Saturday, November 1, 2014

Santander, Spain (p.2): Palacio de la Magdalena

Palacio de la Magdalena, Santander, Spain 
(Continued from Part 1)

The Palacio de la Magdalena was built in the early 19th century, on the top of a hill overlooking the Bay of Santander. The Second Spanish Republic confiscated the palace and turned it into a university. Check out the link to learn more about Palacio de la Magdalena's history.

We should totally walk the grounds while we're here. Here's the map:

1. Minizoo (We'll visit that last.)
2. Playa de Biquinis. (Let's start here.) ;)
5. Museo del Mar

This view is of the park and cafe on Playa de Biquinis (1). This beach was named in the 1950s when "foreign women" started wearing bikinis here. The beach proper starts across the playground.

Samuel Félix Rodríguez de la Fuente was a Spanish environmentalist in the mid-1900s. He died in a plane crash in Alaska, where he was filming a documentary. The park begins with this monument, contains plaques describing various trees and bushes, and stumps have been carved into interesting figures including chairs. It is a very inviting place to chill. There are also modern art pieces dedicated to victims of terrorism.

We're going to skip walking down to Faro de la Cerda (3). Instead, we'll head directly toward the palace. It's a steady slope leading to great views. In the mean time, check out this groovy stump art. While we pant up the hill.

Welcome to the Palacio de la Magdalena (4)! We made it! What a sight. You really can see the different architectural styles mentioned on the palace website. In a few minutes, we'll head around the corner there on the right to check out the Bay of Santander. It looks promising: beautiful views with well placed benches from which to enjoy them.  

We expected high winds, but there was only a light breeze. Quite an extraordinary day. We met an Irish family that lived in Scotland and were in Spain to see their daughter "off to university." They called it being "on holiday." 

Now, we've got a short walk to the Museo del Mar, but we should definitely take our time, enjoy the views, and sit on some of those stump chairs.

"Aw. Isn't Jenn cute?
Wow. Would you look at that!
Santander, Spain."
~thoughts from Monique's distracted brain~

Okay, enough goofing off. Let's get serious...check out those pretty ships at the Museo del Mar - wait, is that a bubble?

That bubble was used during a research trip to the Amazon. Researchers spent 267 days in it. The three small galleons (caravels) were created and sailed with the intention of embracing the sea-faring spirit and culture that is a part of Spain's heritage. In other words, these ships were created to retrace the steps Columbus took. (Not surprisingly to history buffs, the map of their route showed South America as the destination.)

Museum: The Man and The Sea
 The ships were much smaller than I imagined them to be - the Nina, Pinta, and Santa Maria - particularly when considering that the raft is quite close to the same size. Based on some of the descriptions, I'm not sure that they actually followed Columbus' path, so much as crossed the Atlantic in similar vessels.

Now, that we've seen the Museo del Mar, we're right next to the minizoo. We should check it out, too.

First, the sea lions (left). Then, the sea birds (right). Definitely, a minizoo. It looks like they used to have penguins at some point, but not any more. I'm glad for the penguins' sake. I hate seeing sea lions locked up so close to the ocean. It's sea creature torture: "Here's the ocean. No, you may not go in it." Terrible!

Aside from the minizoo, wow, what a wonderful place to chill out, picnic, enjoy beautiful views, meet others out enjoying the views, ambulate, and otherwise spend the day. Perhaps the next time we'll go swimming at Playa de Biquinis?

In our next post, we go to Altamira, Spain to visit the neolithic cave. Stay tuned for more: "Adventures of JennMoeSa!"