Category Architecture

Guggenheim Botin Centre Museum Centro Bilbao Santander Spain Gehry Renzo Piano

Why Renzo Piano’s Botín Centre in Santander is (Not) the New Guggenheim

It happened just before Christmas. El País published a full-length article about Renzo Piano’s Botín Centre in Santander. Around the same time, the Botín Centre was included in an article on the BBC website entitled Buildings to Look Out For in 2017. In a bid to head off the inevitable “Guggenheimification” of Santander, I jotted down “10 Reasons Why […]

Gaudi Villa Quijano Cantabria Spain Caprice

A Trip to Gaudi’s Capricho in Comillas

Gaudi is a name we associate with Catalonia but I’m still here in Cantabria – just under 50km from Santander to visit El Capricho de Gaudi in Comillas. This privately-held former holiday home designed by Gaudi is open to the public and welcomes 100,000 visitors every year. It celebrated its 130th anniversary in 2015 and […]

Cantabria civic centre high-rise tobacco building

High Hopes for Santander’s Tabacalera

It’s been years since I smoked a Fortuna but the old Tabacalera building in Santander does hold a special place in my heart. It’s been one of my favourites since I first caught a glimpse of it rowing on the bay. When I realised it was designed by the same architect who did the petrol station (now a café) beside […]

Centro Botin

Anticipation Building at Renzo Piano’s Botin Centre

My camera and I have spent the last month hanging around park benches in Santander looking suspicious. In addition to helping a woman into an ambulance and wondering why so many kids weren’t back in school when they should be, I did manage to survey the work since I last blogged about the Botin Centre one year […]

New lonja fish wholesale pescado market Santander Cantabria Spain

The Fish Market of all Fish Markets – Santander’s Lonja in Northern Spain

This is my fifth Christmas in a row in Santander. As you’d expect, ‘Navidad’ is very different here in Spain and nowhere is that more evident than at the dinner table. Fish and fishing are an important part of Cantabrian life and for the next two weeks (Christmas lasts right up until January 6 when the Kings […]

Bilbao market mercado Pais Vasco Spain

Visiting Ribera Foodmarket in Bilbao

Sometimes you only appreciate what you’ve got when you change your surroundings. A few weeks* ago, I went to Bilbao (just one hour away – no need to change time zones) and it was there I realised I should be careful what I wish for. It was a follow-on trip from my Foodies Tour of Santander when a group of […]

market tour food Spain Santander Esperanza

A Foodies’ Tour of Santander

One of the joys of writing this blog is that I never know where it will take me. Three weeks ago, thanks to a post back in February, it brought me to a memorial for six Limerick men who died in the Spanish Civil War. Last weekend, I found myself standing in front of a group of 20 […]

pereda gardens Santander Botin Centre Spain cafe

Pereda Gardens Park by the Botin Centre

There’s something special about great city parks in the Summer and this year I’ve been more than happy to explore the newly re-opened Pereda Gardens in Santander beside the Botin Centre. The space has been THE topic of discussion with everybody in the city and the subject of much commentary on social media locally. One month […]

Pamela Cahill Magdalena Palace Palacio Santander Spain Sculptures

A Palace Revisited

There are many reasons why I write about places in Santander. Sometimes it’s to find out a little more about a building that isn’t well known. Or to get a few paragraphs out there about a location or an architect that isn’t documented in English. This time it’s a bit different. I’m writing about the Magdalena Palace to develop a […]

Pamela Cahill Kate O'Brien Santander 1930s Calvo Sotelo

1930s Santander Through Irish Eyes

I get my fair share of visits from friends and family – and really enjoy seeing the city of Santander through their eyes. In fact, most of these blogposts are inspired by questions or observations from my out-of-towners. When one such visitor told me that I’d missed a great Kate O’Brien (1897-1974) Literary Weekend last […]

Botin Centre 2014 Santander building site bay

Perfection & Complexity at the Botin Centre

It’s been a tough start to the year in Santander. Not only have the waves been beating the coastline and the wind howling non-stop but those of us who like to follow the progress of the Botin Centre have been trying to do our sums. Is A Project Overrun Likely? We’re combing the usual sources […]

pamela cahill 2013 santander puertochico

My Twenty Thirteen

This is the time most of us reflect on the past calendar year and I’m no exception. The big difference is this year I have hundreds of photos to jog my memory. It’s been an interesting year. I’ll remember it as the time when I started blogging, got interested in photography, bought a nice camera, […]

santander llamas park parque bird

Llamas Park

Parks are complex elements of any city. Not only do they provide recreational space, they also define the shape and feel of a city and its neighbourhoods. The most famous park in Santander, Magdalena Park, was a royal residence one hundred years ago. There’s no denying that the royal connection gives it caché and the […]

Faro Cueto walk Panteon del Ingles Jose Jackson Veyan

The Cliffside Pantheon

It’s been a while since I brought you on a walk around Santander. When I heard about a memorial to an English man who had died by the cliffside near the lighthouse I grabbed my camera and went in search of it. The walk is wild and rough and beautiful. And the story is one […]

Mercado de Esperanza Santander Market Fish Food

The Market of Hope since 1904

One of my favourite places to spend some time and cash in Santander is the city’s main food market. For me, it’s a perfect blend of architecture, history, food & drink all rolled into one. It’s called Mercado de la Esperanza  – meaning Market of Hope – and is located immediately behind the town hall in […]

Botin centre santander cantabria spain renzo piano august 2013

Renzo Piano’s Botín Centre goes from 2D to 3 in Santander

If you know me – you know I am interested in the new Botín Centre by Renzo Piano in Santander. It’s been a few months since I blogged about it so I thought I’d show you some snaps of a model of the building and the actual work in progress. Not just one but two […]

1941 Santander fire city reconstruction llamas incendio

The 1941 fire and its aftermath

I love the beaches, the art-deco buildings and the whole of Puertochico in Santander but until recently I’ve struggled to understand the city centre. Most of the mediaeval city was burned in the fire of 1941 and I never really liked what was put in its place and tended to avoid the area. This has […]

Isla de la Torre Magdalena Escuela de Vela 1930 Santander

Isla de la Torre – Tower Island

I’ve always been drawn to this building and this island. I was on the beach the other day combining the dangerous task of having a coffee and testing my shiny new camera (it’s a LUMIX GX1 for those of you that might be interested) when I set my sights on the island and was trigger […]

Funicular Rio de la Pila General Davila Santander Cantabria

The funicular on Rio de la Pila

Santander is one hilly city. If you are in town for a day or two you might not notice – but if you live in the city – chances are you have a serious hill or two to climb a few times a week. There are buses, tunnels and escalators to help residents avoid the […]

Santander Paseo de Pereda doors

37 Doors

Almost every post to date has involved me walking down ‘Paseo de Pereda’ in Santander. It’s the best-known street of the city with spectacular views of the bay. Whilst the buildings themselves are impressive and interesting, I was even more struck by the doors and thought I’d bring them to you here. Numbers 1 – […]

Villa Luisa Santander

Deserted Villa Catches My Eye

Yesterday, I walked past an old house – of which there are very few – in my neighbourhood. It’s called Villa Luisa and it’s boarded up. How is it possible, I thought – that nobody cares about it? I came home and googled. It’s a sad story. I found out it was built in 1917 […]

Ricardo Lorenzo Avenida Castros Santander 1972

Making curvy cool with the humble brick

I’ve started looking around Santander with new eyes recently. In a previous post, I described the ferry building in Santander as seductive. And I spoke about living in a 1960s block and loving it.  I didn’t explain why I liked these buildings. The simple answer is good architecture. And my new hero is Ricardo Lorenzo. […]

cranes working on Centro Botin Santander

The new Botin Centre in Santander – what’s it all about?

I’ve been banging on about the new building going up in Santander to friends and family and thought I’d write about it here. I’ve two reasons – one is that the building is a little gem – on the plans at least – and secondly – there isn’t much published in English – so I […]

bay Santander evening southern wind

Urban Spain – Why I love it

So what’s it like – Santander? You’ve been there for a while. What’s it got going for itself? It’s hard to describe why I would choose to live on the seventh floor of a 1960s apartment block in a city of 180,000 people with my three small kids. But all it takes is a visit […]