Monday, May 21, 2012

Enchanting Cantabria, Spain

Yesterday's Sunday Crossword Puzzle threw out the clue, "River originating in Cantabria."  Hmmm.

Consider today's blog a geography lesson.  If you're like me, you can't learn enough about this wondrous planet we share.  Besides the answer I was looking for, my research gave me more insight into Cantabria (can-TAH-bree-ah), the hidden jewel of Northern Spain, that has an est. population of 600,000.
  • Cantabria's landscape is a kaleidoscope of flower-filled meadows, green valleys, dense forests, mountains, canyons, and enticing coastal beaches for those preferring not to wear clothes (the nudes)  and those preferring to wear clothes (the textiles). 
  • Remnants of ancient cultures can still be explored in its Medieval villages, ancient monuments, and 15,000- year-old cave paintings.
  • The ancient Village of Potes is a pilgrimage destination to the 6th Century Sanctuary of St. Toribio...which claims to hold part of the left arm of the cross on which Jesus died...the largest remnant of the True Cross. 
  • Cantabria is considered to be Green Spain, because its wet and humid climate is perfect for agriculture and vegetation.  
  • The flag of self-governing Cantabria is made of two horizontal stripes of equal width, white on top and red on the bottom, with the regional coat of arms in the center.  
  • Santander is the capital, or governing city.
  • Despite its small size, Cantabria has 7 national parks.
  • Picon Bejes-Tresviso is a sharp Cantabrian blue cheese made of a mixture of cow, sheep, and goat milk.  It is left to mature for 3-4 months inside cool, damp limestone caves, which are the ideal environment for blue mold.  .  
  • Fishing fleets arrive daily in ports bringing in high-quality fish and shellfish from the Atlantic....anchovies, crabs, mussels, lobster, squid, sardines, tuna, and seabass.
  • Ever heard of a stew called "Sorropotun" made of fresh tuna and sweet red potatoes?
  • A local drink known as 'sidra' (cider) is poured from a height so it fizzes in the glass.
  • The answer to the crossword clue is the 470-mile-long Ebro River which flows southeastward from northern Spain to the Mediterranean Sea.
Route of the Ebro River 
And, that is why I love doing crossword puzzles!