A couple of weeks ago my boyfriend found a project-related opportunity in a town in Cantabria and less than 24 hours later we were in the car on our way to the north of Spain. We can be very spontaneous sometimes.
We left Barcelona around 10am and late in the afternoon we made it to Laredo, on the Atlantic coast in the autonomous community of Cantabria. We went from Catalonia to Aragon, where we had a long lunchbreak in Zaragoza. Then we drove through Navarra, La Rioja, The Basque Country and finally ended up in Cantabria. It was a very exhausting trip and maybe a bit silly to go and return in three days, but I saw many new places and it was great to see the landscape changing in every autonomous community.
Aragon is really, really dry, when driving through it I had the feeling I was in the Wild West. We decided to make a stop in Zaragoza. We went to the city center where we saw the beautiful cathedral (El Pilar) and had a delicious lunch. Unfortunately we didn’t have time to explore more of the city, but the center was really nice and definitely worth another visit.
Then we made our way through Navarra and entered La Rioja. I loved seeing the vineyards everywhere and I actually couldn’t wait to try a glass of vino tinto, but well, we were stuck on the highway and just kept going. After a while we got to The Basque Country and it was exactly as green and beautiful as I remembered it to be. As some of you may know, I did my Erasmus semester in San Sebastián and it probably is still my favourite city in the world. We passed by Bilbao and of course it was raining. I didn’t really mind the rain, because the summer in Catalonia has really been too long. In Cantabria the rain wouldn’t stop either and the sky was very dark and grey, but still, seeing all the green fields, mountains and the cows made me happy as a child. Some of you may think that this doesn’t sound very Spanish, but yes, this is also Spain and I love how many different landscapes this country has to offer. We arrived to our hostel in Laredo, with an amazing view, and were completely exhausted, but decided to go into town for dinner anyways. To be honest, when the summer is over, the town is a bit too quiet and there was not too much to do. But we did find one super cosy street with little bars that reminded me of Basque streets. I loved it.
On our second day we dedicated most of our time to the project we came for, but decided to have lunch in a nice place and we ended up in Santander. Santander is a beautiful city on the coast and the lunch we had was delicious. We went to “La Casa del Indiano” and we had one of the best tapas I ever tasted. Together we had 12 tapas and some glasses of wine for only €16. That was a huge and delicous surprise. I really advice you to go there. The bar is located in “El Mercado del Este” where you can find more bars/restaurants, a great place to go if you love food. (Who doesn’t?)
Then, on the third and last day it was already time to drive the 600km back to Barcelona. We were not really looking forward to this. For some reason the trip for going home always seems to take a lot longer. But again, we decided to stop in a city to have a nice break and be tourists again. We chose to stop in Logroño, the capital of La Rioja, so basically the capital of the wine. I like the sound of that.
We quickly headed to the famous Calle Laurel and we heard that we had to go to Bar Angel this bar only offers one kind of tapa: champis (mushrooms). This tapa consists of three mushrooms and a shrimp fixed onto a piece of bread. Well, for a mushroom lover like me, this was heaven. The champis tasted so good and the combination with La Rioja wine was delicious. When you go to Logroño, make sure you don’t miss this place! Afterwards we had some other tapas in a different bar and we decided it was time to drive home.
At 9pm that night we arrived in Barcelona. Completely exhausted, but also very satisfied with the work we had done and all the places we saw in such a short amount of time. After spending the whole summer in Catalonia it was great to discover new parts of Spain and the north is truly beautiful.