Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Day 2 in Bilbao

This is the Guggenheim museum at dawn.  One of the challenges of jet lag, despite all our best efforts, is that i was up at a ridiculous hour, so I got to see the sunrise reflected in the museum.  Have to admit it was pretty cool to see.

Another view of the Calatrava bridge

A very interesting new project by Phillippe Starck.  It´s called the Azkuna Zentroa, which is in Basque.  They kept the exterior walls of the original 1890´s building, and put in three large brick cubes.  The cultural facility includes a Mediateca (new age library), a gym and 2 pools, a cinema and auditorium, restaurants and small shops, all open to the public.

The lobby area is tall and dark, with a huge projection video of the sun.  All of the chunky columns under the three new brick blocks are different, reflecting all of the various cultures within the Bilbao community.

Looking up at one area of the ceiling, you can see the glass bottom of the swimming pool, with swimmers going by in the blue water overhead.  Have to admit this was really cool.

Now back for our visit to the Guggenheim, which is absolutely incredible, inside, out, and with its collection of exhibits.  We spent most of our day there.  The current shows included over 100 connected prints called Shadows by Andy Warhol, a whole floor on Louise Bourgeois, and a show on Paris in the 30´s.  A number of the permanent collections were also open for viewing.  We had a beautiful lunch in their restaurant, with some excellent Spanish white wine.

These are huge metallic tulips, that look like dented balloons, and sit behind the museum.  The artist is Jeff Koons, who did the blue bear at the Denver convention hall, and the floral puppy here, which you´ll see in a bit.

The largest gallery houses 7 enormous sculptures by Richard Serra, which you walk around and inside.  they are all made of rusted thick plate steel, and the experience is incredible.  Each one is a labyrinth, and the experience of each is different.  Clearly, the artist and architect collaborated on the space, as it works so perfectly with the sculptures.

My favorite photo of the day.  From one of the third floor walkways.

And here´s the happy couple posing with what has to be the largest and most colourful puppy on the planet.  Makes Luigi look like a tiny little thing.

It was a great day, and we highly recommend Bilbao as a place to visit.  It´s not crowded with tourists, you can walk everywhere, or take great public transportation, including an electric tram (which we did ride from end to end as our larger tour of the city), the people are really nice, and the sights are great.  All in all, a wonderful way to start our trip.

We get an early start tomorrow to fly to Santiago, via Madrid (where we will meet up with Gracie and Bennett, who have been traveling in Germany), and then a shuttle to the small town of Sarria, where we will spend the night, and then begin our Camino the next day.  Not sure how much access to wifi we will have, so it may be a few days before we put up another post.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

It has just been pointed out that i have a typo in the name of this blog!  the real name should be España 2016!  And now that i´m at a Spanish computer, i have added the tilde over the n too.  Thanks to Audrey Lester for pointing this one out!

Bienvenidos a España!

We are so excited to have arrived in Bilbao as our first stop in Spain.  It was a long journey, with a couple of delays, but we took that in stride, and arrived safely last evening.

Bilbao is a beautiful city, although we´ve only scratched the surface so far.  We had our first meal of Pintxos, which is the local version of Tapas, with some lovely Spanish red wine and beer, on a nearby alley filed with outdoor diners, mostly locals.  It was great.

We strolled along the riverfront back to our hotel, with stops to see the pedestrian bridge by Calatrava, and the night views of the Guggenheim museum by Frank Gehry.  Our hotel is right across the street from the museum, so we´ll be visiting there today, plus checking out the old town across the river.

Once i figure out how to also add photos from my phone to the blog, you´ll get more fun shots of the two of us!  Of course, i have jet lag, so am wide awake and doing this at 6 AM local time.  Hopefully, we´ll both be adjusted in time for starting the Camino later this week.

Molinillo Pintxas for dinner in the street

Cool footbridge

The spiders from mars have attacked Bilbao!  There´s supposed to be a whole show on Louise Bourgeois, the sculptor of the spider, in the museum.

The very dramatic night view of the Guggenheim.  There are big flames that shoot out of the fountains at night every so often.

A beautiful nearby plaza, with it´s renaissance church

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Welcome to our new blog post.
Amy and I are excited to be leaving on our next adventure tomorrow.  We are heading off to Spain for the next 6 weeks.  Our first stop will be Bilbao, and then on Thursday, we meet the kids to begin a week of hiking on the Camino de Santiago, a pilgrimage route that dates back to the 12th century, leading to the church of St. James.  More posts to follow soon.