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Monday, December 23, 2013

Exploring Northern Spain...Bilbao & the Guggenheim

This summer, while we were in Spain, we drove over to Bilbao, the capital of the Basque Country, Pais Vasco, in the north, the 4th largest city in Spain. Located on the Bay of Biscay, Bilbao is an important port city with a thriving, proud, rich culture.

While we were there, we explored the Guggenheim and sampled some amazing pinxtos, on somewhat of a pinxtro (pub) crawl, in and around Plaza Mayor. Pinxtos are similar to Spanish tapas and ordering them is half the fun. Be adventurous and don't overthink it...just enjoy it.

Perhaps Bilbao's most famous current tourist destination, the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao, was inaugurated in 1997, and designed by renowned architect, Frank Gehry. It runs along the Nervion River, which cuts directly through the city.

The grounds are impressive, capstoned by Jeff Koon's Puppy, a 43-foot flower topiary of a puppy standing guard at the front of the museum.

Another Koons piece, Tulips, adorns the back patio.

From the back patio, you can see Maman, a giant bronze spider by artist,  Louise Bourgeois, measuring over 30 feet high and over 33 feet wide, with a sac containing 26 marble eggs.

Other views from the patio...


Arcos rojos, The Red Arches, by Daniel Buren, on La Salve Bridge
80 Balls Stainless Steel by Indian artist, Anish Kapoor

While we were there, we saw an exhibit entitled L'Arte en Guerre: From Picasso to Debuffet.
Bilbao is beautiful. Lovely balconies...

Interesting characters...

And delights for the most adventurous palates...

Explore the Mercado de la Ribera, built in 1929. Billed as the largest indoor market in Europe, it offers the best of Bilbao's produce, fish, meat, and cheese.

Wander Bilbao's streets and fall in love...


If we had more time, there is much more we could have done in this fun, vibrant city; however, the brief time we had was enough to spark interest in a future visit.
Eskerrik asko, Bilbao. Egingo itzuliko gara.


  1. WOW What a dream trip this would be for me! Looks like a beautiful time!

    1. Thank you, Momma Lew! :-) Everything I have seen in Spain is beautiful, and Bilbao does not disappoint. Check out some of my posts on Galicia to feed the wanderlust further. Spain is a true feast for the senses. Thanks for visiting! Happy holidays!