A nastily early start to catch the 05:10 bus to Stansted, which was already busy. The flight was delayed by the crowds at the airport, but arrived into Bilbao only fifteen minutes late. It’s only a ten minute bus ride into the city, where Jorge met me at the first stop after the impressive puente Príncipes de España from which I’d had my first of many glimpses of the Guggenheim.
Puente Príncipes de España & Guggenheim
To reach Jorge’s apartment we had only to re-cross the bridge on foot and take the lift down to street level, and walk half a block up the hill. Excellent location!

Having left my not-very-big bag, Jorge proceeded to give me a whistle-stop tour of the very walkable city on foot: el museo Guggenheim, la Plaza de Moyúa, la Gran Vía, el Parque Doña Casilda and la Plaza del Sagrado Corazón. We stopped for lunch in a typical local bar serving pinchos or little bites on a skewer or cocktail stick. We shared rabas (squid) and picos de carne (lovely little meat skewers).

The tour continued after lunch, taking in a bus ride to la Plaza Circular, a stroll through the Casco Viejo (old town) and a look at the temporary bars set up along the banks of Bilbao’s defining river (known both as El Nervión or La Ría de Bilbao). The bars were part of Bilbao’s annual fiesta: Aste Nagusia which is Euskera for Big Week. In fact nine days of celebrations, fireworks, free concerts and theatre.

After a well-needed siesta we headed back into town for a drink before finding our spot for the excellent nightly fireworks viewed above the river. Then a mad dash along the river to the temporary stage next to the Guggenheim to enjoy a simply excellent – and entirely free – concert from Rosario and her superb band. The trumpeter and bassist were especially good. She performed from 11:30pm through to 12:45am, what stamina!

1 Comment »

  1. Aste Nagusia 2010 Said,

    June 5, 2010 @ 12:26 pm

    I hope that you enjoyed in Bilbao… But you have to visit our big party in august, this year the last week!

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