September 17,2013. Tuesday. Overcast this morning and cool. Breakfast in a very modern dining hall, felt like the high school cafeteria. Then on the bus, feeling pretty good this morning, a little congestion, but a few more of the group have come down with the cold. Not too long of a trip brought us up in the Swiss looking mountains and streams to the shrine of Cavadonga) where King Pelayo started the conquest of Spain in the 8th century. The BVM appeared to him there so this not only a political spot but also a religious one. There were many buses of Spaniards there. We stayed for a while, because the place where we were supposed to have lunch had lost our reservations, so we decided to stay put and have lunch there, which we did. First L and I visited the museum. I walked to the grotto. The lunch was excellent. We had specially soup of fava beans with sausage, really good, then pork and potatoes, and then through a little town with a romanesque bridge with a hanging victory cross. Great views of mountains and ocean, including a blowhole. Great rough ocean to our left. About 4 Pm we arrived at Santillana del Mar, which Satre called the most perfect Spanish village in the country. And it was! The whole town wonderfully medieval. I of course headed for the church of San Juliana, which turned out to be my favorite of the innumerable churches we visited this whole trip. Wonderful unspoiled Romanesque with three women saints portrayed at the front of the church. The whole town is great, with unique cobblestone streets and a small but elegant Parador where we stayed with great wood plank floors and a view overlooking the garden. Dinner was superb as always with stuffed cabbage with seafood, grilled chicken with veggies, flan with chocolate for dessert.
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