Bilbao ka-pow

Bilbao elevator

The obvious draw to Bilbao is the Guggenheim. I’ll let Mark talk about his Guggenheim experience and I’ll try to speak of the rest of the city. It’s difficult in some ways to separate the two because it seems that so much of the city and its’ tourism now surrounds the museum. The city seems to be going through an interesting transition from old industrial port city to a modern metropolis. There are loads of new shiny buildings popping up amidst the old spanish colonial/neoclassical (?) buildings. Did the Guggenheim initiate this radical transition shift? Or was it the Calatrava bridge that did it? Is it making for a better city? They’ve got a groovy new Lord Foster metro system and a tram that runs over grass! The waterfront is great — parks on both sides of the rivers and plenty of pedestrian bridges. Even with all of this, I think our favourite part was the Old Quarter. It might have been a novelty because it’s our first city visited in Spain, but we loved the narrow, windy pedestrian streets you could get lost in and love being lost in. Also, more Basque tapas, or pinxos. So far the best tapas in Spain. We found one place we enjoyed so much we went back 3 times (It was called Zuga, in case you’re headed there).

All together we stayed 3 nights at a fairly decent budget hotel close to the Old Quarter. Our introduction to the city was an interesting one. Being the first place we didn’t speak the language, right away we struggled to figure out how to get to the hotel. We took a metro and got off and walked along what we later found out to be the two sketchiest streets in the city. Not the best first impression. Our first full day we bee-lined it to the Guggenheim and spent the day wandering it and the waterfront. On our second day we did some more city exploring and headed out on a Metro to Arreta where there was a bridge designed by Gustav Eiffel. We thought we’d check it out and were glad we did. It was a ferry-bridge, so it wasn’t a bridge you drive across nor was it a ferry boat that took you across. Rather, it was a suspension ferry platform that carried cars and passengers acrossed. Unconventional.

Eiffel ferry bridge

Bilbao was a great first stop in Spain. We moved on by taking a train to Madrid, where we stopped for only a few hours, but with hopes of returning. From Madrid we carried on to Granada which is where we’ve been the last while. I’ll write a post on that shortly. Soon we head for Morocco!


    Hey folks,
    Glad to see you’re enjoying Grenada – we weren’t able to make it there, but we loved southern Spain where we went (Malaga and Sevilla) so I’m not surprised you’re having a great time there. I see Morocco is next on your list, not sure if you’ll be backtracking but I think you’ll love Malaga if you have a chance. Morocco should be great, I’m jealous! Are you going to go to Casablanca and toss out Humphrey Bogart quotes?

    “Here’s looking at you kid”

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