Un Fin de Semana en Bilbao (A weekend in Bilbao)

Well it’s been quite an adventurous week! I started off the week running catching up on a few assignments, including a video production trailer I made, you can watch that over here. Then it was the exciting part of my week! My friend Alice visited me from Edinburgh for a few days! It was so fun getting to show her the sights of London! I’m not gonna share too much of this part of our adventures but you can read her post over here. I was able to show her some famous landmarks of London and she was even able to join me on one of the walks for my history class. This week’s walk was about Dicken’s London and the start of the Metropolitan Police. After exploring London we were off to Bilbao!

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Things started of great! We left Friday afternoon because I had class in the morning. Alice and I were so excited to get to Bilbao. Although I was a little nervous because of the language barrier. Luckily I just finished Spanish 105 so I knew a little bit of Spanish. We leisurely made our way to the airport though the Stanstead express. It’s one of the numerous trains that goes directly to the Stanstead Airport. After about a 45 min ride we were there. We headed to security, which was an experience in itself. It was definitely different than security at Heathrow and even in the US, they didn’t make you take your shoes off, and you just put your things in a bin and walk through the metal detector. I was on the other side waiting for Alice when everything on our line came to a standstill. We waited for about 5 minutes with no clue what was going on, then the station leader came over to take a look at a bag. He called out for someone to claim my bag. And guess who’s bag that was? Mine… Of course it was. So I walk over to the man and he asked me what was in my bag. I started explaining what all was in my bag when two police officers (describe more detail)  walk up in full gear. The man asked me what was in my metal tin. Turns out I had my deck of playing cards with me! I had no idea they were in my bag. The station leader then explained that with everything surrounding the cards it looked very suspicious and asked if they could search my bag. Of course I agreed because I didn’t want to miss my flight. Sure enough, my cards were in that bag… ?? they put everything back and I was good to go. Oh man that was scary, I totally forgot they were in my bag.  But it’s all good! I’d rather them take things like this seriously than brush it off.

The flight was nice! I had a window seat and it had some beautiful views. I tucked into The Martian and before I knew it we were getting ready to land in Bilbao! I looked out the window and I realized that there were mountains! I had no clue of what the geography was like around Bilbao and northern Spain at that but I was pleasantly surprised. We breezed through passport control and we were home free! After meeting up with Hannah we were just a short bus ride and walk to our hotel. We checked in and dropped our bags. And headed out to dinner, although it was a very late one at that, it was 23:00. But it’s Spain, the Spaniards have dinner late every day. Our hotel was just a short walk across the river to Old Town. We were all pretty hungry so we jumped into one of the first restaurants we could find. And oh man was it a delicious dinner. I think we all scarfed down the food within minutes. And that was after we had so much bread. After dinner we headed back to the hotel for our early start on Saturday.

Alice and I wanted to see as much of Bilbao as possible because we only had Saturday there. (We had a super early flight on Sunday). We were up and at ’em by 9am. We walked along the river back into Old Town to find some breakfast. We popped into an indoor market, Mercado de la Ribera, but it turned out to be mainly a fish market. So we headed back into Old Town. We found a bakery and decided on it. We enjoyed some delicious rolls and croissants as we walked to Cathedral de Santiago. This is one of Bilbao’s oldest cathedrals. It was gorgeous! It was smaller than other cathedrals but that didn’t hinder the beauty.

We continued through old town and until we found some pan ay chocolate. So yummy. We made our way back to the river, but we oddly enough found a meat vending machine first. There are tons of butchers in old town. And that’s definitely a way to get some meat.

  

We meandered along the river towards the Guggenheim Museum, spectacular! The view was amazing. It’s such a beautiful building and in a great location too right along the river. And an interesting fact about the river, there were absolutely no boats. We saw one kayaker but that was it. Nothing else. The river was so calm.

After a short stop to see the Puppy of Bilbao we headed up the mountain! There is a tram that takes you up the mountain in just a few minutes. Looking up at the mountain it doesn’t seem like a big altitude change but once you’re at the top, the view of the city is incredible and you can see the entire city in one space. When we arrived at the top we looked over and saw an old lady sitting on her balcony enjoying the view of the city. That is the life. I think that would be my ideal place to retire. We took in the view and soaked up the sun, I don’t get a lot of that in London. We travelled back down the mountain and it was time for lunch!

We decided on pintxos (tapas). We found a nice place in the new part of town. Spain has some of the best food I’ve had yet. We had tortillas and little open faced sandwiches. The tortillas were delicious! The tortillas in Spain are egg instead of flour or corn tortillas. It’s more like an omelette. After lunch we walked around to where Hannah lives, but first a stop for gelato!

Hannah lives just a short walk from the Guggenheim as well. We walked back along the river to our hotel for some downtime. Then it was off to dinner! We had some more pintxos but at another place in Plaza Nueva. We were in Plaza Nueva that morning and it was empty but we went for dinner it was the place to be it was really cool to see the difference between the the morning and the night. The food was great maybe even better than lunch. We had tortillas (of course) chicken kebabs, and curry chicken as well. It was the best. We walked around old town some more and of course had to stop for churro a con chocolate. Ahh it was so good! The best way to end the day. Unfortunately Alice and I had to end it early because we had to head back to London very early in the morning on Sunday. I remember being nervous about the language barrier but Hannah helped us a lot! I also found that I could pick out words here and there to get the gist of what Hannah was speaking, and I was able to remember my numbers! That definitely came in handy. But all in all it was a great weekend!! I had such a blast getting to see where Hannah is for her semester abroad! I highly recommend Bilbao if you get a chance to visit it!

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