Wednesday, June 27: Right after Spanish classes today, we went by private bus for an excursion to El Soplao and Santillana del mar. We first went on a tour of La cueva de El Soplao and had a guided visit (en espanol) through the cave. After we loaded up on our bus, we headed to the town of Santillana del mar. After an explanation of why Santillana del mar is considered the town of “tres mentiras,” students had free time to meander through and explore the Casco viejo (also called casco historico) which is the old part of town.

Thursday, June 28: This afternoon, several students braved the waves and took a surfing lesson at Playa Somo. It was an overcast day, so the waves weren’t actually very big, but made for a good day for beginners to learn to surf. We took the ferry from Santander to Somo and some students enjoyed the beach of Somo while others surfed. The ferry back to Santander allowed us some great views of el Palacio de la Magdalena and the city of Santander.
Friday, June 29: Today was the last day of classes for Summer 1 students. They took their “final exam,” and received certificates of attendance for the past two weeks. Students enjoyed free time on their last day here in Santander and we all met up at Bodegas Mazon for our “cena de despedida,” which was our last meal all together.
Saturday, June 30: Departure day for Summer 1! These past two weeks absolutely flew by. There’s no denying tons of new friendships were made in this group and that they left with tons of great experiences, stories and memories! The Santander Month students went on an excursion to Bilbao. There, they explored “la parte vieja” (the old part) of the city, saw the cathedral, and explored the streets filled with shops and cafes. After some free time in la parte vieja, students rode the trolley to the Guggenheim Museum. After finish at the museum, they eventually made their way back to Santander. Meanwhile, back in Santander, Summer 2 students arrived! It was a rainy arrival day, but every one (and their luggage) made it safely! We introduced ourselves to everyone and went through an orientation before homestay families met us at Hotel Bahia and students headed off to their new home for the next two weeks!
Sunday, July 1: Summer 2 students were accompanied by their homestays to Escuela Nautica to help them learn the commute from their homestay to school each day. We started our day at Nautica with a more in-depth orientation and then went on a walking tour of Santander. We walked to a couple of beaches and walked to where we had lunch at Restaurante Cantabria. Month students joined us for a very typical “Menu del dia” lunch. After a big lunch (lunch is traditionally the biggest meal of the day in Spain), many month students headed off to watch the Spain vs. Russia football match of the World Cup and Summer 2 plus a couple of Month students continued walking about Santander. We explored the Ayuntamiento, Catedral, Correos, Banco de Espana, Banco de Santander, Centro Botin and eventually ended at Chocolateria Valor for a tasty treat of Churros con chocolate. Homestay families picked up their students to help them home for dinner and a much needed night’s sleep.
Monday, July 2: Today was a regular day of classes for the old pros in the month group and was the placement test for our new summer 2 students. After classes and lunch today, we took a public bus to a beautiful, peaceful town called Puente Viesgo. Students had free time in the town to enjoy the mountains, river, park, bridges and all other sights and sounds of a quiet pueblo in Cantabria before returning to Santander.
Tuesday, July 3: Today was a beautiful, sunny day in Santander. The optional activity for the day was the ropes course. Thirteen students zipped through the course like pros, only losing, but later finding, one sneaker in the process! The others opted for tiempo libre and a few went to the Magic/Science/Optical Illusion exhibit in Plaza Porticada. There’s always something to do in Santander!
That concludes this week’s summary. More to come as we’ve still got lots on our itinerary!