Basking around in Bilbao

//Basking around in Bilbao

Here’s the second of this week’s reports from First Officer Blackbeard. It only covers his first day in Bilbao, so he’s got some catching up to do on his later excursions to Santiago de Compostela and the Douro River.

When I mentioned to people that I would be flying out to Bilbao to join the Spirit of Adventure, the standard response, “Oh, you must go to the Guggenheim.”
And they are completely right; it is a magnificent, sparkling, modernist masterpiece and no-one should take a trip to the city without paying a visit. But it’s not the only reason to visit Bilbao, of that I was certain, and I made it my mission to find alternative attractions.
I arrived too late for any of the scheduled excursions and I had to discover Bilbao for myself. Leaving my bag in the cabin, I postponed a tour of the ship and took the complimentary shuttle bus into the city. One man, one map, and six hours before I had to be back on board.
The streets were eerily quiet until I stumbled across Doña Casilda Iturrizar park full of people sunbathing, picnicking, walking their dogs and feeding the ducks – all the usual activities for a Spanish Sunday afternoon.
Then it was time to re-trace my steps to the Frank Gehry’s shining spectre, which sits on the bank of the Nervion River.
The main visiting exhibition was “I Want To Believe”, a retrospective of the works of Chinese artist Cai Guo-Qiang, who works with fireworks and was heavily involved in last year’s Beijing Olympics.
But as I had caught it in New York last year I had more time to explore the museum’s permanent exhibitions. Fascinating they may be, but they are hardly representative of the local character I was keen to discover, so with only two more hours before the last shuttle bus, it was time to move on.
Wandering along the river bank, I headed for the real heart of this Basque city, the old town, or Casco Viejo – a collection of narrow, cobbled streets, full of all the people who were missing earlier. Most of them were drawn to the monumental square of Plaza Nueva, for the weekly flea market.
Just time for a quick coffee, and then it was back to the ship. A successful first day – and we haven’t even set sail yet!

By | 2017-06-15T16:00:38+00:00 3 September 2009|Cruise Destinations|1 Comment

About the Author:

John Honeywell is a travel writer specialising in cruise ships and cruise travel. Winner of CLIA UK's Contribution to Cruise award 2017.

One Comment

  1. Sachinsharma 9 June 2012 at 3:13 am - Reply

    You will have alot of friends.To begin with your going with your fsirndeso it should be fun regardless.Tanning on the deck,watching movies,dancing,getting dressed up or wutever its alot of fun with friends.Plus spring break is when all teens and college students take a cruise so you can meet some people.Bring a few different swimsuits, alot of shorts and tees, and also formal clothing. U can choose to eat dinner at the fancy resteraunt they have onboard and you need to dress up for that. I have seen some people where prom dresses and stuff but personally i say you go for a cocktail dress or something like that. oh and some clubbing clothes just in case.If i were u i wud back off the alcohol cuz alot of crazy stuff has happened to ppl that were drunk no joke.When you get off the ship at ur different destinationsmake sure that where ur gonna go is safe.Personally i dont like the whole touristy part of the citycuz im fun and adventerousbut some places are really dangerous and u get mugged among other things..Dont’ll have fun!

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