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Saturday, December 17, 2011

France/Spain 2011 - Day 9, Part 1 - Prehistoric Caves, Collegiate Church of Santillana del Mar

France/Spain 2011
Day 9 - 25th March - Prehistoric Caves, Collegiate Church of Santillana del Mar
(Part 1)


At breakfast time, a very disturbing video was playing on the ground floor of the hotel: a nature documentary of ants

We then headed to:

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Cuevas del Monte del Castillo (Caves of Mt Castillo), caves which retain traces of early human habitation
While Altamira is the most famous (and nicest) cave, access is not currently possible due to conservation reasons. We could've looked at replica drawings, but there wouldn't really have been a point

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UNESCO listing certification (2008)

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This was the habitation area. Inside were the paintings (where photography was disallowed)

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Information on the Cave of Las Monedas (the coins)

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Information on the Cave of El Castillo (the castle)

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Information on the Cave of La Pasiega

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Information on the Cave of Las Monedas (the chimneys)

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The Discovery

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On the spears

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Plan of El Castillo (the one we were in, I think)

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Caves

Entrance was only with a guide. Our guide didn't really speak English, but with scattered phrases and his speaking very slow Spanish, we got the main idea.

Prince Albert of Monaco excavated here. The sediments show evidence of human habitation from 150,000 years ago. The painting was done by Homo Sapiens, not Neanderthals. There're paintings from different periods together, and 4 different species: Cro-Magnon, Homo Sapiens and Neanderthals (I missed the last).

There were handprints, but not all were full handprints. A different configuration of fingers was symbolic of different things. A hand on a bison possibly symbolised possession.

Different tribes had different symbols. There were 4 types of symbols: animal, handprints, geometric shapes and shamans in the shape of animals, for example a Shaman as an upright bison. Natural cracks and rock were used to form the image of animals.

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Caves sign

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Valley the caves overlook

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Road down and idyllic valley


Hillside outside Cuevas de El Castillo 1

I think the point of these videos was to record the cowbells from such a far distance, but they're hard to hear above the ambient noise


Hillside outside Cuevas de El Castillo 2

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Nuts on top, phyllo pastry below

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Views of this local snack

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Piedras de Santillana = Stones of Santillana

We also took stock of the preserved eggs: the salted duck eggs were gone but the century eggs still alright as they were in a carton.

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Car and Sakura (?) in Puente Viesgo

We then returned to Santillana del Mar.

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Zoo banner

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Medieval street

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Calle del Cantón with a cock "boutique"

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Calle de Las Lindas

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Church square

There was a bakery near the church.

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Casa Quevedo (the name of the place, I think)

However, more interesting than the cakes was:

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The best milk I'd ever had
It was extremely rich. If silk were milk, this would be it.

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Guy posing with a jug of his fantastic stuff

We then visited the Collegiate Church of Santillana del Mar.

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There's more Romanesque architecture in Northern Spain than in France.

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"No Swimsuits"

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Altar with St Louis

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Cloisters view

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Pillars

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Capital

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Cloisters

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Jesus (?) - signage was quite poor

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Santiago Pilgrim

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St. Juliana dominates the devil

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Church itself

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Some grave

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Altar

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Altar

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Creepers

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Capital


The GPS I'd used in France had led us to closed petrol stations but at least the roads were right. The one in Spain had really outdated maps.
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