Bilbao: Hearts got warmer, smiles got wider…

It’s Bilbao time. Bilbao was put in the itinerary for one reason and one reason only. Guggenheim Museum. We thought it’s one of those things as architects we should do. And a trip to Spain will not be completed without visiting the museum. I didn’t know much about Bilbao and it was away from rest of the places in Spain we wanted to visit but we both agreed we’ll do a quick stop so we only had a day there. (one night and two half days)

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Bilbao is in the Basque country, on the Northeast side of Spain and is a 5 hour bus ride from Madrid. At first I had booked accommodation right in the centre of the city but later to cut down on spendings I booked a cheaper hostal (guest house) across the river in the ‘old city’. Nothing fancy, it’s only for one night. This was the least researched and the one with fewer facilities.
We got to Bilbao around 3pm with our backpacks, weather was nice and sunny, asked direction from the nice lady at information and was given a choice of taking the tram or walking for 40mins.(at this time we didn’t have a CIM so no internet or my best friend, google maps) By this time I was regretting my decision to find cheaper accommodation in the old city instead of a one in the centre. Nothing can be done now so we took the tram and my heart skipped a beat when it went past the museum of titanium! We went for a few more stops and then once we crossed the bridge to the ‘old city’ the difference was evident. The buildings were more dated yet more detailed, a beautiful cathedral present and narrow and dark alleyways stemming from the main road, wait a minute, this is not bad.

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We got off and the area was almost deserted. We only saw a few locals outside talking, a few old people sitting in public areas like they do here in Spain and we loved it. First time in days we are not amongst hundreds of tourists. We walked past a few of those lovely old buildings that has rooms with balconies facing each other, with narrow paved streets with medieval style lamp posts and almost gasping at how good it feels. Then we found our accommodation Pensione Serantes and surprise surprise it turned out to be in one of those amazing little streets. We enter and after about hundreds (I exaggerate) of wooden straight flight of steps later we are in our room, with a tiny balcony looking down at the beautiful scene from a movie. 🙂
Ah the joy!
We spent a good few minutes looking at each other in excitement as we couldn’t believe our luck. It was perfect. And we had the nicest host, Miguel, who didn’t speak a word of english which only added to this beautiful experience in Bilbao.

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Downstairs there were bars and cafes and we wondered into one for lunch. They had pintxo. Pintxos are bite size little morsels, traditional in northern Spain and they are mostly with a crusty piece of bread topped with all sorts of fillings or fried goodness spiked with a toothpick. Bars keep them all on display so you pick which ever you like, order a drink (no sangria in this part of Spain) and eat to your hearts content. 🙂

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After that we were ready to see the master piece. We were there just before sunset and the whole area was just big and spacious and there was a strange calmness to it. We spent the rest of the evening wandering around, taking photos and having a drink listening to some amazing jazz at a bar right in front and watching the sun set behind the Guggenheim.
Bliss!

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Oh so beautiful!

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Dinner was at another bar we stumbled upon while wandering off the main street to admire some lamp posts and it ended up being a pretty good pintxos and wine night.

Early next morning when sunlight was just getting through the curtains I woke up quickly and went and had a peak outside. Heart melted. It was still slightly dark, street was almost empty, few locals getting ready to open their shop and the lamps are still lit. It was the most beautiful sight. We both woke up and just sat outside on our tiny balcony and watched the city wake up.

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Then it was time to visit the Guggenheim. This time inside. It didn’t disappoint. It turned out to be pretty amazing and if this wasn’t inspiration I don’t know what is.

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Geeks! 🙂

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Richard Serra’s Exhibit

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One of the coolest foot bridges.

When we came out of the museum it was pouring! We only had a couple of hours to get to the hotel, get our bags, have some lunch and catch the train. oh wait, we have umbrellas so no problem. Oh wait, I packed them with in our main bag that’s sitting nicely in the hotel. So no other way, we walked in the pouring rain and ran! We were drenched by the time we got to the hotel but boy it was fun!
We managed to get to the train and our next destination awaits.

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Bilbao Station Art

 

 

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Thank you Bilbao for an amazing experience. Barcelona, here we come!

Travel Tip – Always find accommodation in the ‘old city’ or ‘old town’. It is totally worth it. And steer away from the main road to find places to eat. In Bilbao it is pretty cheap and you can have about 3-4 pintxos and a wine for under 10euros.

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Face(s) of autumn…

I am sure by now you all have heard enough of me saying how much I love Autumn. 🙂 I love it! I get so distracted while driving every time, it’s absurd! 🙂 and so since I am experimenting with portraits these days I thought this would be a great time to get some images from inside my head and on to a camera. here goes.

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Why I want to be invisible woman…

You know how after every Batman or Superman or X-men movie your friends ask you which superhero you want to be? I wondered. Do I want to be able to fly anywhere I want and have awesome strength? That’s actually cool to have when you think about it. You can travel the world whenever you want and be back in time for dinner and save lots of money on flights. But no. Do I want to be able to run extremely fast? Nah. Do I want to fight crimes in a tight suit? No way! I want to be invisible woman!

Hmmm why you ask?

People have always fascinated me. I am people too but watching other people have always been one of my favourite past times. Be it in a busy public square or while at work, be it young or old, the face give away lot of entertainment. Specially the deeply wrinkled. Now that, is art. That is also why portrait photography is one of my favourites. (not that I am any good at it) But… I am too shy for my own good. I worry too much about people around me and I don’t like much attention. So whenever I see an interesting face or a shot, I have to hide in the bushes. (Not literally) So pretty much all my portraits of strangers are of the side of their faces or back or too far. Anyhow now that I have realised the problem here comes the awesome solution. Being invisible woman. 🙂
Just imagine, JUUURRRST imagine the amazing variety of photos I can take. And the fun I can have? 😉 Options are unlimited! (For this theory we are going to assume everything I touch will be invisible too hence I will have an invisible camera) 🙂

So tell me, am I the only crazy person or are there others out there? Which superhero would you want to be and why? 🙂

Swiss Guard woman in rome old but gold grumpy kid gorgeous hungry man in rome florence police florence art not a happy traveller the wisdom lady in florence  stunning eyes and one of my all time favourites.. deeply wrinkled are art

Florence: If there is a heaven, this is it…..

I found my favourite city in the WORLD! Ok so I haven’t seen most of the cities in the world so let me be fair to all other cities that are frowning at me, Florence is my favourite city SO FAR. I fell in love and I still can recall the feeling when I woke up in the hotel room and looked out on to the beautifully calm streets, when I walked the narrow streets filled with gorgeous people, taking in the fresh morning air after climbing hundreds of steps to get to Piazzale michelangelo, the smell of coffee when I passed a tiny cafe or the taste of freshly baked pastries on the side of the road. If that is not love, I don’t know what is. 🙂

I think that is enough explaining, here are some photos. Hope you see what I saw….

Ponte Veccio (old bridge)

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Piazzale Michelangelo – you will never forget the view you get of all of Florence from this place and you would not want to leave. The bus drive back down from top of piazzale michelangelo was one of the most scenic and best drives I have ever had in my life. That’s when I knew I was in love. 😉 If you are in florence don’t forget to climb about 200 stept up to this place and then take a bus ride back down. Trust me you will LOVE it. Oh and do it in the morning too. 🙂

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