Tim likes to travel. Follow his adventures as he explores the world.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Bilbao, Spain: White Night and Nice Weather

Synopsis: Guess who has a friend in Bilbao? Yup, this guy! (I set you up for success on that one). So, I'll visit my friend, Iuliana, for two days in the largest city of Basque Country, and check out the home of the Guggenheim museum and delicious seafood. 


Con Puppy
Con Puppy (pronounced "poopy" in Spanish)


Day 1: Meet Iuliana at the bus station in Bilbao and walk to a café for breakfast. Drop off my stuff at her place and then head out to see a bit of the city - parks, Iberdrola tower, Guggenheim museum, bridges, historic stuff, the river. End up in casco viejo and grab a drink in a plaza. It's such a beautiful day that we decide to head to the beach. 

Catch the metro to Getxo and walk along the pier near Las Arenas. On the way back to the metro we stop to see and ride the UNESCO site, Vizcaya bridge, aka "puente colgante". From there, we go to Plentzia, but walk to Gorliz and grab pintxos for lunch, then back to the beach in Plentzia, where we walk along the sand and dip our toes in the water. 

As we head home, stop in a grocery store to buy ingredients for omelets and then jump on the metro. When we get home, Iuliana makes dinner and we get ready for la noche blanca (white night). Go out and meet some friends at Kubrick's, a hip bar overlooking the river. We meet up with Jon (Spanish), Christine (Canadian), and Azin (Persian-American-Swedish). I try a kalimotxo, red wine mixed with coca cola, and it's not bad for a summer drink, but not my favorite. 

We walk around and enjoy white night - there are people everywhere - we see lit up bridges and music and special events.  Then we head to the Guggenheim museum to watch a music show. Get in free and after the band finishes, we walk around the museum. There is some weird, crazy, and ridiculous art in there. Everyone kept telling me the museum was better from outside, and now I can see why. Leave the museum and see a light show on one of the buildings on the Gran Via, which reminds me of Reims on Bastille day, before grabbing a drink and hanging out for awhile before calling it a night. 

Thoughts: Free wifi in the bus station in Pamplona and on all the buses. I had to bust out my old school compact camera because my iPhone is broken. The Spanish say "poopy" when referring to the floral dog statue in front of Guggenheim Museum, who's name is "Puppy".

First things first, handstand at Plaza de Don Frederico Moyua
First things first, handstand at Plaza de Don Frederico Moyua 

Enjoying a drink in the casco viejo (Old Town)
Enjoying a drink in the casco viejo (Old Town)

Jumping for joy in Las Arenas
Jumping for joy in Las Arenas

Riding in the cabin crossing the Nervión river in the puente colgante/Bizkaiko Zubia (hanging bridge)
Riding in the cabin crossing the Nervión river in the puente colgante/Bizkaiko Zubia (hanging bridge)

Walking along the beach in Plentzia

You can't see the river behind us, but you can see we were having a great time
You can't see the river behind us, but you can see we were having a great time

The Three Graces and One Ridiculously Good-Looking Black Dude. That's the real name of this statue
The Three Graces and One Ridiculously Good-Looking Black Dude. That's the real name of this statue

This shot is amazing. Azin and Iuliana are posing, I'm snapping the photo, the lady over my right shoulder works at the museum and is yelling at me in Spanish, while Jon tries to diffuse the situation with her, and Kris is baffled at this lady's aggressive behavior. All in the reflection of a Jeff Koons balloon statue. #nobetterartthanreallife
This shot is amazing. Azin and Iuliana are posing, I'm snapping the photo, the lady over my right shoulder works at the museum and is yelling at me in Spanish, while Jon tries to diffuse the situation with her, and Christine is baffled at this lady's aggressive behavior. All in the reflection of a Jeff Koons balloon statue. #nobetterartthanreallife

My fellow Americans, Bilbao has history with the US, and was praised by John Adams (Our 2nd president. I know you didn't know that).
My fellow Americans, Bilbao has history with the US, and was praised by John Adams (Our 2nd president. I know you didn't know that).

Day 2: Wake up and make an omelet breakfast to power us through the day. Iuliana takes me by Alhóndiga Bilbao, with more interesting art than Guggenheim had - including 43 very uniquely constructed columns. From there we catch the metro and meet up with Azin and her boyfriend, Mikel (Vasco), to go to San Juan de Gaztelugatxe. 

Mikel is from Getxo and has a farm that we stop by on our way to Bormeo. Afterward, by car, we traverse jungles and beaches and cities before reaching a parking lot. Follow the 2km trail, walking up and down mountains and stairs to reach San Juan de Gaztelugatxe. Finally reach the top. What an amazing view. Reminds me of Mont St. Michel in France. Take lots of photos and then head back to the car. 

Drive back to Algorta and stop at Azin and Mikels favorite pintxo bar, Burdinola, and it's pretty good. Then grab some ice cream before jumping on the metro with Iuliana and then run to catch the bus back to Pamplona. 

Thoughts: 
On the metro EVERYONE was going to the beach. They say the weather isn't always this nice, so I understand they gotta take advantage of it, as seen by the packed beaches. 



Is it good Iuliana? Um, yeah, sure...
Is it good Iuliana? Um, yeah, sure...

43 very interesting columns in Alhóndiga Bilbao
Posing with Iuliana's favorite column in Alhóndiga Bilbao

Farmer Mikel and botanist Iuliana were teaching Azin and I about agriculture
Farmer Mikel and botanist Iuliana were teaching Azin and I about agriculture

Amazing views all along the coast
Amazing views all along the coast

#selfiebombinreverse
#selfiebombinreverse

Walked up all those stairs
Walked up all those stairs

Flag practice
Flag practice

At the top between the church and the outdoor kitchen
At the top between the church and the outdoor kitchen

Pintxos back in Algorta
Pintxos back in Algorta

The beautiful port in Algorta, taken just before my spirit to the bus station
The beautiful port in Algorta, taken just before my sprint to the bus station


Final Thoughts:
Iuliana was an excellent host and tour guide. Her friends were lots of fun and we enjoyed each other's company. After a hundred or so, cities begin to seem similar, so it is the people that I am with that make my trips memorable. Iuliana and co. really made the trip much more fun and now I have new friends I can visit in Bilbao. Plus, the weather was AMAZING!


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Location: Bilbao, Vizcaya, España

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