a nightcap and our books. Ernesto Guevara’s tales of high twisty mountain road passes, soon reminded me of the Pyrenees routes through the French border…made me shiver. We’re moving on tomorrow…just pray it’s drier too!

Day 13 Comillas – Oyambre campsite

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