Early train from Santander to Llanes, 75 km further along the coast to the west.
The FEVE station café at Santander is kept by a sharp-eyed pair of older men, white hair and moustaches and uniforms, serving up breakfast with keenness to travellers, like these women and like us.
A gentleman with a red bag came in, walked around the café and went out. The TV showed 70s and 80s pop songs with Spanish videos featuring bizarre costumes.
RENFE (the national train operator) runs trains south from the coastal cities to Madrid, while FEVE runs along the coast. They have separate, adjacent stations. They merged, recently.
The FEVE train is slow. I prefer it to the bus because you can move about, and I can read, and not get travel sick. But it is true that it goes at half the speed of the bus.
This map, on the wall of the FEVE station at Santander, shows half of the journey from Santander (at the top right) to Llanes. I like how the stagecoach is held up for the train.
Although we were not the first to get on, we got the comfiest seats with plenty of leg room for the two hour journey. It turned out, however, that because our seats were fully at the front we got the full benefit of the train’s much-blown horn. It is used to draw the attention of any possible stagecoaches to our approach.
(In the Bob Dylan song, is it a futile or a feudal horn that the one eyed undertaker blows? Both would feel appropriate here.)
Though the line parallels the coast, you rarely see the sea. There’s a fold of land between the mountains and the sea cliffs. that’s where the railway runs, with this picture looking towards the mountains. There are small rivers; the line crosses them more than it follows them.
Thin layer of brown river over bright white stones.
House for sale.
At Urqueno we came across the posh Transcantabrico. I’d love to travel on it along this long little line, dining and sleeping and looking out the window.
At Llanes you climb out of the train and walk across the track to get to the station. Less than a five minute walk, in heat, to our hotel.
|km||mode of transport||kph||€/km|
|Brussels-Paris, 29 July||263||metro, metro, train, taxi||87||0,34|
|Paris-Santander, 29-30 July||764||walk, night train, coach, taxi||41||0,21|
|Santander-Llanes, 3 August||75||taxi, train, walk||25||0,15|