Santiago to Burgos to Bilbao

Bilbao, day two.

09/20/2015

Got up at a reasonable hour and headed to the Guggenheim so I’d be there just before it opened.  It’s a short walk for where I’m staying and I found a cafe that would make me some breakfast “Sin Gluten.”  The building for the museum is spectacular, but I literally saw almost nothing of any real interest within it.  I admit that I’ve seen the Jeff Koons stuff before in Versaille, so that wasn’t new to me.  Do I really need to travel to Spain to see a bunch of vacuum cleaners mounted on the wall?  Basketballs floating in half full aquarium?  (I’m not kidding, Koons must be laughing really hard)  The Basquiat stuff seem to consist mainly of pictures of the artist defacing things with graffiti in New York in the ’80s.  Ughhh.  The ground floor had artistically laid out rusted metal.  Come on folks, this is supposed to be one of the premier museums in the world, the building shouldn’t completely overshadow the art.  Oh well.  Took the Euskotran as far as it went in one direction, and then back to the central market.  After much walking around and a few pintxos, I picked a place for a nice prix fixe lunch.  After lunch, climbed massive amounts of steps to the Virgen del Begona church, which was locked up tight.  Back down to Plaza nueva for a glass of wine and some blog work.  Tomorrow I have a 6 hour train ride to Madrid, somehow way more pleasant and easy than the equivalent airplane ride.

Bilbao

09/19/2015

Yesterday ended up being a long train ride.  Because there was some kind of rolling strike I booked as 2 different tickets.  That worked in my favor in that I had 3 hours in Burgos, a town I’ve been to twice before.  I hopped a bus into town and went to my favorite restaurant, just in time for a late lunch.  After a delicious lunch I had time to stroll around before taking the same bus back to the train station and another 3 hours to Bilbao.  Bilbao was very booked up as was San Sebastian, and I ended up booking into a fancier hotel than I would normally choose.  Have to say it’s nice!  Firm bed, decent air handling and best of all, lots of space and FAST wifi!  I got up in time to do the morning walking tour offered by the local TI.  After that checked out the local market, which happens on Saturday mornings.  Then tracked down some lunch in the old town district, and took the funicular to the top of town.  Tomorrow will go to the Guggenheim.  Last night’s attempt to go tango turned into the usual out of town, go to the address listed, show it to everyone, never heard of it affair.  This was slightly unusual in that I didn’t even see an appropriate space.  Oh well…  So, Bilbao is pretty much the home of Pintxos and so they distinguish them from tapas.  Here’s the word I got:  With tapas, they are generally given free with a drink, whereas a Pintxo is charged for separately.  A Pintxo generally has a toothpick holding it together, and can be a fairly elaborate construction of various items.  In the old days a tapas was often served as a cover on a glass of wine, whereas a pinxto is usually a skewer of some sort.

Side note:  Picture above was of Emi and Ian whom I shared dinner with in Samos.  We all had the same instinct, which was to find the best restaurant in town and have a great meal.  That involved walking to the end of town, but it was worth it.  Ian and I took turns choosing wine, and we had a nice mixture of food.  I heard about 3 days later that he had passed away.  I don’t know anymore details, but, he had walked the Camino many times and was well liked.  Remember life is short, don’t wait too long to try things, do things or follow your calling!

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