Spain Day 11 - Bilbao
Trip Start Jun 25, 2008
77Trip End Sep 01, 2008
Map your own trip!
Show trip route
Where I stayed
Late to bed for me, and the kids didn't sleep great. I invited them both in to our bed at different times last night ... so we ended up all four sharing this huge bed. Kind of fun and bonding, but a lot less sleep than I'd hoped. Still, I wake up ready to go ... and Samuel and Ella are both very excited about visiting the Guggenheim today (which is really cool to me!). Janice heads out with the kids while I get showered up, and they stop for some fresh fruit. Its so good that they eat it all before they get back to the hotel! The punks! : ) Janice also gets some toys for the kids, a jump rope for Sam (who has been itching to practice since his record 14 consecutive jumps last week) and a sticker book for Ella.
The visit to the Guggenheim is great (http://www.guggenheim-bilbao.es)
We take a break after several hours of the Guggenheim (which doesn't allow photography, and therefore no photos from inside). A nice walk to another restaurant. Our original plan is to take a tram to another nearby city that has a one hundred year old, really neat bridge ... but the kids appetites demand a quicker stop. We end up at a restaraunt that is more expensive than our budget allows for, but not by much, just six euros. Tapelia is the name, great food is its game (http://www.tapelia.com/)
A couple of interestig things during lunch. The first thing is that I realize that as happy as I am with the food here, my bro-in-law Ron would HATE IT. All Spanish drinks and food dishes are very ripe with vinegar (a taste Ron hates). So, note to you Ron, pack your own food if you are ever out this way!
A funny little interaction with Ella during our lunch. The place was full of nice artwork on the walls. Like some of the beaches here, the artwork has a fair amount of bare breasts ... which fascinates my little girl to no end. She loves spotting the topless women on the beaches (she even went topless for a quick twenty minutes until her modesty took over) ... and during lunch she pointed at the painting and said "Daddy, look!". I tried to minimize the bare breasts she was pointing at by shifting attention to the equally pretty butterfly flying above the woman in the painting. "Oh yes Ella, that is a pretty butterfly...".... "What butterfly daddy?". Too cute.
Bilbao, 2008. For any of you that might think aboutcoming this way, know that there is TONS of construction going on here. I think in a year or two, the city will be much more enjoyable than it is now. Virtually every corner we turn down has huge cranes swinging away or demolition going on.
Back to the Guggenheim for a bit ... and then I ditch Janice and kids to go back to the hotel to work for a while. They catch up with me an hour later and we head out to another nearby city, Portugalette (sp?). Its the home of "Puente Colgante" (www.puente-colgante.com). What a cool structure.
We find a killer parking spot and walk to the bridge. On the way, I piss Janice off bigtime. I have Sam, she has Ella ... and we are all four crossing the street in the crosswalk. A car comes and we make eye contact with the driver. I stop, thinking about the times I've seen near misses on the trip. Janice goes, thinking about the times she's seen pedestrans command the right of way. Out flies my arm in protective mode to stop Janice. The car stops. Janice walks through the crosswalk... and is pissed at me. I decide to document the drama with photos (which she has threatened my life if I post), ... but the pitures ultimately leads to us laughing about it all
We reach the Puente Colgante and for 14 euros are taken waaaaay up to the top to cross. The glass elevator provides an amazing view and a sense of security. The doors open up, however and you feel the wind blowing and feel the height ... and its a little freaky. But not too bad. Looking down, the floor is solid for the next five feet until we reach the actual walkway, at which point it turns in to wooden planks bolted down to the structure. Maybe an inch in between each plank, just enough to see through to the river below and scare the living hell out of you. To make things worse, every fifth plank or so is loose, actually wobbling as you walk across. I'm not scared of heights normally, but several times my legs felt weak and I had to grab hold of the iron structure to steady myself. As Janice and I sweated our way across ... the kids jumped and played unphased. Their running and jumping made the whole thing scarier for us, but they took great joy in seeing us freak out. Perhaps if the bridge was newly constructed it wouldn't have been as scary, ... but being an antique made it the fear that much more intense. Also adding to the experience was the cable car below that held nearly one hundred people and perhaps ten vehicles
We reward ourselves on the other side of the bridge with some ice cream (and by the way we've tried three ice cream places in seach of something close to what we had in San Sebastian and it hasn't even come close to how good that was!). Then a nice long typical Spanish early evening walk before we took the cable car back across the bridge.
Back to our car, and the back home to Pie de Concha. A tiring, but wonderul five days of fun, but ready to go REST.
On the way home, I mention to Janice that I miss Inigo and Jaione. Before she can respond, from the back seat, Samuel chimes in, "I miss them too..." (we thought he was asleep!). Janice agrees ... it was really fun hanging with those guys.
We pull in to the familiar gravel driveway of our Pie de Concha home and after lugging in our bags, I see Samuel with a huge grin on his face snuggling on the sofa by himself ... and he says, "It feels really good to be home." I couldn't have said it better myself.