La Rochelle to Santander 27th-28th July

Chris & Sally Longstaff
Sun 6 Aug 2006 14:50

Across The Bay of Biscay; Thur 27th ~ Fri 28th July

5AM in La Rochelle and we are waiting to see if the rain will pass and the morning arrive bright. 6AM and we leave regardless. The next 12 hours are a series of thunder and lightning storms passing overhead. Not a pleasant sail. Sea not too rough and fortunately the wind generally in our favour, so could be worse, but we are constantly considering all we have read about the probability, and effects of, being hit by lightning.

Without wishing to tempt fate it does seem as though lightning does not necessarily take the obvious route of one tall mast in the middle of a sea. It certainly strikes all around.

36 hours to La Rochelle and we found it very hard work to stay awake for our 3 hour watches during the night. Good wind and good speed helped. Finally motored the last 3~4 hours through a lumpy sea and arrived in Santander, on a beautiful green and hilly coastline. Spain!

Hospitable arrival, and blasting hot showers. Great Marina, if a little remote from town and shopping facilities; which necessitates hiring a car to get into Santander etc. City in the middle of the Festival of Bulls….and some Music.

Checked out the Bull Fighting festival, to get a taste of the atmosphere…. . Next to the actual stadium are marquees selling fantastic roasted ribs, hams, local cheeses etc and beers and wines. The Stadium itself is quite small and has the atmosphere of an era gone by, or maybe just of a sport that has become unfashionable and unacceptable to much of the rest of the world. As a building it has all the characteristics and adornments of a place of drama. Fantastic. As the Bull fighting ended and the doors opened I sneaked in to witness the Matador being carried around the arena on another’s shoulders to the acclaim of the crowd. Strange but compelling atmosphere. I look at the people leaving to see if they seem intoxicated by the recent blood-letting, but they really do not look very different from a crowd leaving the Theatre Royal in Bath; in fact the latter look a little more content.