Our trip started in Bilbao, the largest city in the Basque country. I’ll remember it best from the art, architecture, delicious food, the stroll in the Casco Viejo (Old Town) and of course as the starting point of our adventure in Northern Spain! And it’s these things mentioned I would definitely recommend Bilbao for.
One thing I was really looking forward to was our visit to the Guggenheim museum. I hadn’t visited a Guggenheim before and I had quite high expectations of the visit. And I didn’t have to be disappointed at all, on the contrary. But I was a little surprised maybe and also taken.
The museum building (designed by Frank Gehry) itself was interesting, monumental and imposing. Outside the museum sits the Puppy made of flowers – designed by Jeff Koons – and at the time of our visit it was gazing in the direction of Gisele.
At the time of our visit the museum hosted two big exhibitions. The Matter of Time by Richard Serra included eight gigantic steel sculptures . We could walk inside the art works. The experience with the narrowing corridors, echos, children running and the steep metal walls made me think for example about the passage of time and how we experience time and art. The secod exhibition was that of Niki de Saint Phalle, who for example has created the abundant and colourful Nana figures. Her works are feministic, strong, experimental, peculiar and capturing. The exhibition both showed the many stages of her productive career and painted a picture of her as an artist and a political figure.
And the food. We had really tasty tapas like pintxos in Bilbao, from a savory slice if tortilla to mouth watering pulpo, soft croquetas and a piece of bread topped with a rich crab sallad and a slice of really fresh anchovy.
We had an unforgettable celebration dinner at La Vina del Ensanche. The restaurant was packed and the recommendations met their promise. At the busy bar the locals met up with friends and family and enjoyed a glass of wine or cider with some plentiful pintxos. We had atún rojo marinado, croquetas de jamon and crema gratinada de frutas rojos. We often asked to share what we ordered (para compartir) in order to get to try as many new tastes as possible.