Old city with a new look
Now we are on board of “Mein Schiff 4”, a cruise ship of TUI Cruises. Our cruise started in hamburg and will end in Mallorca. So it´s Bilbao today. We already liked the city very much at that time. Now we are very curious about what and if anything has changed.
For Tai Chi on the outside deck of the sauna it does not look much different from the weather we had then. Gray clouds are hanging between the mountains, and it has probably been raining. But after all, it is pleasantly warm.
Then for breakfast at the restaurant “Anckelmannsplatz”, the clouds open up more and more and let the blue sky and the sun flash through.
We board one of the available shuttle buses, which brings us into the city center of Bilbao after a 15 min ride through the suburbs.
At the Guggenheim Museum
After a short orientation on the map, we decide to start our tour through the old town at the famous Guggenheim Museum. It is right on the river….
It impresses me anew! This complex building shines in the sunlight. Now, many buildings are built in the immediate vicinity. From the style of the building they combine, as I find, the old style of the renovated old houses and the unique museum building.
Of course, we are also looking for the huge spider on the back of the museum. It still seems to carry huge eggs in her net-like body. I am very happy that it is made of metal. Not to think of, if these eggs were real and living “small” spiders could slip out of them. Secretly it makes me shudder…
I am also fascinated by the metal ball installation, which stands not far from the spider. The environment reflects in it, everything is slightly distorted. I do not want to go any further; this building is so tempting to photograph. It looks different from every angle.
Nevertheless, we make our way along the promenade to the old city center. I´ve got the impression, that the remaining distance is longer than a couple of years ago, but that is nonsense. Again and again we stop at street musicians to listen to their performance. Country music, saxophone players, drummers; everyone tries to elicit a few pennies from the audience.
In the city centre
Soon we are at the entrance to the old city center. The streets become partly narrow walkways. Cars can only drive through for loading and unloading, but bicyclists and moped drivers race along between the pedestrians.
We are impressed how much time, money and work in the past years has gone into the restoration of the buildings. Beautiful they are now. Many of them in all the splendor they looked like in the years of their construction; many decorations, beautiful balconies. A lot of small shops and boutiques lure the walkers.
But there are a lot more small bars, cafes and restaurants. Many of them are really well filled with mostly joyfully gesticulating people, who have gathered here for their lunch break. Therefore, many of the small shops are now closed for the next one or two hours.
At the market hall we suddenly are surrounded by one of the groups, which come from the Mein Schiff 4 and who have booked a guided tour. Thus we learn that we stand at an historical place, because here the city was founded around 1300. The old bridge, which was, however, rebuilt after destruction and the church of St. Anton still testify of this time.
We walk through the market hall, which was built very bright and has beautiful stained glass windows. The many colorful vegetables and smells of the meat and fish stands drag through the hall. Also here there are small bistros with delicious food and of course the Rioja wine that is cultivated here in the area.
We stroll on through the small streets and inevitably end up back on the river. We cross it and admire the beautifully decorated houses. Then an ice cream parlor with lots of different ice creams lurs us to come in. I opt for Rose and New York Cheesecake ice cream. Hmmm. So delicious!
Armed with ice, we slowly return to the departure point of the shuttle bus, which takes us back to Mein Schiff 4.
Here we enjoy the sun on the sun lounger and swim in the 25 m pool.
That’s good, now we’re just waiting for dinner 😉 And something really has changed: a couple of years ago it was very hard to find somebody speaking English and almost no menue in restaurants was written i Spain or English, only in Basque. That made choosing quite challenging.. Now it´s easy, that makes visiting this beautiful city a lot more comfortable.