Puente Colgante

Day two in Bilbao started with a stroll through the university where Jorge has been doing his masters: la Universidad de Deusto. Crossing the river we had a whistle-stop tour of the Museo de Bellas Artes de Bilbao which merits a much longer look, but at least is free on Wednesdays.

We caught the metro out to Portugalete and popped in to the impressive Basílica de Santa María before descending to river level to our target: the industrial age’s first transporter bridge.

Puente Colgante

We explored this amazing structure from above via the high-level walkways before crossing on the transporter. The bridge was designed to allow tall ships to pass unimpeded and is still the only crossing between the city and the sea.

Puente Colgante from above

Ending up in the posh seaside suburb of Getxo, we lunched in a smart little bar full of locals having a glass of something, and then we slept it off on Getxo’s lovely beach. I was a little sparing with the suncream and ended up with a strip of sunburn as a result. Some people never learn…

On the way home we picked up some extra supplies in the Eroski supermarket in Deusto. After a little snack to keep us going we headed back out onto the streets, taking the Funicular de Artxanda up the side of the hill to get a view of the city from above. Bilbao is surrounded by hills which have limited its growth and lend it some of its charm.

We returned to river level briefly, waling to the Casco Viejo to take a lift up to the Parque Etxebarria, site of a former steel foundry but now an open space and today the site of a funfair. We declined to try any of the rides but it was fun watching the crowds of families and teenagers.

Descending by foot once more to river level we watched some excellent street theatre in the Plaza Arriega: a French circus group, Cirque Hirsute, staged a mini-drama full of humour and invention – Bal Caustique. Time for a wee drink, although as the week progressed the streets got busier and busier every evening (look in the background):

This evening’s fireworks were part of the annual Bilbao firework competition and were 20 minutes of simply stunning (and deafening) spectacle.

Jorge brought the day to a nourishing close with his excellent baked chicken, washed down with a bottle of lovely Albariño from the supermarket.

Leave a Comment