Information about stage 15: Stage from Queveda to Comillas
It take 7 to 9 hours if you walk it in one day
If we want to visit Santillana del Mar, we will have to leave the hostel very early and go towards Camplengo, where after a detour to the right we will go down until we come across the side façade of the Collegiate Church of Santa Juliana. This old monastery was the origin of Santillana del Mar, a town that was declared a Historic-Artistic Site in 1943. We could spend the whole day visiting museums and wandering the streets between palaces and manor houses, since the town is well worth it. The absence, not only of painted arrows, but also of stone shells, forces one to imagine the march. The exit leaves from the Plaza de Ramón Pelayo, where the Town Hall is, to take Calle de los Hornos.Before reaching the campsite there is a beautiful view of Santillana partly surrounded by a large meadow. We now go to the nearby Arroyo which we enter after passing a regional road. You have to leave the hermitage set on the hillside on your left to go down a cement cart to Oreña. Thus we enter the municipality of Alfoz de Lloredo. Arriving at the town we will see in the distance the church of San Pedro that appears as a watchtower on the top. We will go towards it and we will leave this 16th century temple to descend to Caborredondo.We cross it by road, we pass over the CA-131 and when we arrive at a house with the name La Solana we turn right to, next to cornfields, reach the imposing image of the church of San Martín de Cigüenza. The temple was built in the middle of the 18th century according to the designs of the Indian Juan Antonio de Tagle and was declared an Asset of Cultural Interest in 1992. After contemplating San Martín we continue to Novales, the capital of the municipality – it is easy not to enter it because before that there is a turn that cuts off and that goes up to the CA-356 towards Cóbreces-. Novales is famous for its orange and lemon groves that grow thanks to a special microclimate found in this area. Already in times of the Empire, the Romans loaded their ships with these citrus fruits. Abandoning this Mediterranean environment, you get on the road that leads to Cóbreles . It is best to continue along it, since the signs force you to enter the town and take a long turn to get back on the road at the height of the Church of San Pedro . The church, completed in 1910, has a distinctive red color and is inspired by examples of French Romanesque and Gothic. Together with the Cistercian Abbey of Viaceli , of which it is linked, it forms the two hallmarks of Cóbreces’s landscape identity. The day continues next to the church and finally gives us a relaxing section between a forest of oaks and beeches that can be muddy. It is worth enjoying it because once again we are bound to return to an asphalt track and exit to the CA-131 at the height of Venta del Tramalón where more than one has had to take refuge from the rain under the canopy. Several roads and more roads lead to La Iglesia, a town of about 150 inhabitants that holds the status of capital of the Municipality of Ruiloba. Then come Pando, where there is a convent of the Discalced Carmelites from the 18th century, and later on, Concha. Thus we abandoned the nuclei of Ruilobaand we headed to the end of the stage in Comillas. Just a kilometer and a half to enter the town and enjoy the view of the Cantabrian Sea.
Null signage in Santillana del Mar
Within the historic center of Santillana there is no Jacobean signage. You have to leave the town along Calle de Los Hornos that starts in the Plaza del Ayuntamiento.
There is accommodation for pilgrims in Santillana del Mar , Cóbreces, Caborredondo and Comillas. In summer this area is very touristy and the accommodations that are not exclusively for accredited pilgrims are usually full. It is always recommended to book in advance.Throughout the day there is a wide network of bars and restaurants, practically in every town.The Izarra pilgrims’ hostel in Caborredondo is exclusively for accredited pilgrims and welcomes pilgrims for a small donation. It is run by Giulia Sottanis and it is one of those places designed by and for the pilgrim. A good option if you do not want to spend the night in the touristically crowded Santillana del Mar.
What to see, what to do
Who was going to tell the old inhabitants of Comillas, fishermen, farmers and ranchers during the Middle Ages, that their small town would become a summer resort for kings and nobles in the 19th century. This happened thanks to Antonio López López, an emigrant to America and holder of the title of Marqués de Comillas, as a reward for the contributions he made to the war in Cuba. After returning from the other side of the Ocean, he created naval and tobacco companies in Barcelona but did not forget his origins: Comillas. The invitations from the Marquis to King Alfonso XIII to spend the summer in this place in the Cantabrian Sea take effect and bring with it the arrival of nobles and wealthy people. Comillas, and its beaches, thus become, together with Santander, one of the most prestigious places to spend the summer season and practice the famous sun baths.
Built between 1881 and 1888 by the famous Catalan architect Joan Martorell y Montélls commissioned by Antonio López, first Marquis of Comillas. It is covered with a spectacular Carrejo stone façade and decorated as open galleries. The building consists of two floors. In the lower one is the pantheon and the chapel in the upper one. This one has a polygonal plan and a single nave. The seat, kneelers and benches were designed by Gaudí. The palace also houses a fine collection of paintings and sculptures.
Completed, also at the request of Antonio López, in December 1890, it was originally a seminary for the training of candidates for the priesthood from all over Spain, Latin America and the Philippines. The increase in its activity and the success, given its academic quality, made the building increase with various annexes such as the major and minor seminaries, the Colegio Máximo and the Hispanoamericano college. After 75 years of academic work in 1968 the decision was made to transfer the activity to Madrid. The Pontifical University is today owned by the Government of Cantabria. The building is under rehabilitation. It cannot be visited inside, but it is worth going up the hill to discover the harmonious scale to which it is built.
El Capricho de Gaudi
Máximo Díaz de Quijano, brother-in-law of the Marqués de Comillas, proposed the project for his summer stay to a young Gaudí who had not yet adopted the stamp that would later make him famous in his work. The result was a small palace baptized as El Capricho, which is largely covered in ceramics and where its structure and tower reflect oriental influences. The restaurant is worth it.
The port of Comillas
It was finished in 1716 and thousands of ducats were invested in it from the pockets of the residents of Comillas. In its time it was defended by three sentry boxes and a fort with four artillery pieces. Comillas maintained the tradition of whaling until the 18th century, to which they went out in boats armed with harpoons. The fish market is a mountain building from 1942 that was built on the foundations of an old mineral warehouse. Fishing activity is very scarce today.