with tips for cycling & hiking
Our final daytrip on our June 2014 motor home tour was a cycle ride into Comillas and unlike our previous day’s trip to San Vicente this was all along the flat and though it follows the main road, there is a shared cycle/pedestrian path, thus making it a painless and rather pleasant ride of no more than 3 miles each way from Playa de Oyambre.
The town is pleasantly approached by a parkland area, after passing the ‘Universidad Pontificía’ high on the hill to your left. This impressive building of Jesuit origins dates back to the early 19th century and is one of three buildings which first appear to be somewhat incongruous with what is a small rural town, albeit it extremely attractive.
Shortly afterwards, your eyes are drawn to the magnificent ‘Palácio de Sobrellano,’ another 19th century building following the Catalan Modernista architecture style.
The third building and undoubtedly the biggest tourist draw is Gaudi’s designed villa, ‘El Capricho’, no longer a posh restaurant which makes a visit possible and you can hardly fail to feel impressed by its impressive futuristic use of colour, its whimsical tower, following a Mudéjar inspired fantasy.
Comillas is not, however, all modernista and a visit to the tourist information, immediately as you turn right on the main road into the town, will provide an excellent map and leaflet displaying the main sites, which will keep you occupied for a morning and there are plenty of excellent refreshment stops.
One of Comillas’ claim to fame is that in 1881, the then king Alphonso XII was invited to stay at a house bought by the first marquis of Comillas and a meeting of ministers was held in this house, Casa Ojeco (next to the tourist office) and as a result Comillas became the capital of Spain for a day.
There are a number of attractive squares and the main one being the Corro Campííos near the church, Iglesia de San Christobal and this still appears to be the main social centre of the town.
Iglesia de San Christobal, dating back to the mid 17th century with the former town hall, dating back to 1780,in the background.
The story of the church is interesting. In the previous church, the local bigwig, had a hissy fit because he could not use his reserved pew and the locals took offence and decided to build a new church. Ok I might of put my own embellishment on that story but the gist of it is correct.
As you climb towards the top of the town you are reminded that this is a coastal town as you see the harbour area below. The port dates back to the 17th century and owes its history to the whaling trade and competed vigorously with its neighbour San Vicente de la Barquera.
The picture above was interesting as in the town we were in brilliant sunshine, the sunbathers below us seemed to be unperturbed by the menacing mist swirling in, though by the time we had cycled back to Playa de Oyambre it had disappeared as fast as it had arrived.
Oyambre estuary, though I think technically it is the River Rabies but what the heck, it is beautiful by whatever name.