Monday, October 25, 2004

Well the first thing to say is that we were shocked by the lovely weather in Bilbao. Everyone has been telling us for weeks that we had to make sure we took our umbrellas and waterproofs with us, because aside from The Guggenheim the one thing everyone knows about the place is that it gets a lot of rain.

So it was rather odd to be walking around in very warm sunshine, wondering exactly why we had packed that very warm jumper?

Lots of highlights - The amazing first sight of “that” wonderful museum as the bus from the airport emerges from a long tunnel through one of the many hills, which circle the city. Suddenly there it is right it front of you. In fact if you are sitting on the right hand side of the bus you feel as though you could almost reach out and stroke the mysteriously curved titanium clad exterior of the building.

We spent around 5 hours in the building itself and that was with one of the three floors closed due to the re-hanging of one of the galleries. Exhausting but thrilling, it really is a must see.

The less trumpeted Museo De Bellas Artes was also a real treat (even more so as we visited on Wednesday, when admission is free), featuring an excellent permanent collection of 20th century art and brilliant but slightly unsettling exhibition of the work of British sculptor John Davies.

The tour of the football stadium San Mames, the real heart of the city.

The Magnetic Fields gig in Barakaldo was great. Lovely theatre, nice support band (Astrud) perfect sound and a fine collection of songs made a perfect evening. Even if we missed the last metro train back to town and had to get a taxi.

Meeting up with our old friend Carlos, who showed us the sights of Getxo and took us to the splendid Bilboloop mini music festival featuring 6 bands over 2 nights. It was also great to meet his friends, whose grasp of English put us to shame.

Great and easy travel around the town including a spectacular Funicular ride. Lots of long lunches and tasty tapas, not forgetting the hugest and tastiest croissants I have ever seen.


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