Saturday, October 27, 2012

Spain Part II: Bilbao & San Sebastian

We really wanted to go up to Bilbao and San Sebastian so we planned a day trip from Barcelona. We took a 7am flight to Bilbao, spent the day there, rented a car, drove to San Sebastian, drove back, and then took a 10:15pm flight back to Barcelona.  Quite a day trip!

Situated in the Basque region of Spain, Bilbao is a newly rejuvenated city that has housed the Guggenheim Museum since 1997. After the museum was built, the city saw a large increase in tourism and developed itself as a city dedicated to the arts. The overall structure and design of the museum is an incredible piece of artwork in itself and cannot be missed while strolling through that part of town. Many people think that the building is better to look at than the art inside!

Near the entrance
The Guggenheim

Facing some of the city from the museum

We looked at a lot of the pieces inside and many of them were... interesting. The desk turned over on its side with a cabinet glued to it really inspired us to start gluing items from our house together :/  Was there more to it that we just didn't see? Did he not have enough room in his house to have them coexist separately? (Unfortunately we could not take pictures inside, only snagged the one below when no one was looking)

Lori & Jon having fun in one of the larger exhibits
After the Guggenheim the weather started to turn sour and it ended up being our worst weather day during the entire trip. We decided to drive to San Sebastian early in hopes that the rain would clear up on our drive. It did for a little bit and we were able to walk around the gorgeous city located on the water, and hike up to Monte Urgell which gave us beautiful panoramic views.

No more stairs!

The skies opened up one minute later.
For lunch we had a Basque region specialty, pintxos (pronounced "pinchos", which we also had for breakfast in Bilbao). They are also said to be the best in San Sebastian. Pintxos are like finger food tapas. They are usually served on a slice of bread and are cold. One of the novelties about pintxos bars in the Basque region is that you don't order the pintxos, you take them right from the bar (with you taking them yourself or the waiter taking them for you) and are charged for whatever you take.  Some of the delicious pintxos we ate included eggplant, tomatoes, ham, shrimp, fish, peppers, cheese... mmm.

Pintxos in Bilbao
A small pintxos bar in Bilbao.
Pintxos bar in San Sebastian.

Since it was POURING we hopped into the aquarium to dry off.

We drove back to Bilbao and walked around the old town. It was about 6:00pm on a Sunday evening so a lot of the stores were closed, but we enjoyed looking at the old buildings and churches. We ducked into a small pintxos bar, had a couple bottles of wine with some pintxos, laughed, cried, and enjoyed each others company. We are thrilled that we were able to spend the day in the Basque region of Spain. Despite the rain we were able to explore two great cities, experience a different language (Basque), and eat some of the best food we had on our entire trip!

A lot of ham!

A nice street in Bilbao

A short flight back to Barcelona, and a good nights sleep prepared us for the next day and our next stop, Valencia!


  1. Very interesting city! The statue of the "dog" is amazing! The pic of you and Lori with the "dog" in the background shows just how huge it really is! The Guggenheim Museum is fascinating! THe building itself is very different, to say the least! If someone asked me how to describe it, I honestly wouldn't know what to say!! (LOL)!! There is an interesting pic of a statue that looks like silver round balls (you and Jon are standing in front of it). The other interesting pic that caught my eye was the one of Lori and Jon in an exhibit in the museum. And of course the food looks absolutely delicious! Sounds like you guys had a very busy and fun day!!

  2. You guys look great as always and how nice that Jon's parents were able to join you on your trip to Spain!