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Monday, 19 July 2010


Santander is a gorgeous city in the north of Spain by the Cantabrian sea. And like every year "The Baths of Waves" celebrates there, a practice that began when the Spanish court summered there since 1847.

Each year in mid July, Santander sighs and looks back nostalgically to the past. Backtracks in time to recover that aristocratic and romantic that distinguished the middle of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, as a tourist destination of the Spanish high society. The dusting Sardinero beach memories and re-filled with elegance and distinction, chaste bathing suits to the ankles, striped jerseys, caps are subject to flabby neck and delicate shades. "Los baños de olas", a celebration in which many people in Santander dress as their ancestors to relive the golden years. Around the Sardinero beach games, races, contests, dances, markets, exhibitions and festivals take place during those days.

In the mid-nineteenth century, Santander joins the Biarritz, Cannes and Nice fashion, where the wealthy people went to sea bathing for therapeutic purposes, and becomes the hub of elite tourism in northern Spain.

The influx of distinguished visitors increased in the early twentieth century, when king Alfonso XIII and queen Victoria Eugenia set their summer residence in the palace of La Magdalena. At that moment the beach summer holidays were born in Spain.

To meet such an exclusive clientele, bathhouses are mounted for changing clothes, bathing suits arise from two pieces, baggy pants and large shirts, little translucent tissue, such as wool, not to shock any people and dark colors, like blue or brown. It was said at that time that the bath water waves in the Cantabrian cured many ailments, especially skin conditions.

I have not had the chance to enjoy this festival in Santander yet, but it must be nice and sweet to see the city decked out and decorated as if it were a painting of the Belle Epoque.

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