The city of Bilbao

A few weeks ago I went to Spain, one of the reasons for my visit was to check out Salamanca and the apartment I’ll be renting for the year. Toward the end of our trip, we decided we would begin our journey home from Salamanca via Bilbao. Bilbao is located in the Basque country of Spain, and is home to the uniquely structured Guggenheim museum. Those who have been there before will be familiar with this guy, who precedes the entrance:

I was in Bilbao before as a child, and have nice memories of the place and the museum. So as a returning vistor, I wanted to like it this time, but my…has the city changed. At least to me anyway. The Guggenheim itself is a lovely place, even just to take in the infrastructure. However I wasn’t too impressed with the art. I by no means claim to know anything about art but I’m sure like many, I know what I think looks beautiful personally, as well as what doesn’t do it for me. The work of David Hockney seemed to encompass the entire museum, so I’m sure fans of his work were delighted, which featured a lot of paintings of the English countryside.

Garrowby Hill by David Hockney

It really was a pity nothing really bowled me over. As for the city, even on a Friday night, everything was closed! Restaurants were in darkness, with tables beautifully laid out inside. What I thought was strange was some weren’t just closed for the night, but the entire summer. Furniture and kitchen stores were everywhere, with bright contemporary furniture and functional and pristine designer kitchens.

The busiest spots were small traditional bars, where people sat outside, drinking and chatting with their dogs sitting by their sides. That’s another thing about Bilbao – the streets don’t seem to be policed, everyone has a dog and everyone’s dog use walkways as a toilet, so watch where you step! We ended up eating back at the hotel restaurant, which was overpriced and bland. Probably our most expensive experience in Spain. If there are treasures hidden within Bilbao I would love to know, but from what I saw, it just wasn’t the city for me.

Visiting the Guggenheim made me think about what art I do like. One of my favourites is La Mariée (The Bride) by Marc Chagall. Simply because it’s soft, colourful and it looks like the most warm and perfect night to celebrate a wedding. What is one of your favourite paintings?


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