After twelve hours of train travel from Santiago de Compostela, I reached Bilbao, Spain by 8:20 pm Sunday evening. Thankfully, I had booked online a hotel that was close to the train station. However, it was dark and even though I had the address written down, trying to see the street names in the dark was difficult. Being a Sunday evening there were many people out walking the streets and I was able to ask directions.
Monday morning I set off in the direction of the Guggenheim museum, the only reason why I came to Bilbao. I stopped at a tourist information centre to get a map of the city and to find out what other attractions were a must to see in Bilbao. Surprise! The tourist agent informed me that on Monday all museums are closed. No Guggenheim for me. That meant also a change of plan to stay another day to see the museum. I asked about other points of interest. At the hotel, I had read about the Vizcaya Bridge and since it is a UNESCO World Heritage site, I wanted to visit. That meant taking the # 2 metro line to Portugalete crossing on the ferry and taking the # 1 metro at Areeta back to city centre.
Portugalete is on one side of the river and Getxo the other. For six euros I took the elevator up to the walking platform and was able to walk across the full length of the bridge taking in the views and the points of interest of the bridge construction. http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/1217
The web page tells you about the bridge and the uniqueness. I did take lots of pictures but I am having problems with the camera app to access them.
It was almost 4 pm when I returned to Bilbao city centre and I headed to the train station to purchase tickets hopefully to Brussels. Another roadblock. I found out that there was no train to Hendaye but buses ran several times a day. The bus station is out of the city centre, so I did another metro trip to where the station was and purchased a bus ticket to Hendaye for Wednesday morning. Hopefully in Hendaye I can take the fast train to Brussels.
This morning, Tuesday, I had on my agenda to tour the fine arts museum and then spend the afternoon at the Guggenheim. I walked through the central core toward the river bank where there were some sculptures. The first was at the marine museum and pays tribute to the industrial labourers of Bilbao.
There were two more along the river walkway before reaching the Fine Arts Museum.
Check out the Fine Arts museum here http://www.museobilbao.com/in/
Read about the special exhibition of Fernando Botero. His art is interesting. I liked the sculpture by Quintin de Torre titled Docker of Bilbao and a painting Des Potirons by Spanish artist Miquel Barcelo where he used wood pulp and pumpkin seeds with the oil paint.
Continuing along the river walkway to the Guggenheim, I again was searching for sculptures.
And my favourite entitled Mama addresses the dual quality of motherhood, given that the spider uses her silk both to make cocoons and to trap her prey.
And finally the museum.
I liked the sensation of space in motion walking through the seven sculptures by Richard Serra entitled The Matter of Time. A wonderful exhibition of how the artist put the sculptures together and the methodology of the sensation felt when walking through a curved eclipse inward or outward.
My favourites were: Seascapes by Gerhard Richter, the slate making up the Bilbao Circle by Richard Long and the two mixed medium paintings by Anselm Kiefer entitled The Land of Two Rivers and The Renowned Orders of the Night.
I am glad I stayed another day to see this museum. Bilbao is worthy of another visit!
I am thrilled that you were able to tour Bilbao and the museums, I wish I could be there too! Btw there is an exact duplicate of “Mama” in front of the National Gallery of Canada in Ottawa. If you ever come here I’d be pleased to show you!
Joy, your blog has been a delight, you have really experienced the Camino in the best possible way, and I am honoured to have shared a brief slice with you. Best wishes for your journey home.
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