On to Santander, west of Bilbao, via Castro Urdiales, a small town on the Bay of Biscay sustained by fishing and tourism. Founded by the pre-Roman Autrigones tribe and destroyed by the French in 1813, it rebounded mainly due to iron ore deposits, which the Romans had also expoited. It has a charming waterfront.
The town hall
statue honoring fisherwomen, shown mending their nets
The real main event for Castro Urdiales, however, are the structures you see on the horizon, the 13th-century Gothic, Iglesia de Santa Maria de la Asuncion (extreme left), the 12th-century Castle with its 19th-century lighthouse (left of center), and the Medieval bridge (center)
We were fortunate enough to have a local historian take us around and through the Iglesia de Santa Maria de la Asuncion
heavily buttressed, as you can see from this photo
Good use for a giant clamshell, don't you think?
The Castle, together with the Church, formed a defensive complex surrounded by the town walls that, if they were besieged, allowed for escape by sea, which came in handy in 1813 when they were occupied by the French and many inhabitants fled on English ships.
Pretty steep drop of the west side of the complex
Steps to ???