Thursday, October 3, 2013

Traipsing All Over Bilbao

Wallace and I walked all around Bilbao on Wednesday. Our hostel south of the center plaza, and we walked all the way to the western bank of the river, up to the north, and then back to the eastern bank where the old part of town is, and then back home. It was a full day and our feet are tired.

The guy at the reception desk of the hostel came into the room this morning, announcing (in Spanish) that the Museum of Fine Arts had free admission on Wednesday. It took him a few tries of explaining it slower and slower before we understood him, but we were excited to figure it out. We were planning on stopping by the museum that day anyway, so we were going to save 8 euros by going on a free day. Huzzah!

On our way to the museum, we passed a very interesting building. The exterior looked like a traditional Spanish building, but the inside was COMPLETELY redone. There were three brick buildings inside the building, all supported about 8 feet off the ground by thick and elaborate columns. No two columns were the same. And on top of it all was a skylight with a freaking swimming pool on top of it. The building was a sort of enclosed plaza, with shops and restaurants inside it. I wonder how popular it is, being so crazy.

The exterior. Part Spanish archtiecture, part masonry construction

There's a gap between the brick inner building and the outer perimeter. The columns all hold up the brick inner buildings.


And no two are the same!

The three brick inner buildings

And a skylight/pool. You heard me. People were swimming above me.

Dramatic mist and the building next door

The museum was interesting. It was a combo building- an older building with a modern addition. The curator housed the arts of antiquity in the old building, and the newer art and temporary exhibits in the addition. Sadly, photography wasn't allowed, but I saw a painting by El Greco and some small scale Chillida steel sculptures.

The outer facade

We walked through the park after the museum and sat on a bench to eat our lunch. Then, we tried to get into the Palacio de Congresos y de la Musica, but apparently we weren't allowed inside. I had a nice, brief chat with a friendly security guard who informed us that it was only open to the public on Saturdays. Oh well.


The music hall thing!

It had some cool shade structures out front

Some were for lights, some were for shade

The rest of the afternoon we spent walking around. We stopped to peek at the construction of a new soccer arena, crossed a cool bridge, walked along the river, took a tram up to the top of the hill, and walked around the Old Town. The tram here was much cheaper than the tram in San Sebastian, but also there wasn't a small theme park at the top of this tram.

Crazy bridge, Puente Euskalduna


Soccer stadium! The roof has one of the sickest cantilevers I've ever seen

The Guggenheim from the opposite bank

A very colorful building

Calatrava's Zubizuri bridge in the day time

We trammed all the way up the hill and overlooked the city. The green circular building in the distance is one I want to see, but we can't find it on the map. GAH

And old town, beautiful old town

I like all the balconies on the buildings

On Thursday, we caught the subway and took it all the way to Portugalete, at the suggestion of one of the guys who stayed in our room in the hostel. He told us to walk across the bridge and head to Getxo, where there are lots of mansions and a nice beach. We figured, since we hit most everything we wanted to see, that one last day on the beach would be a nice send off before rejoining the group in Barcelona.

I expected a bridge similar to those in San Sebastian- maybe Art Deco style, something you know, normal. This bridge is NOT normal. It's a very large structure with a little car hanging from it that moves from shore to shore, ferrying passengers and cars. It's super cool.

Big tall bridge...

...and little ferry car!

We paid the 0,35 cents for a bridge ticket and rode it across the river. We then walked along the harbor and shore, looking at the very nice houses and parks and boats in Getxo. After a stop for lunch, Wallace and I suited up and hit the beach. The water wasn't as clear as in San Sebastian, but there were lots of good skipping rocks and the sun was out most of the time. Sadly, the wind kicked up and sent sand everywhere, and now I can't get it out of my hair. Oh well.

A monument

The beach and the green!

I think that there used to be a castle here, and the mansions are built behind what was once the fortification wall

Ahh, sand in my toes :)

Tomorrow morning at 6:40 we catch our train to Barcelona! The group doesn't meet up until Saturday at 2, so we have a full day to ourselves before the trip picks back up. I'm pretty glad it worked out this way, now I don't have to rush to get into Barcelona. And CJ found a bar near our hostel called Kitty o'Shea's, so I know where I'm going tomorrow night! Maybe they'll give me a free beer if I have the same name as the bar...

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