Category Archives: Bilbao

Wet Art

Ivan, Lil Dave and I woke up at 9:45 am on September 15, 2012.  We packed everything up and put our stuff in the car.

It was time to check out the Guggenheim Museum.  It was a short walk there from the Airbnb apartment.  Unfortunately, there wasn’t a tour in English which was disappointing. Still, at least they gave us audio guides.

Guggenheim Museum building was created by Frank Ghery which again makes you want to slide down it (like the wine place we saw a few days ago).  The Guggenheim is  the building on the left in the picture below.


It looks cool with the bridge and the curved grey building.

We got tickets and it came with an English audio guide.  It was interesting at first, but it kept waffling on and on.  There was a big art piece with copper walls called The Matter of Time. 


I wasn’t really sure what to make out of it.  I guess the artist really likes spirals and weird walls.  It’s supposed to make you feel dizzy as you walk around, but I didn’t get that feeling.  The artist was describing it in quite a lot of detail and he really was waffling on quite a lot about spirals, rhombuses and all other weird shapes. I guess he is really ‘into’ that kind of thing!

The first art you see is long LED strips with words running down it. 


One side had red letters while the other side was blue.

One of the exhibitions was by Georg Baselitz who painted the same people upside down. 


It did look like somebody painted it upside down and the art pieces had weird names.

I really liked the exhibition by David Hockney which had some cool nature in Yorkshire, England. 


He had a section of art that he created on an iPad. 

You’re not supposed to take pictures in some of the exhibitions, but I snapped a couple.  There wasn’t that much in the museum with the 3rd floor being closed.  It’s a cool museum, I just thought they’d be more art.

There’s a huge dog called Papi outside made out of flowers.  I thought it was a cat because it has pointy ears.


There are a few art pieces outside of the museum like the huge spider.  I don’t like spiders, but it still looks really cool.

Ivan and I were really hungry and went to the Guggenheim Café.  It was tapas of course. 

We went to the Alhóndiga Cultural and Leisure Center. It’s an old wine warehouse that was redesigned inside by Philippe Starck.  I love the cool pillars that are all different.


Inside there was nice restaurants and a cool shop.

We started driving at 2:10 pm towards the mountains.  The views were very pretty.

In Potes, we noticed a big crowd of people around a bridge.  Ivan thought it would be cool to stop and find out what was going on.  He knew something must be happening in this small town since the hotel was all booked up.

The river was stopped by a dam for the Fiestas de la Cruz.  The water rose and man-made boats were in the water – along with people swimming.  A generator was on board to power the high-powered hose.  The boats would go down the river and spray water at the people on the bridges. 


The people in the balconies of restaurants that lined the river thought they were safe.. but, no, the powerful hose rose up to wet the people on the balcony.  It was a funny sight.  Ivan, Lil Dave and I got wet since we were sitting on a bridge.  People acted crazy when the water started spraying on the bridges – they acted like it was acid instead of water which is pretty harmless.  There were two boats with hoses and they were trying to knock people off the other boats. It really was very hilarious!

I saw one boat that had a slide which we all wanted to go down. 

We had a tapas snack at a bar.

Ivan drove us to the next town called Cosgaya.  Here, we checked in to Hotel del Oso. 

I was checking out the amenities of the hotel with the hotel book in the room.  I noticed that the hotel had a tennis court. 

Ivan and I went to the reception and got the internet password and asked about the tennis since it said you needed reservations.  The lady asked when we wanted to play.  Ivan said 7 pm which was only a few minutes away and it was available.

Ivan and I played tennis.  Ivan beat me, but I blame it on the racquet since I think the grip was too big for me.. or maybe I just suck.  It was chilly out at night.

The internet wasn’t working very well.  I hate when a hotel says they have free internet, but their routers are crap.

For dinner, we ate at the hotel.  Ivan and I shared the grilled vegetables and vegetable soup for a starter.  Then, we got grilled salmon and tuna in a tomato sauce with onion and pepper.  The walnut and chocolate tart for dessert was wonderful.


Bilbao Pintxos

At 12 pm on September 14, 2012, we were woken up by somebody knocking on the door.  It was the girl at the Airbnb place saying that check out was 12 pm, but we could stay 30 minutes to pack – we had to go since there was somebody else coming to stay soon.  Somehow we slept 10 hours.  Must have been the pinxtos overload from the night before!

We packed everything up and said bye.  Then, we dropped off our backpacks at the car.

It was time for pintxos for lunch.  Our first stop was at La Mejillonera and thank goodness it was actually open!.. with this being the fourth time we tried.  Ivan and I shared papa bravas (patata bravas) and mussels tigres.  The papa bravas are the best in San Sebastian…so we were told..and seeing as a) they were pretty good and b) they were the ONLY potato bravas we had in San Sebastian, we would probably tend to agree!!!


The papa bravas had a delicious spicy sauce (definitely the best sauce I’ve had with patata bravas), but I wish the potatoes were crunchier.  The mussels were great with a tomato sauce.  Lil Dave asked the chef to make banana bravas and he liked it with their sauce.  This place actually has calarmari bravo which I’m assuming tastes good as well.

The second pintxos bar was La Txepetxa where Ivan and I shared anchovies with blueberries and anchovies with salmon and onion.  The salmon and onion one was tasted better.

Our last stop was A Fuego Negro. 


We got freezing gazpacho, black and white quinoa with cucumber and apple and cod’s curd with honey powder.  The freezing gazpacho was like an otter pop (frozen snack).  The food was once again delicious and inventive.

We went to Naturally for more great frozen yogurt.

Ivan started driving us at 1 pm towards Bilbao, Spain.  It took an hour to reach the new city. 

We parked in the street near the Airbnb apartment.  The apartment wasn’t easy to find.. we weren’t even sure we had the right apartment when we rang different ones.  The dude who lived in the place hadnt really put his correct info into the Airbnb listing.

Ivan found some internet and talked to the guy via Skype (we lost our cell phone somewhere along the way in Spain). He said he’d meet us outside of the apartment.  We said hi to him and Ivan asked about the parking.  He said we should move the car to the street right next to his apartment since it’s free.

Ivan and I wanted to check out the Guggenheim Museum.  Ivan read that it’s better to get a tour, so we figured it would be better to check it out tomorrow for the tour.

We went to Abando y Barra for a tapas snack and then we walked around Bilbao.  The Guggenheim has lots of cool arty buildings and art outside of the museum. 

It was now dinner time. 

Ivan found some good pintxos bars to try out.  The first stop was Irrintzi which had a cool anime theme.  Unfortunately, there wasn’t many pescatarian dishes for us to try.  We shared the fried cod, small fish on bread and bread with cheese and anchovies.


The bread with cheese and anchovies was good.  Lil Dave got chicken and banana on a stick and a banana salad.

It was time to walk to our next stop Gure Toki.  It was this great bustling little bar at the corner of a busy square filled with people eating drinking and having a good time.


Ivan got a beer while I got red wine.  Here, we tried the tuna with onions, salmon ravioli, the award-winning soup with cheese and egg, octopus on a stick and the apple, mango and cheese on bread.  The soup was really good.. but the best dish was the awesome apple, mango and cheese with bread.


Ivan and I thought we should try one more place.  Our last bar stop was Zezen Gorri.  We got the anchovies, seaweed and black olive paste and a cheese spread with salmon on bread.  Both dishes were very tasty.

Ivan, Lil Dave and I went back early.  Ivan and I watched an episode of Beaver Falls before going to bed.

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