A Weekend in Bilbao

Saturday, September 5, 2015. Waking up in the Hotel Abando rather than an albergue is a shock. No sounds of the other pilgrims getting ready to hit the road at 6:30 a.m. No sound at all. Ria was in the next bed the first time I awoke, and the next time, she was gone. I’m sure she went to find a bar so she could consume her first café con leche of the day, and the first of her habitual three cigarettes. She rolls her own, you know, and carries a little ziplock bag of filters with her. Licking the filter, she places it carefully on the end of the rolling paper, and expertly sprinkles some of her tobacco, creating a perfectly formed cigarette. I should have taken lessons from her when I was rolling joints in my misspent 20’s.

Time to get up, and when Ria returns, she tells me with great pleasure that she has found a bar that serves eggs in the morning, something she knows I sorely miss on the Camino.   So off we go, and I have a real breakfast. From there, we cross the bridge to the old city again and head for the Mercado, housed in a huge building a ten-minute walk from the hotel. I expected a wide mix – food, textiles, crafts, etc. But this was all food. Mostly fish and meat, and a few stalls for vegetables, mushrooms, olives, breads, cheeses, pig snout, pig head, tongue . . . yum!  Some photos . . .

Pig's heads for dinner, darling?

Pig’s heads for dinner, darling?


And a pig shout?

Or just the snout?

With mushrooms?

With mushrooms?

And a Spanish meal without bread is no meal at all!

And a Spanish meal without bread is no meal at all!

I’m very tired and still feeling unwell, so I head back to the hotel to post a write or two and take a rest. Our plan is to visit the Guggenheim in the early evening. I’ve been to Guggenheim museums in New York City, Las Vegas (I hate to admit it, but I WAS in Vegas about eight years ago), Venice, and now Bilbao. The featured artists are Jean-Michel Basquiat and Jeff Koons. Basquiat is fascinating, and I find myself wondering what would have become of him and his art, as well as his popularity, if he hadn’t died at 27 years of age.

The Koons exhibits arere not my cup of tea, but for the permanent installation, Puppy, a truly enormous dog made from, or covered in, flowers, on the plaza at the entrance to the museum. But the museum itself is also a work of art. Frank Geary’s design is stunning and very spectacularly “normal”. I can’t explain it, and the photos I take do not tell you anything about what I mean. The sun hits on the metal surfaces and takes away all the dimensions I am seeing from the ground. I’ll post it anyway, and you can get the drift before you go online and get some really good photos of the place.   For now . . . my insufficient representation, as well as The Spider who greets us as we turn the corner toward the entrance . . . and  . . . Puppy:

The Guggenheim - Bilbao, Spain

The Guggenheim – Bilbao, Spain



Spider – Guggenheim Museum – Bilbao, Spain


Puppy – Jeff Koons – Entrance to the Guggenheim Museum – Bilbao

And at the end of the day, we stumble onto a wonderful tiny restaurant about two blocks from the Museum . . . here is Ria’s dessert!

Can't even remember the name of it, but some kind of cake with chocolate, and look at the beautiful star-flower sweets for the trim!

Can’t even remember the name of it, but some kind of cake with chocolate, and look at the beautiful star-flower sweets for the trim!

Tomorrow we are to take the Metro past the ugly Bilbao industrial area, and begin walking again.  A weekend in Bilbao didn’t cure me, but the walk must go on!







About Woodswoman

Writer, educator, psychotherapist, woodswoman. Crave solitude and just walked the Camino de Santiago from the French Pyrenees to Santiago de Compostela. Long-term partner, Neil. Three grown kids, one traveling the world for a couple of years (see theparallellife.com), and two in other countries . . . Thailand and Texas! One Golden Retrievers and two cats. Avid reader, looking for 10 more hours in each of my days.
This entry was posted in Basquiat and Koons, Bilbao weekend, Camino de Santiago, Guggenheim Museum - Bilbao, Spain and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to A Weekend in Bilbao

  1. Jill Rickards says:

    Enjoying your blog. I especially like the pig snouts. I wonder how you prepare them. Hope you feel better.

  2. Pat says:

    The pigs’ heads look so happy. . .or maybe drunk! Don’t care for the puppy but I LOVE the spider! Sorry you’re still fighting the crud!

  3. qei4u says:

    Sorry you’re not feeling well. Maybe pigs head would have fixed everything. Just kidding…I can’t even imagine partaking of that. I know different cultures have different foods, but…..oh dear. I’d have to be starving, I think.

  4. Bonnie says:

    Enjoying your blog a lot! Hope that you get well soon.


  5. Jeanne Sheriff says:

    I wish you were feeling better. Hopefully you will soon….

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