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 . . .
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:
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!
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!