Cantabria, Liendo and a Festival

“I would sooner be a foreigner in Spain than most countries.  How easy it is to make friends in Spain!”                                                                                                        George Orwell – ‘Homage to Catalonia’

So, after leaving Castilla y Leon we re-entered Euskadi and then left it just as quickly again as the road sign announced that we were back in Cantabria.  The green valley was picturesque without being dramatic and for a time we could have been in the Yorkshire Dales or the Lincolnshire Wolds until we drove through the town that was busy today with a cattle market and horse auction that was attracting lots of people in from the surrounding countryside.  We didn’t stop but drove through the middle of all the excitement and after a while were back in Euskadi and then after another short while back in Cantabria where we followed directions to Ampuero and then once again to Laredo.

As we had already seen the seaside end of the town, and the weather wasn’t really suitable for the beach anyway, this time we parked at the other end of the town at the historical centre and walked in.  We were looking for somewhere to eat and another of Marta’s recommendations and we followed the road from the Town Hall into the back of the town looking for the bar El Tunel.  Marta’s directions were perfect and when we found it we agreed that this was a sitting indoors sort of day so squeezed past the pavement tables and went inside.

The bar was laid out with an assortment of pinchos and we made some choices as the staff tried hard to be helpful with explanations, all in Spanish of course,  and it really didn’t matter really what they were because they all looked delicious; and so they were so we had a good selection and a couple of beers and thoroughly enjoyed our late lunch.

When we left the bar we were surprised to find that the sun was out, the clouds were gone and the temperature had more or less doubled.  It was shirt sleeve weather now so we took the opportunity to explore the cobbled back streets of the town.  Laredo old town was declared a Historic Site in 1970 and is the original town centre dating from the Middle Ages and it still preserves remains of its old original walls.  It consists of a network of small streets and large stately houses from the sixteenth to the eighteenth centuries and at the highest part of the town the Gothic parish church of Santa María de la Asunción where there had been a wedding earlier but was firmly locked and closed now.

With the sun on full power we thought it would be nice to go back to the Posada and sit in the garden so we drove back, stopping at a petrol filling station on the way back to buy some beer and wine and after taking a detour to a disappointing viewing platform just outside the village arrived back in Liendo at about four o’clock.

It was delightful in the privacy of the private garden and we drank some wine, played some cards and chatted to a solo traveller from the Netherlands who had just arrived and we just simply enjoyed being in a tranquil environment surrounded by flowers, listening to bird songs and virtually watching the grass grow and a day that began requiring raincoats ended needing sunscreen.

As the sun dipped behind a tree we slipped into the shade we thought we might move the table back into the sun so we took one end each, lifted and selected a new spot and began to lower into position.  We lowered and lowered and then lowered a bit more and when we were clearly closer to the ground than we really should be it eventually dawned on us that we only had the table top and not the table legs because the two parts were not attached so we had to return to the original position and hope that no one had seen our little moment of pantomime.

Later we returned to El Roble for a final dinner, choose badly off the menu and had a lamb meal we didn’t enjoy.  The owner realised this and although it was our own fault insisted on only charging us half for the meal.  We thought that was nice.

After dinner we returned to the village where the festival was in full swing and people in the square  were listening and dancing to a group singing Spanish pop songs and we just had to join in.  The local people seemed to like this and invited us to join them in their group dancing routines that seemed straight forward enough in a barn dance jigging sort of way and we spent half an hour or so being a part of the community of Liendo.  It was a good finish to the day and as we returned to the hotel under clear skies we were optimistic about the next day.



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