Bilbao

11:21 AM

Bilbao is the heart of the basque country. It is a cosmopolitan city, constantly involving, full of tourism, perfect for design and culture lovers. Bilbao used to be an industrialized city until a serious economic crisis hit by 1970 and that was the motive to be reborn from its ashes. Today you see a totally reformed town. Green spaces, renewed neighborhoods, new aspiring projects by world known architects that adorn the city: Guggenheim Museum designed by architect Frank Gehry, a timeless Metro system designed by Sir Norman Foster, an airport from Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava and a community center (Alhondiga) designed by Philippe Starck. The list goes on and on. Bilbao has now become a design town, attracting visitors all year round. 

When we visited, it was May and the weather was cloudy, fresh and moist. 
The walk along the river Nervión was simply magical with view of the mountains, trees, colorful houses and ofcourse the Guggenheim museum on the front. We crossed the river walking over the famous Zubizuri bridge taking pictures at every moment. This area is so picturesque and it seems like a painting. Definitely the best part of the town.
At tree surrounded Gran Via, the main commercial street, we spent several hours at the famous spanish department store El Corte Ingles that has everything. Definitely the place to find amazing spanish brands (don't forget to take a look at hip brand "Mr. Wonderful" with amazing stationery!)
In the paved streets of the old quarter (Casco Viejo) the pulse is more intense contrary to the relaxed area along the river. In the old quarter there are small local shops, bars, cafes and many people on the streets. Go for pintxos and cañas and cocktails.
Dont forget to visit Plaza Mayor, where every Sunday takes place an open market and people are selling old stuff for vintage lovers. Have another caña and some pintxos in the surrounding bars of the Plaza.
And ofcourse if you are a football fan Atletic Bilbao stadium San Mamés is waiting for you. San Mamés will also host matches at UEFA Euro 2020Bilbao people are very passionate for their team and they show it all the time. You can find more info at the official stadium website here 
Stunning views along the river Nervión
Bilbao Town Hall 
Sculpture by Jorge Oteiza in front of the town hall definitely worths a photo
Zubizuri (translation: white bridge) designed by Santiago Calatrava, opened in 1997
SUP championship at Bilbao river
Modern new buildings changed the town skyline 
Green and colorful streets are a pleasure to the eye
Guggenheim, the flower of Bilbao
Louise Bourgeois Maman, 1999 (Bronze, marble, and stainless steel)
Almost 9 meters tall, Maman is one of the most ambitious of a series of sculptures by Bourgeois
Intended as a tribute to her mother, who was a weaver, Bourgeois's spiders are highly contradictory as emblems of maternity: they suggest both protector and predator—the silk of a spider is used both to construct cocoons and to bind prey—and embody both strength and fragility. 
Spectacular smoke coming out of Guggenheim, makes a (much smaller) copy of foggy San Fransisco bridge


It is impossible not to smile having this view
Tulips by Jeff Coons. His exhibition will last from June 9 to September 27, 2015
Sculptures of Niki de Saint Phalle a French-American feminist artist, sculptor and film-maker’. She was a pioneering feminist in both her art and her life and remained outspoken, radical and creative up until her death in 2002.Some of her best known public sculptures are The Stravinsky Fountain next to the Centre Pompidou in Paris (1983), The Tarot Garden at Garavicchio in southern Tuscany (opened 1998), The Grotto in Hannover’s Royal Herrenhausen Garden (2003, finished posthumously), and the Queen Califia’s Magical Circle in California (2003).
Very impressive on the inside as much as the outside, we saw the amazing and quirky work of Niki de SantPhalle. An excellent audio guide comes with admission.
Gugge instax
Jeff Koons, Puppy, 1992 (Stainless steel, soil, and flowering plants)
Puppy references the 18th-century formal European garden. Imposing in scale, its size both tightly contained and seemingly out of control (it is both literally and figuratively still growing), and juxtaposing elite and mass-cultural references (topiary and dog breeding, Chia Pets and Hallmark greeting cards), the work may be read as an allegory of contemporary culture. Koons designed this public sculpture to relentlessly entice, to create optimism, and to instill, in his own words, "confidence and security." Dignified and stalwart as it stands guard at the museum, Puppy fills viewers with awe, and even joy.
Pintxos and cañas at Casco Viejo
Impressive San Mames stadium
Football is very important in Bilbao
Proud Basque people

What to do in Bilbao:
- Undoubtedly the highlight of the city is Guggenheim museum. Check the current exhibition at http://www.guggenheim.org/bilbao
- Visit Casco Viejo which is the historical centre of the city. It is a large pedestrian area with shops, bars and historical sites.
- Walk by the river and walk on the Zubizuri bridge or even better take a Bilboat! (More information at http://www.bilboats.com).
- Txikiteo! The txikiteo is similar to a pub crawl, except instead of the focus being solely on drinking, delicious pintxos are thrown into the mix. The idea is to go to one bar after the next sampling pintxos and having something to drink. This is usually done by groups of friends and is most popular on Friday and Saturday nights.
- Find everything that is happening in Bilbao here 

Where we stayed:  Hotel Begoña

(special thanks to my friend and travel partner @Dimitra_Fragkogiannopoulou who took care of the planning of the trip) 

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5 σχόλια

  1. Gorgeous pictures! This looks like a fabulous destination!
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  2. wow!!! wonderful views!! :D

    Have a great week!
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  3. Such a wonderful trip you had! Beautiful pictures and very interesting places. Fun to read about this destination, maybe someday in the future I will visit it too :)

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